Indonesia: Police assault journalist covering protests on Human Rights Day

Police officers grabbed the phone of IDN Times journalist Helmi Shemi, deleting his footage of the Jakarta protests on Human Rights Day. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia condemn the attack and demand authorities investigate the incident to hold the perpetrators to account.

During the protest, two police officers wedged a demonstrator between their police motorcycles. Shemi recorded the incident on his phone when a police officer confronted Shemi demanding to know where he worked. Shemi showed his press card but the police still grabbed his phone. Shemi recalls: “My phone was grabbed by one of the police officers who  held it for around five minutes and deleted the video I took earlier”.

December 10 marked Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, In Indonesia, the Press Law guarantees freedom of the press and the Press Council and the Indonesian National Police have signed a memorandum of understanding to protect the press freedom.

AJI demand that the violence and intimidation against journalists is investigated, and perpetrators are punished under the relevant laws in Indonesia.

The IFJ said: “Violence against journalists remains the largest challenge for journalists in Indonesia. On Human Rights Day, it speaks volumes of the state of media freedom in Indonesia when police attack a journalist for reporting on protests which advocate for human rights. The IFJ urge the police to respect journalists’ rights and stop employing excessive force when handling protests.”

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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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