Indonesia: Regional journalist receives death threat

Amid rising incidents of harassment towards media workers in Indonesia, the chief editor of online media outlet Kabargayo.com received a death threat after publishing an article on the construction of a local market. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliates, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia and SINDIKASI, in condemning the intimidation and urging the authorities to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation.

Journalists hold a protest in front of the Precinct Police Station of Central Aceh on November 10, 2022. Credit: Iwan Bahagia

On November 10, Jurnalisa, the chief editor for online media outlet Kabargayo.com, was threatened by two project managers overseeing the construction of a traditional market in the Ketol district of western Indonesia’s Aceh province. Arriving at the journalist’s home in the early morning, the two assailants attempted to strike Jurnalisa and allegedly said they wanted to kill him.

The day before the incident, Jurnalisa published an article detailing several budgetary and scheduling issues with the ongoing development of the Rejewali traditional market, due for completion on December 15. Jurnalisa had attempted to obtain a quote from the project administrator before publishing the piece but received no answer.

In Indonesia, many journalists in both metro and regional areas face incidents of harassment. On October 29, police officers from Polres Tomohon, North Sulawesi, summoned local Manado Pos journalist Julius Laatung for his coverage of an illegal lottery. En route to the police station, police officers interrogated Laatung, demanding that he betray the confidentiality of his sources and accused him of publishing the story to discredit the police.

In a separate incident on November 7, North Sulawesi police harassed and arrested Sulawesian reporter Noufriadi Sururama while he was at a land dispute protest in Mandolang.

AJI said: “The death threat received by Jurnalisa in front of his family members is a threat to democracy. The intimidation is also an act to disrupt journalistic work and violates the Press Law which guarantees the safety of journalists while they are doing the job for the public interest. AJI urges the police to conduct the investigation and bring perpetrators to justice.”

SINDIKASI said: “The authorities must punish the perpetrators of the death threat against the journalist. SINDIKASI also asked the government to intervene in protecting the personal safety of the journalist and his family. In addition, the government and apparatus need to ensure that threats against the murder of journalists are not repeated.”

The IFJ said: “All journalists and media workers must be allowed to work safely and securely, without fear of reprisal, harassment, and intimidation. The IFJ condemns the death threat against Jurnalisa and urges the Indonesian authorities to conduct an immediate investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

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

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