Indonesian journalist beaten photographing police attack on students

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI – Indonesia) in condemning the actions of police in Pekanbaru in the Riau Islands in north-western Indonesia against a local journalist. The IFJ joins AJI and several local media organisations in demanding local police bring the case to court and provide compensation for the victim.

On December 5, Zuhdy Febryanto, a journalist with online media, was covering the congress of the Islamic Student Association, when he witnessed a student being dragged from the congress and attacked by police. The journalist started filming and photographing the incident, which led to several police officers turning their attention to him. The officers asked Febryanto to delete the footage, however when he declined to do so, they attacked him until he lost consciousness.

Following the attack, several journalists took Zuhdy to a local hospital for medical treatment where he continues to recover.

AJI has joined several organisations who petitioned the local police chief to bring the case to court and provide compensation for the victim.

The attack comes just days after journalists were attacked in two separate incidents. On December 1, Papuan journalist Topilus B Tebai was attacked by police in Nabire in West Papua. While in Jakarta, foreign journalists, Archicco Guilianno of ABC Australia and Step Vaessen of Al Jazeera were covering a rally organized by Papuan students in Jakarta when they were attacked and intimidated by local police. 

The IFJ said: “We condemn the actions of the Pekanbaru police against Zuhdy Febryanto, who was simply doing his job when he was viciously attacked. We support the call by AJI and local media for the police to bring the case to court and bring those responsible to justice. In recent weeks there has been a spike in attacks on journalists that needs to be immediately addressed to ensure press freedom and journalist safety across the country.”

In November, the IFJ participated in the second IPMI, which visited Jayapura in Papua, Makassar in Sulawesi and Jakarta. The mission met with local journalists, civil society groups and government ministers to discuss the challenges for press freedom in Indonesia. Read the IPMI statement here, with a full report to published soon. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries

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