Indonesian journalists beaten at Jakarta protest

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its Indonesian affiliate, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), in calling for a swift investigation into attacks on four journalists in Jakarta, Indonesia by private security guards on April 27.At a protest at the ITC Cempaka Mas apartment block in central Jakarta over electricity blackouts last week, two journalists Rani Sanjaya, of RCTI TV, and Robi Kurniawan, of News One TV, were allegedly beaten by the building-employed security guards. Two other journalists were also reported to have been intimidated and forcibly removed. According to Sanjaya, the security guards denied the journalists entry to the protest site and assaulted them. Kurniawan said that he was beaten by approximately 15 security guards. Sanjaya’s camera was also damaged in the attack.Indonesia’s Press Council was alerted to the incident, and after interviewing all parties involved, has recommended the incident be investigated by the police. In Indonesia, any person who knowingly impedes threatens or hinders journalists and the press can be sentenced to a maximum of two years imprisonment or a fine of Rp 500 million (USD 38,292).In a statement this week AJI Jakarta said violence against journalists could not be justified under any pretext.“The act of violence against journalists constitutes a criminal offence, and at the same time, threatens the freedom of the press that has been protected by the Act No. 40 / 1999 on the press,” AJI said. “We ask people to obey the press law and not hamper the work of journalists. AJI Jakarta reminds the public that violence against journalists is a crime and threatens the freedom of the press.”IFJ and AJI urge Jakarta police to urgently investigate the incident and ensure that any violence against journalists is prosecuted appropriately.The IFJ said: “Journalists in Indonesia continue to face a myriad of challenges including attacks that weaken press freedom across the country and any attack like this must be taken extremely seriously in order to ensure press freedom is protected.” 

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