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Media groups call on Indonesian president to tackle impunity record

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the South East Asian Journalist Unions (SEAJU) have urgd Indonesia's government to push for justice for journalists killed in the line of duty. The new government under President Joko Widodo must commence serious investigations into the eight unresolved murder cases against journalists in the country and ensure Indonesia rids itself of its impunity record, SEAJU said.

As the key forum for journalist unions in Southeast Asia, SEAJU remains concerned about the high rates of violence against journalists in Indonesia. In 2013, there were 40 reported cases of journalist attacks and 56 cases and 49 cases in 2012 and 2011 respectively. Since 1996, there remain eight murders of journalists that are unresolved. SEAJU and IFJ have called upon the new President Joko Widodo to give his commitment to resolving these killings and bringing the perpetrators to justice:

  1. Fuad Muhammad Syafruddin, a former journalist with the Yogyakarta Daily Bernas, died from injuries sustained during a beating by unidentified assailants, August 16, 1996, in Yogyakarta.
  2. Naimullah, a reporter for Sinar Pagi, was found murdered at July 25, 1997, in Pantai Penibungan, West Kalimantan. His mutilated body, with stab wounds in his neck and bruises on his head, temples, chest, and wrists, was discovered in the back seat of his car in Pantai Penibungan.
  3. Ersa Siregar, a senior reporter with private Indonesian channel Rajawali Citra Televisi (RCTI), was shot and killed during a gun battle between Indonesian military forces and separatist rebels in the war-torn Aceh Province, at December 29, 2003, in Aceh. Siregar, 52, was kidnapped on June 29 by rebels from the Free Aceh Movement, also known as GAM.
  4. Herliyanto, a freelance journalist died at April 29, 2006, in Probolinggo, East Java. He was killed by a group of assailants while riding his motorcycle in a forested area connecting the villages of Tulupari and Tarokan in the Banyuanyar district, Probolinggo. Herliyanto was stabbed in the stomach, neck, and head.
  5. Ardiansyah Matra'is, a reporter for the local broadcaster Merauke TV, died at July 30, 2010, in Merauke. A rescue team found the body of Matra'is near the Gudang Arang River, two days after his family reported him missing in Merauke, a small town on the southern tip of Papua province.
  6. Ridwan Salamun, a former correspondent for Sun TV, died on August 21, 2010, in Tual, Maluku Islands. Salamun was covering violent clashes between local villagers in the southeastern Tual when he was stabbed repeatedly.
  7. Alfrets Mirulewan, Chief Editor of the Pelangi Weekly, died December 17, 2010, in Kisar, Maluku Islands. Mirulewan's body was found with apparent bruising on a remote beach in Kisar, one of the eastern Maluku Islands, after he was missing for two days.
  8. Muhammad Jamaludin, 30, a cameraman for the Indonesian state broadcast network TVRI, was kidnapped on May 20, 2003 by unidentified gunmen at his office in Banda Aceh, the administrative center of the Aceh Province. His body was later found in a river, with his hands tied and wounds all over his body in Lamnyong on June 17, 2003.

"President Joko Widodo and his government must make it clear that the murders of journalists do not go unpunished. Journalists killed without justice foster a culture of fear and impunity and obstruct Indonesia's democracy," IFJ Asia-Pacific Acting Director, Jane Worthington, said today.

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia Pacific, in association with its affiliates, has launched a 22-day End Impunity Campaign for attacks on journalists and media workers this month from November 2 to 23 – the 5th anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre of 32 journalists in the Philippines.

In the Asia-Pacific last year, a journalist was killed at the rate of one every ten days. Already in 2014, 33 journalists and media workers have lost their lives according to IFJ's killed list. IFJ Asia-Pacific will this year focus its efforts on Pakistan and the Philippines where impunity for journalist killings is rife and governments and authorities have failed to secure justice for journalist attacks and killings in most cases. It also launches its "22 Days - 22 Stories" campaign to highlight individual cases, stories and information on impunity in the region.

Date posted: November 12, 2014 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 11