AJI condemns acts of violence and seizure of camera by Indonesian Air Force officer

Jakarta,  16 October РThe Alliance of Independent Journalists seriously condemns the violent act of seizing a video camera by a military officer against a journalist on-duty on Tuesday, Oct 16, in Pasir Putih, Pandau, Pekanbaru, Riau.

A journalist from Indonesia TV station, tvOne, was beaten while his camera was confiscated. Other journalists, Didik and Rian, a photographer at Riau Pos and Antara Newswire respectively, were also subjects to the act as such. After being beaten up, their cameras were taken away as both journalists were in an attempt to capture video of crashed Indonesian jet fighter Hawk 200.

The case was a violation against Law on Press No. 40/1999 article 4 section (2) saying No censorship, revocation of publication permit, and broadcasting breach against the national press is allowed. The infringement against the article will be threatened with two years in imprisonment or Rp500 million of fine as noted in article 18 section (1) saying  every individual who deliberately commences acts which may lead to constraints in the implementation of Article 4 section (2) and section (3) will be subject to prison terms at a maximum serving time of 2 ( two) years or a fine of Rp 500 million (five hundred million rupiah).

The said case prolongs list of violent acts against journalists in Indonesia. Earlier, some journalists were victimized during coverage of crashed Indonesian military aircraft in Halim Perdana Kusumah, Jakarta, as well as violent acts against some journalists in Padang. Recurrent acts of violence against journalists are a result of lack of information on journalists’ duty. In addition, AJI Indonesia considers the offensive behavior shown by the Indonesian Air Force officer was part of a disproportionate securement. In this matter, all things connected to Indonesia weaponry system are deemed secret. While at the same time, the public has the right to access the kind of information.

Upon the incident, AJI Indonesia urged the Indonesian Military Commander and Air Force Chief of Staff to punish the perpetrators.

AJI Indonesia urged that the perpetrators can be brought before the court as regards Law No 40/1999 on Press in order to convince every citizen that journalist is a profession protected by law.