Members of radical religious group attack journalist, bar media coverage

Members of the radical religious group Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) allegedly beat a Tirto.id journalist near their headquarters in Petamburan, Central Jakarta on 30 November 2016. Journalists from the Slot and JPNN were also told to stay away from the FPI’s meeting location.

At around 1:00 p.m., Tirto.id‘s Reja Hidayat went to the FPI headquarters planning to report the ongoing meetings related to the group’s December 2 event and interview its leader Rizieq Shihab. He was not allowed inside but still decided to hang around the place.

After the afternoon prayer in the congregation, a man in FPI uniform approached Reja asking for his information and later demanding that he stop his reporting. Reja responded with “no news was written,” which angered the man leading him to strike the journalist with the back of his hand. Other FPI members repeatedly beat Reja. When he was thrown out of the headquarters and walking at a nearby alley, he met the two other journalists who were warned by the FPI members.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Jakarta condemned the actions of the FPI members and urged the police to investigate the incident. “Violence against journalists is clearly against the law and threatens press freedom,” said AJI Jakarta chairman Ahmad Nurhasim. “If there is an objection to a written report by the news media, (this can be resolved) in a civilized manner with the right of reply or (an intervention from the press council), not by hitting the journalist,” he added.