Journalist group condemns bombing of radio station, civil society office

[The following is a statement by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), a SEAPA founding member based in Jakarta, Indonesia]

AJI condemns Utan Kayu bombing

Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia condemns the  bomb  threat against  Liberal Islam Network activist Ulil Abshar Abdalla. A bomb package was delivered to the office of Utan Kayu Community on Jl Utan Kayu no. 68 H East Jakarta, on 15 March 2011. This is also the office of 68H Radio News Agency and the Institute for Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI).

The bomb that was hidden inside a thick book, exploded when a police officer tried to disarm it. Two men were injured, including the said police officer, who  lost one of his hands in the explosion.

AJI Indonesia views this bombing as a brutal attack against freedom of thought and expression. Ulil Abshar Abdalla is known as a critical Moslem intellectual who advocates diversity in Indonesia. “Based on the package sent, the suspect clearly aims to silence Ulil through murder,” said Nezar Patria, president of AJI.

Using terror tactics against freedom of thought and freedom of expression is a clear threat to democracy. AJI demands the police to investigate and find immediately the suspect. “This case needs a thorough investigation. Attacks against ideas of diversity are major blows to the cornerstone of our country. The democratic Republic of Indonesia is now in danger,” said Nezar Patria.

AJI Indonesia reminds all parties to preserve and nurture diversity and to uphold the principles of democracy. Violent acts against those with different views will destroy the core of the Republic of Indonesia as envisioned by this country’s founding fathers. Freedom of thought and freedom of the press are two sides of the same coin. Without press freedom, there is no freedom of thought.

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The Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists or AJI) (http://ajiindonesia.org) is a founding member of SEAPA. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, AJI seeks to promote press freedom and protect the rights of Indonesian journalists.

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