Journalists group demands swift police action on attack against reporter

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

AJI Demands Swift Action from Police on the Stabbing of Banjir Ambarita

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia urges the police to thoroughly investigate the stabbing of Banjir Ambarita, a Jayapura, Papua-based correspondent for Vivanews.com news portal and “Jakarta Globe” newspaper. AJI views the attack as a repressive act against the press in Indonesia.

The stabbing of Bram, as Banjir Ambarita is affectionately known, took place in front of the office of Mayor Entrop, Jayapura, on 3 March 2011 at 00:55 local time. He was cornered by two men on a motorcycle. One of the suspects stabbed Bram in the stomach and chest. Bram suffered from blood loss and punctured intestines. Bram underwent an operation in TNI Aryoko Hospital at Jayapura. He is still confined as of press time.

At present, the identity and motive of the incident remain unknown. Therefore, AJI Indonesia demands the police to investigate this case as swiftly as possible. “Without swift action, it is possible for the perpetrators to run away and destroy evidence,” said Nezar Patria, president of AJI Indonesia.

AJI Indonesia advocacy coordinator Margiyono said that the police tend to be slow when dealing with cases of violence against journalists. According to AJI Indonesia advocacy division’s records, many such cases are left unsolved. “This shows the impunity of the perpetrators of violence against the press,” says Margiyono. Impunity means that the perpetrators walk away from any legal liabilities.

AJI calls for fellow journalists to continue monitoring cases of violence against journalists. The murder of Alfret Mirulewan in Kisar Island, South West Molucca, remains unsolved. The suspects in the killing of Ridwan Salamun in Tual face only eight months’ imprisonment.

AJI affirms the supremacy of the law. If the law is not enforced against perpetrators of violence against journalists, it means that the government knows that the press is under threat yet it chooses to look away instead.

For further information:

1. Nezar Patria, Head of AJI Indonesia , 0811829235
2. Margiyono, AJI Advocacy Coordinator, 0816137180
3. Viktor Mambor, Head of AJI Jayapura, 08114800982

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The Allansi 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.