27 February 2003
Source: SEAPA Jakarta
1. Police General Inspector Dadang Garnida
(West Java Police Department)
Ph: +62 22-7830835/ +62 22-783036/ +62 22-7830837
Fax: +62 22-7813131
2. Chief Commissioner Hendra Sukmana
(Bandung Police Headquarters)
Ph: +62 22-4203501, Fax: +62 22-4234558
The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) Jakarta condemns the brutal act by Bandung Police officers on one photographer and four TV journalists in Bandung, West Java, on February 26 2003. The officers assaulted, destroyed and confiscated the cameras of the journalists in front of the West Java Parliament House in that afternoon.
The journalists were covering a clash between university students and Bandung Police. The students were protesting against Indonesian President Megawati Soekarnoputri, demanding her to resign. When Pikiran Rakyat photographer Dudi Sugandi was taking shots of police officers batting the students, suddenly one officer yelled: “Don’t photograph”. The other officers followed by grabbing the photographer’s Nikon F-4 camera and pulling him towards the officers and took turn punching him. Dudi Sugandi was battered and later taken to the Boromeus Hospital in Bandung.
In a separate location, TPI cameraman Rudi Setiawan had his camera damaged from police’s water canon. “The officers intentionally directed their water cannon towards us,” said Setiawan. “They didn’t want their repressive act captured on camera.”
The three other TV journalists fell victims were Trans TV reporter Wawan Kurniawan, TV7 reporter Kumoro Hadi, and Amin of Indosiar.
As an organisation dedicated to protect journalists and promote freedom of the press, SEAPA Jakarta once again reminded the Indonesian Police Force (POLRI) of its disgraceful act that dishonour press freedom in Indonesia. Such conduct would prevent journalists from working professionally and freely from violence.
SEAPA demands West Java Police Department and Bandung City Police to take action into their irresponsible officers in this incident. As law enforcement institution, police must respect the journalistic work of press workers. Being a journalist these days bear the tremendous risks of being caught in violence, however it does not imply that police could arbitrarily assault journalists, nevertheless after they produce their identifications. SEAPA, along with other media advocacy organisations worldwide will monitor the development of this case. We wait for your immediate response.
Lukas Luwarso Solahudin
Country Director Advocacy Coordinator