SEAPA Jakarta Protest Military’s Press Censorship on Aceh

26 May 2003

Your Excellencies,
1. Commander of the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI) General Endriartono Sutarto
2. Military emergency Authority in Aceh Major General Endang Suwarya

Dear Sirs,

The Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) Jakarta condemns the statement made by TNI’s Military Emergency Authority in Aceh, Major General Endang Suwarya, who urged the media to unquote statements made by leaders of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) during a press briefing in Banda Aceh, May 20, 2003. Major General Suwarya said that by publishing statements made by GAM leaders, the press would “overexpose GAM” and could matters worst.

As an organisation that promotes freedom of the press, SEAPA Jakarta instead urge the TNI to not obstruct the work of journalists in covering the conflict in Aceh.

Such advise to not publish the views of GAM will misinform the public as journalists would not be able to report accurately without covering all the conflicting sides. Such condition must be avoided, especially stories on a conflict like the Aceh war.

Balanced reporting is one of the main principles of journalism. It is also one of the methods that could protect the lives of journalists.

Yours Respectfully,

Lukas Luwarso Solahudin
Country Director Advocacy Coordinator

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