Stop Brutal Attacks on Journalists in Indonesia – Human Rights Groups
4 March 2011 7:34 am

(4 March 2011, Bangkok) The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Imparsial and the Alliance for Independent Journalists (AJI) condemn the brutal attack on journalist Mr. Banjir Ambarita. Banjir was stabbed by unknown assailants last Tuesday in Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia. This incident happened shortly after Banjir wrote an article on sexual abuses committed by Papuan police officers, which raises again serious concerns on the safety of journalists working in Papua.

On the night of 2 March 2011, Banjir was stabbed by two men and was hospitalized afterwards due to severe injury. The identity of perpetrators remains unknown, but the Papua Police and Jayapura Police have formed a joint force to investigate the case.

Banjir’s latest articles were on sexual abuses committed by the police officers in Jayapura,  Papua. The last article, dated 27 February 2011, covered the sexual abuse of a female detainee at the Jayapura police’s Detention Center. This event led to the resignation of the Jayapura’s Police Chief, Imam Setiawan, and a 21-day jail sentence for the officers involved.

“The Indonesian government must ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and charged to protect journalists and press freedom in Indonesia,” said Mr. Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA.

The AJI Papua stated that the journalists in Papua continue to receive threats for their work. “These persistent attacks on journalists have led to a climate of fear in Papua. The only way to stop this is to bring the perpetrators to justice,” said Victor Mambor, the Chairperson of AJI Papua.

“Freedom of expression is a necessary condition for human rights defenders to perform their work, especially for journalists who often expose human rights violations,” said Poengky Indarti, Executive Director of Imparsial. She also reminded the Indonesian government of the responsibility to protect freedom of expression as stipulated in its Constitution.

“Freedom of expression and press freedom are one of the cornerstones for democracy. Indonesian government should not condone such attacks if it aspires to be a democratic country,” said Nezar Patria, the Executive Director of AJI.

 

For more information, please contact:

• Mr. Yap Swee Seng, Executive Director, +66 81 868 9178, email: yap@forum-asia.org

• Mr. Victor Mambor, Chairperson of The Alliance of Independent Journalism Chapter on Papua, +62 811 4800982, email: sixtadimeitri@yahoo.com

• Ms. Poengky Indarti, Executive Director, +62 813 15696308, email: poengky_indarti@yahoo.com