Press Statement of the 13th Anniversary of the
ALLIANCE OF INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS (AJI)
STOP Violence and Criminalization against the Press!
On this occasion, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia announces the figure of violence against journalists in 2007*), the most dangerous provinces/cities for journalists and the 2007 enemy of press freedom
During the period of August 2006 to August 2007, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia recorded that there were 58 cases of violence against the press and journalists occurring in various provinces and cities in Indonesia. During a similar period last year (2006), AJI recorded 61 cases of violence against the press and journalists.
The most dangerous province/city for journalists/press in 2007 are the Jakarta Special Region (15 cases of violence), East Java (nine cases) and West Java, as well as Banten (eight cases of violence each). During the similar period last year (2006), the province with the highest rate of violence against the press is the Jakarta Special Region (13 cases), followed by East Java and Aceh (eight cases of violence each).
Meanwhile, the 2007 Enemy of Press Freedom went to the government apparatus with 10 cases of violence. The second perpetrator of violence was mobs with seven cases, while the third place went to the Security Unit Corps (Satpam) with six cases of violence. During the same period last year (2006), the Enemy of Press Freedom in Indonesia was mobs (23 cases of violence), government apparatus (14 cases) and police (eight cases).
In the category of government apparatus, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) highlighted the role of prosecuting apparatus who had contributed four cases of violence by indicting, prosecuting or executing sentences against journalists in their efforts to criminalize them. Some examples include: the cases of Teguh Santosa (Rakyat Merdeka Online), Erwin Arnada (Playboy Magazine), Eddy Sumarsono (Investigasi Tabloid) — all of them were tried at the South Jakarta District Court –, while in the case of Risang Bima Wijaya (Radar Yogya editor), he was tried at the Sleman District Court.
In coincide to its 13th Anniversary in August 2007, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) stated as follows:
1. Condemns all kinds of violence (physical/non-physical) by any parties against journalists/press, what with intention to hamper/obstructing journalistic duties and to control/threaten press freedom, which have been protected by the law.
2. Demanding government apparatus to stop violence against journalists/press, to halt censorship, obstruction of duties and bribery against journalists. AJI called on government apparatus to understand the duties and profession of the press and set a good example on how to be proportional to the press.
3. Urging the halting of efforts to criminalize (charged under the articles of the Penal Code) against the press/journalists by law enforcers if their cases are related to news reports or professional press. AJI called on all parties to solve various problems/disputes related to the press using the Law Number 40 Year 1999. The law provides the mechanisms of the public right of reply for the public, the roles of internal supervision by the Press Council and a call that the press should always work professionally and under the standards of journalistic ethics.
Jakarta, August 24, 2007
Coordinator of the Advocacy Division