Confronted With Litany of Violence, Journalists Ask for End to Impunity
The safety of journalists in this country must be guaranteed and the impunity of perpetrators of violence against them ended, activists demanded on Tuesday.
Margiono, an advocacy coordinator for the Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI), said that from the 651 cases of violence against media professionals in Indonesia between 2000-2010, only five cases were brought to court and only one of these was handled properly.
“In order to have the violence against media professionals handled correctly by police, we need to increase solidarity among journalists and keep an eye on the investigations,” Margiono told a panel discussion in Jakarta.
The cases of violence, he added, ranged from persecution and intimidation to murder. He added that journalists demanded no special treatment but that the law be upheld at all times.
“We just want cases [of violence against journalists] handled properly, just like any other case, and the perpetrators must be prosecuted for such violations,” he said.
According to Margiono, journalists are defacto defenders of human rights, so their safety is crucial.
A spokesman for the National Police, Insp. Gen. Anton Bahrul Alam, said that cooperation among the police, the Press Council and journalistic organizations was necessary to speed up investigations into violence against the media.
Denny Indrayana, a member of the Judicial Mafia Eradication Task Force, said the problem with cases in which journalists were murdered was that the killing was usually ordered by powerful and rich individuals or corporations .
He said the main difficulty in unraveling such murder cases is that they often involve “people with power and money.”
“Therefore, I would not be surprised to find it is [always] difficult to bring journalists’ murder cases to a good conclusion,” Denny said, adding that power and money go a long way in providing impunity to the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, Deputy Attorney General Darmono said that freedom of the press needed to go hand in hand with a responsible attitude.
“We should be happy that in Indonesia there is freedom of the press,” he said.
“However, this press freedom needs to be accompanied by a sense of responsibility toward science, the law and the community, because the media is supposed to be reporting facts,” Darmono added.