Journalist associations and a human rights body have today condemned an alleged attack by military personnel on several journalists while they were covering a jet crash in Riau province yesterday. The journalists, including photographer Didik Herwanto, say they were assaulted by several Indonesian Air Force (TNI-AU) officers while trying to report on the crash of a Hawk 200 jet fighter. The plane came down in a residential area in Kampar district during a routine training mission. There were no reported casualties. According to Herwanto, military officers beat him around the head, tried to choke him and seized his camera. The air force said the men were trying to clear the area and prevent people from approaching the burning jet because it was carrying missiles. However, footageshowed at least one officer throwing Herwanto to the ground and what appeared to be a punch. “The incident shows that the TNI-AU officers don’t know what a journalists’ task is, which is to cover such events,” Aryo Wisanggeni, advocacy coordinator of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, told ucanews.com. He said the officers could face two years in jail for the assault. “Journalists still face a serious threat when going about their work,” Haris Azhar from the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS), said in a statement condemning the alleged assault. Groups of journalists from around the country today staged peaceful rallies in protest. In Denpasar, Bali, the Solidarity Forum for Journalists rallied in the resort island’s airport. “We need experienced soldiers to fight against enemies, we don’t need them oppressing journalists,” one protester said in a rally speech. Related report Indonesian journalists face increasing violence
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