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Indonesia makes 'criminals' of reporters

Police accused of turning a blind eye to attacks on media workers

Indonesian media workers still face abuses (photo by radioklinik.com) Indonesian media workers still face abuses (photo by radioklinik.com)
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • May 4, 2011
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A rights body yesterday condemned what it calls society’s “criminalization” of the press after revealing media workers had been subjected to 71 cases of abuse over the past 16 months.

Marking World Press Freedom Day, Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) reported 37 acts of physical violence against media workers, including beatings and killings, mostly carried out by police.

The institute also cited 29 cases of non-physical violence, such as camera seizures, bans on news coverage, and intimidation from various sources such protesters and security personnel.

In addition, it also highlighted five civil and criminal cases leveled against media workers early this year.

“We condemn this criminalization of the press. Journalism has its own laws in dealing with press issues,” said Hendrayana, executive director of LBH Pers in a statement.

It urged police, prosecutors, judges and advocates to investigate every case of violence committed against media workers.

“Many reported cases are not followed investigated by police, and this creates the impression that police let it happen. As a result, perpetrators feel they can do these things with impunity,” the statement said.

“We urge the national police to be transparent in dealing with and investigating the killing of journalists. Police are not doing all they can to resolve such killings and must put the perpetrators on trial,” the statement added.

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