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Journalist miscarries after mob attack

Reporter assaulted while covering land dispute

Journalist miscarries after mob attack
Ryan Dagur, Jakarta

March 4, 2013

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A 23-year-old TV reporter suffered a miscarriage after being violently attacked while covering a land dispute on Sunday.

Nurmila Sari Wahyuni was interviewing a victim of a land dispute in Rantau Panjang village, east Kalimantan, when a village leader confronted her.

“As I was about to leave, the village chief stopped my motorbike,” Wahyuni told “I told him I was a reporter, showing him my press card. He and others took my press ID and destroyed it. They also took my camera and smashed it until it was destroyed.

“Then a group of 15 people slapped me, grabbed my hair and kicked me in the stomach and I fell to the ground. Fortunately there were other people who took me to a nearby hospital. At the hospital, the doctor declared that the fetus in my womb died.” 

The dispute centers around a piece of vacant land; several people have claimed ownership of it, including members of Wahyuni’s immediate family.

But she insisted that she was at the site purely as a reporter, having been sent there by an editor of Paser TV, where she works, after houses near the site were set ablaze. 

“My parents are among the people fighting for the land," she said, “but I was there as a journalist covering what was going on there."

Sri Gunawan Wibisono from the Balikpapan chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists told that the case was a threat to press freedom in the country.

“Worse, the victim was a pregnant woman,” he said. He added that his organization will keep monitoring the case and offer advocacy to the victim.

According to the 1999 Press Law, perpetrators could be jailed for up to two years or fined up to 500 million rupiah (about US$52,631.)

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