British Embassy, National Seminar: Ending impunity for violence against journalists

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(photo: Prive. Doc)

IO – The British Embassy, together with UNESCO, Journalists Safety Committee and Atmajaya University held a national seminar to celebrate a “National Day of Anti-impunity against Violence against Journalists” at Atmajaya University on Saturday, November 2, 2019. A “Journalist Safety Committee” was formed by several press agencies and non-gov­ernment organizations, such as AJI Indonesia, LBH Press, the Indone­sian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the Indonesian Cyber Media Asso­ciation, and the Indonesian Televi­sion Journalism Association (IJTI) to handle cases of violence against journalists.

In his remarks, the British Am­bassador to Indonesia-Asean-Timor Leste, HE Owen Jenkins, said that one of the main programs of the British Embassy is to continue the struggle to end impunity in cas­es of violence against journalists. “Last year only, in a global context, 99 journalists were killed, and this number is double more than ten years before, and 348 others were imprisoned by the government. Meanwhile the Journalist Safety Committee noted there are around 40 to 50 cases of violence against journalists in Indonesia. From Jan­uary 2019 to August 2019 there were 26 cases of violence” HE Owen Jenkins said.

Furthermore Mr. Jenkins said the background to the growing number of violent acts, intimidation and ha­rassment of journalists was because journalists are the seekers of truth and objectivity of the news they re­port. “Media freedom is an absolute requirement for the establishment of democracy in a country. The British Government is committed to elimi­nating this impunity and intends to provide training for the upholding of freedom of the press and protection of journalists” His Excellency de­clared.

LBH Pers’s executive Director, Ade Wahyudin, revealed “Many cas­es that occurred in Indonesia were due to deliberate factors. Journal­ists continue to experience violence from law enforcement officials even though they have shown their Press card. The forms of violence consist of erasing recordings, mistreatment, forced withdrawal or detention in paddy wagons and so on. While the culprit only temporarily accepts eth­ical punishment, the legal prosecu­tion related to the violence they have committed until now is still stalled. “

Meanwhile Agung Dharmajaya, a member of the Press Council and Chair of the Law and Legislative Commission for the Press Council for the 2019-2022 period, mentioned the MOU signed between the Press Council and the Police and Attorney General, so that every problem is supposed to be resolved internally, before going to court. (ohw)