News from Nick Chesterfield:
Today at 5:58am
Media Release: Indonesia 29 April, 2009
Fears for Journalists Hiding from Rioting Soldiers in Indonesia
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is extremely worried
for the safety of a team of journalists in Indonesia, who tonight are
reported to be in hiding in Jayapura, Papua Province, as hundreds of
soldiers of the Indonesian army riot in the town.
Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), an IFJ affiliate, reports that the
journalists were reporting on a military event in Jayapura today when
they observed soldiers attacking an army camp. One of the team took
photos of the attack.
While the details are unclear, it is reported that a large group of
border patrol soldiers of Battalion 751 Sentani then turned on the
After soldiers seized the journalists’ bags and cameras, the media team
sought refuge in a nearby community.
Four journalists are reportedly hiding in a local police station.
Another is sheltering in a local home and has reported hearing many
gunshots. Local people provided the journalists with different clothes
to disguise their identities.
The police reportedly say they cannot guarantee the safety of the
journalists if they leave the station. The police are also worried for
their own safety after a clash between soldiers and police yesterday.
While the IFJ is aware of the names of two of the journalists, it is
refraining from naming them in the interests of their safety.
It is reported that the soldiers are angry with a provincial military
commander for failing to provide adequate compensation for the death of
a soldier. The commander had invited the journalists to attend an event
in the town.
The well-being of the journalists could not be confirmed tonight.
However, there were unconfirmed reports that one of the journalists may
be suffering head injuries.
“The Indonesian Government must take urgent action to calm the situation
and provide police with immediate support to protect these journalists,
who have been singled out by soldiers and are in grave danger amid the
chaos in Jayapura,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries worldwide