Two Indonesian journalists were injured when some 30 members of the Kaili Youth Front attacked the office of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and online media outlet Beritapalu.com in Palu City, Central Sulawesi, on 30 December at 10:30 am local time.
The suspects destroyed furniture inside the office and beat up Iwan Lapasere, chairman of AJI Palu branch and Muhammad Sharfin. Both are correspondents of the Jakarta-based Global TV.
Reports said the ethnic youth group had been dissatisfied with a news report posted online on 28 December by Beritapalu.com, which is owned by the local AJI office. The article was about an earlier assault staged by the Kaili Youth Front against the office of the local Indonesia National Youth Committee because the group's members were angered by their head's defeat in his bid for chairmanship of the committee.
The Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) demands that the police arrest the suspects and investigate the incident properly. AJI is concerned that the police will not conduct a proper investigation of the incident as AJI records show that most cases of attacks against journalists in Indonesia have never been investigated thoroughly. Of 37 cases in Indonesia in 2010, only two have been brought to trial. The other 35 cases were either never investigated at all or the probe was halted by the police for various reasons.
AJI now considers the culture of impunity as the main challenge for press freedom in Indonesia. Putting an end to this is essential for the protection of journalists.
The Allansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists or AJI) (http://ajiindonesia.org) is a founding member of SEAPA. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, AJI seeks to promote press freedom and protect the rights of Indonesian journalists.