Journalist hospitalized in brutal attack
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A group of unidentified youths attacked a TV journalist in North Sumatra’s Karo regency, allegedly because of his news reports.
Irvan, a 37-year-old contributor for TVOne news, was attacked on Tuesday afternoon, suffering serious injuries to his face, head and arms. He is currently being treated at the Kabanjahe Hospital in Karo.
The Karo Police said they had succeeded in identifying Irvan’s attackers after discovering the car they had used in the journalist’s assault.
“We have some of their names. It’s now just a matter of time to arrest them,” Karo Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Marcelino Sumampow told The Jakarta Post in the provincial capital, Medan, on Wednesday.
Marcelino said that the police had also found Irvan’s car, which had been taken by the attackers.
The police, he added, had also found a number of important documents in the car that provided clues to the attackers’ identities, including a sticker of a youth organization.
He estimated that between 10 and 15 people were involved in the assault.
“We still examining possible motives. It could be news reports or personal matters,” Marcelino said.
Irvan, who covers news in Karo, Dairi and Pakpak Bharat, said he did not recognize his attackers. He said it happened very suddenly and the attackers had covered their faces.
“I had just dropped a friend off when they stopped me on Jl. Pala Bangun in a car. They promptly attacked me using machetes and wooden sticks,” he said.
He added that he had been reporting on an increase in illegal logging activities in Karo and the surrounding areas, but he refused to speculate on whether his work had brought on the attack.
The chairwoman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Medan branch, Rika Suhartingsih, said violence against journalists in the province had been on the rise over the last few months.
The attack, she said, was the second case this month alone, after threats leveled at online news agency rajawali.com.
“In most cases, the violence was committed because of news reports,” Rika said.
She urged the police to thoroughly investigate all cases of violence against journalists in the province. “They have to arrest the perpetrators to create a deterrent for others,” she said.