Media attack: An unidentified Air Force officer strangles Riau Posphotojournalist Didik Herawanto near where an Air Force jet crashed inKampar, Riau, on Tuesday. Several journalists were roughed upwhile covering the incident, while troops confiscated some of thejournalists’ cameras, according to reports. No one was injured in thecrash. (Antara/HO/FA)
Several journalists were assaulted and intimidated by Air Force officers when covering a jet crash in Riau on Tuesday.
Media reported that an unidentified officer throttled Riau Pos’s photo journalist Didik Herawanto and seized his camera. The officer’s action was captured in a photograph that quickly circulated among journalists.
According to kompas.com, two other journalists namely Rian from Antara News Agency and a reporter from TV One were also beaten by the officers. Their cameras were also confiscated.
The journalists were covering a plane crash at the Air Force’s housing complex in Pasir Putih, Kampar, Riau.
On Tuesday morning, an Air Force Hawk 200 jet crashed into the housing complex during a routine training mission. No casualties were reported in the incident. Pilot Lt. Reza Yori Prasetyo ejected and made a safe landing as the aircraft went down.
Air Force officers attempted to clear the incident site and prevented residents and journalists from approaching.
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Legal Aid Center for the Press (LBH Pers) deplored the assaults on the journalists.
AJI advocacy coordinator Aryo Wisanggeni said that the officers had violated the Press Law and could face two-year prison terms for assaulting on-duty journalists.
“This is not the first time that military personnel have assaulted journalists covering an Air Force plane crash,” he said. “This latest incident has added to the long list of assaults against journalists involving military personnel.”
The AJI reported that several journalists covering the Fokker plane crash in Halim Perdana Kusumah airport were assaulted by Air Force officers.
“These incidents have shown that those officers are still clueless about journalists’ duty to cover events,” Aryo added.
The AJI urged the chiefs of the Indonesian Military and Air Force to punish the perpetrators and send them for trial as stipulated by the Press Law. (cor/lfr)