TNI chief apologizes for
assaults of journalists

Adm. Agus Suhartono: Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Admiral. (Antaranews.com)
Adm. Agus Suhartono: Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Admiral. (Antaranews.com)

Indonesian Military (TNI) Commander Adm. Agus Suhartono apologized on Wednesday for assaults on journalists by Air Force personnel in Riau.

“I am concerned over the unexpected incident. I, as the leader of the TNI, hereby apologize to the mass media, especially to the journalists involved in the incident,” Agus told reporters at the State Palace, who had pursued him for comment on the incident.

“I agree that the measures taken by men were beyond limits. Therefore, I have asked relevant divisions to take necessary actions to follow up the incidents, including legal measures for military personnel committing violence and other violations,” he added.

On Tuesday, several journalists were assaulted by Air Force personnel when covering the crash of a Hawk 200 fighter jet in Riau. Five reporters - Didik Herwanto (Riau Pos daily); Andika Pratama (Vokal daily); F. B. Rian Anggoro (Antara news agency); Robi Fahrianto (Riau TV), and M. Arivin (TV One) -- were beaten and kicked, and their cameras seized.

A photograph and a video, which captured the moment when an officer grabbed Didik around the throat, were widely circulated among journalists.

Bystanders who took pictures of the plane's wreckage with their cell phones were also beaten by military officers.

In the fallout from the incidents, journalists across the nation held rallies to protest at the brutality. They urged the media to boycott TNI events.(iwa)

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