Human rights body investigates student magazine recall
The Jakarta Post
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has opened an investigation into the recall of an edition of student magazine Lentera, published by the Student Publishing Institute (LPM) at Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) in Salatiga, Central Java.
The rights body, according to Komnas HAM commissioner Ansori Sinungan, will meet with representatives of the university to find out details of the recall of the magazine, which featured the cover story Salatiga Kota Merah (Salatiga, the Red City).
The third edition of the magazine for 2015 includes stories about the killing of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) members and supporters in Salatiga in 1965.
Hundreds of copies of the magazine have been recalled because of their coverage of the 1965 massacre. UKSW Rector Rev. John A. Titaley and other university leaders held a meeting, attended by Lentera editorial members, and decided to recall all copies of the edition, drawing sharp criticism from human rights activists.
Representatives of NGOs such as the Presidium Alumni Forum of Indonesian Student Press Activist (FAA PPMI), Indonesian Independent Journalists (AJI), the Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers) and the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) visited Komnas HAM headquarters on Thursday to call on the rights body to investigate the press censorship.
They demanded that Komnas HAM ensure that the recall of the magazines was stopped and that there would be no intimidation of journalists involved in publishing the magazine from any parties such as police or the university.
LPM published 500 copies of Lentera magazine, which sell for Rp 15,000 each (US$1.10). Purchasers of the magazine include cafes, government institutions and NGOs.
A few days after the publication of the edition, LPM general manager Arista Ayu Nanda, Lentera chief editor Bima Satria Putra and Lentera treasurer Septi Dwi Astuti were summoned by UKSW's rectorate. They were also interrogated by Salatiga Police.
According to FAA PPMI chairman Agung Sedayu, the magazine was accused of provoking relatives of former PKI members, the victims of the 1965 tragedy.
'The content of that magazine is written in accordance with journalistic principles. There is no provocation. The journalists interviewed the historical actors and organized opinion polling,' Agung said.
Meanwhile, AJI coordinator for advocacy Aryo Wisanggeni said that there was pressure put on the Lentera editorial team after the magazine's publication. 'Our friends from Lentera have been pressured to apologize,' Aryo said. (bbn)
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