The Jakarta Post
Biak Numfor Regent Thomas Ondy has apologized to all members of the Indonesian press over a recent violent incident he committed against a local journalist.
In a letter with the official logo of the Biak Numfor regent, Ondy said he sought to apologize to the Indonesian press for beating Fiktor Palembangan, a journalist with the Cenderawasih Pos newspaper in Jayapura, Papua.
Biak administration spokesperson Agus Filma handed over the letter to Cenderawasih Pos editor in chief Yonatan Randabunga and representatives of several press institutions, namely the Indonesian Journalists Association's (PWI) Papua chapter, the Indonesia Journalist Network (IJN), the Indonesian Television Journalist Association's (IJTI) Papua chapter and the Alliance of Independent Journalists' (AJI) Papua chapter.
'As a form of our regret over the act and also as an effort to fix and build our harmonious relationship with mass media as the working partner of the government, we hereby convey our deep apologies to the related parties and Indonesian members of the press in all areas across the country,' Regent Ondy said in his letter on Tuesday.
'Hopefully, this could be a valuable experience that will not happen again in the future,' he went on.
IJN Papua chairman Robert Isodorus Vanwi said he appreciated the Biak regent's apology.
'He has a great spirit as he is willing to admit his mistake and to seek to apologize. Hopefully, this will be the last incident [of violence against a journalist] in Papua,' he said.
IJTI Papua chairman Ricardo Hutahaen said the Biak regent's written apology was a wise move as it showed his efforts to maintain a harmonious relationship between the Biak Numfor administration and the press.
'It's really wise and this is the first time in Papua that a government official has directly sought an apology over a violence-against-journalists incident via a written letter,' he said.
The attack on Fiktor, which occurred on Saturday, was reportedly triggered by an article written by the journalist on a fire that engulfed the Biak Market, published in the Cenderawasih Post's Saturday edition.
'The regent was angry because in his article, the journalist did not mention Biak authorities' efforts to extinguish the fire,' said Yonatan. (ebf) (++++)
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