Irfan Kamil, Jakarta – Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Chairperson Abdul Manan says that there were many cases of violence against journalists in 2020.
Manan said that what are referred to as violence against journalists are actions which can be categories as attempts to obstruct journalists from doing their job.
This, said Manan, is based on the standards on handling cases of violence against journalists as set out by the Press Council.
"It covers various kinds of acts ranging from intimidation, seizure of equipment, deleting photographs, criminalisation, to murder", said Manan during a press conference on Monday December 28.
"These are the categories which can be said to be violence against journalists", said Manan.
Manan said that based on these categories, AJI recorded at least 84 cases of violence against journalists throughout Indonesia in 2020, compared with 53 cases in 2019.
Prior to this meanwhile, the most cases of violence which can be categorised as severe occurred in 2016 with 81 cases.
"What is more crucial is that this is the largest number of cases of violence [against journalists] monitored by AJI since it began gathering data", said Manan.
"I think that this is not good news for journalists and the Indonesian press because violence should tend to decline, not the reverse", he said.
Furthermore, Manan said that if looked at from the spread of cases, the largest number of cases occurred in Jakarta with 17, followed by the East Java cities of Malang with 15 cases and Surabaya with 7 cases.
Meanwhile in terms of the type of cases, Manan said that the majority of cases were intimidation against journalists. Nevertheless, based on AJI's records, the next most common type of violation after intimidation was physical violence, damaging equipment and the deletion of photographs and videos.
"If we summaries the incidents that made a big contribution to the quite significant increase in cases of violence against journalists, if we look at the data, then the largest contributor to cases of violence was indeed cases related to the Omnibus Law", explained Manan.
Manan said that the massive demonstrations against the recently enacted Omnibus Law on Job Creation by civil society, workers and students in early October, was the largest contributor to cases of violence against journalists.
Particularly, he said, on October 5 when the demonstrations were quite massive and occurred in several parts of the country, which of course journalists covered.
"And it was over this period of demonstrations that [there were many] cases of violence against journalist ranging from intimidation so they wouldn't report, assault and also damage [to equipment] and seizure of video equipment as well as deleting photographs resulting from reportage", he said.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Meningkat, AJI Sebut Terjadi 84 Kasus Kekerasan Terhadap Wartawan Sepanjang 2020".]