Jakarta – The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) has revealed that cases of violence against journalists had increased to an all-time high in 2020, with most cases related to intimidation tactics.
"We received reports of 84 cases of violence against journalists in 2020," AJI chairman Abdul Manan said in a press conference on Monday as reported by kompas.com.
The figure is a marked increase from 53 cases last year or even from the previous peak of 81 recorded in 2016.
"It's important to note that this year, we saw the highest rate of violence against journalists ever recorded by AJI," Abdul added.
He said these included any attempts to prevent journalistic work such as intimidation, confiscation of working equipment, forced erasing of footage, criminalization and murder.
Based on AJI data, much of the violence took place in Jakarta with 17 cases, followed by Malang in East Java with 15 cases and Surabaya, also in East Java, with seven.
"Most of the cases we found were in the form of intimidation, followed by physical assault, destruction and forced confiscation of journalistic equipment, and footage removal," Abdul explained.
He added that a significant portion was related to the Job Creation Law, with dozens of reported attacks happening during a series of massive protests and rallies organized by students and workers across the country to oppose the passing of the controversial law in October and November.
"We saw a spike in cases of violence against journalists especially on Oct. 5, when the House of Representatives passed the law. The protests were quite big at that time," Abdul said.
That day, many journalists experienced various forms of violence such as intimidation not to report the protests, assault and destruction of equipment.
Previously, AJI reported that at least 56 journalists experienced violence or intimidation during nationwide protests against the jobs law, allegedly perpetrated by members of the police.
"This is not good news for journalists and the Indonesian press because ideally, violence against journalists should decrease over time, not increase," Abdul added. (nal)