Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) voiced strong regrets against the treatment shown by Indonesian authorities towards international journalist and editor of Mongabay, Philip Jacobson.
As previously reported, Jacobson (30) was arrested by the Central Kalimantan immigration office today over allegations of violating his business visa.
"Detaining a journalist over administrative reasons is exaggerated action," said AJI Chairman Abdul Manan to Tempo on Wednesday, January 22.
Manan said the immigration defended their actions by stating Philip Jacobson's activities had contradicted his visa. However, Manan strongly suspected that the arrest is related to Philip's journalistic activities regarding a land conflict issue between local indigenous people and a corporation.
"What the immigration office did showcases Indonesia's reputation in a bad light abroad. Especially after treating a journalist excessively like this over administrative issues," said Manan.
According to Aryo, Jacobson had been in Central Kalimantan since mid-December 2019. At that time, he discussed with Mongabay journalists in Palangkaraya a writing plan about the land dispute between the indigenous peoples and businessmen.
On December 16, 2019, Jacobson with an indigenous rights advocacy group, the Indigenous Peoples Alliance (AMAN) of Palangkaraya chapter, met with the province's Legislative Council (DPRD) for talks of criminalization case against farmers.
The next day, the immigration officers came to Jacobson's place and held the 30-year-old man's passport and visa. "At that time, Jacobson asked this issue not to be published so that it would quickly be resolved, but in fact, this continues," Aryo added.
Jacobson contacted Aryo on Tuesday, January 21, saying that he would undergo inspection. Yet later, the immigration instead arrested the award-winning environmental editor.