Jakarta – A foreign journalist and editor of a non-profit environmental science news outlet Mongabay, Philip Jacobson, has finally been released on January 30. His suspect status on charges of violating a business visa has also been lifted by the Central Kalimantan Immigration Office.
Advocate Aryo Nugroho Waluyo reported that on Friday, January 31, Philip left for the United States after his passport and visa were seized by the Immigration for 45 days since December 17, 2019.
Aryo, who is also the Palangkaraya Legal Aid Institute (LBH) chairman, opined the foreign journalist's release was attributable to the huge solidarity and support from not only Indonesians but also the people in the world, especially those voicing the freedom of the press.
"We strongly believe that a journalist is not a criminal. A journalist is an eye for those who cannot see, an ear for those who cannot hear, and a voice for those who cannot speak for the truth and justice," said Aryo in a statement received by Tempo on Friday, January 31.
"We say thank you for all those who helped and supported us."
Previous reports stated that the Palangkaraya Immigration Office, Central Kalimantan, nabbed Philip on Tuesday, January 21, over alleged violation of a business visa. Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) chairman Abdul Manan told Tempo on Wednesday, January 22, that he strongly suspected that the arrest was related to Philip Jacobson's journalistic activities regarding a land conflict issue in the region.
"The freedom of the press is a form of sovereignty and is a very important element in creating democratic people, a nation and a state so that freedom of thoughts and opinions as stated in Article 28 of the Constitution must be guaranteed," Aryo concluded.