Jakarta – Journalists and members of the public in a coalition of indigenous communities and press freedoms have started a crowdfunding campaign to support Diananta "Nanta" Putera Samedi, a journalist in South Kalimantan who was recently arrested for his report on a land dispute.
Ika Ningtyas from the Jember, East Java, branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), who helped start the campaign, said that any funds raised would go toward supporting Diananta's wife and children financially through his judicial proceedings.
"Since Nanta was arrested and had to go through the legal process, his family lost its main [...] breadwinner," said Ika.
Diananta's wife was a full-time housewife who lived in Jember with the couple's children, she added.
By Sunday, the campaign had raised Rp 14 million (US$968.29) from journalists, college students, environmental activists, indigenous communities and other donors.
"We hope the [fund] will be enough to support Nanta's family over the next two months," Ika said.
She explained that the fundraising campaign aimed to strengthen solidarity between journalists, the public and indigenous peoples while providing a channel for them to express their objections over Nanta's arrest.
Diananta, the former chief editor of local media outlet banjarhits.id in Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan, was reportedly detained by police on May 4 after Sukirman, who claimed to represent the Dayak indigenous people, filed a defamation suit.
The defamation suit concerns an article Diananta wrote that was published in November 2019. The article covers an alleged land dispute in the province between the local Dayak community and a palm oil company owned by businessman Syamsudin "Haji Isam" Andi Irsyad.
"The purpose of journalism is the public interest. Journalists report on data and facts from the field [...] so the public [has] credible information," said Ika. "Without press freedom and independence, it's impossible for the public to obtain credible information. Criminalizing journalists, in this case Diananta, threatens the public's right to [...] information." (nal)