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Journalists in Aceh call for improved safety guarantees and welfare

Media Indonesia - May 1, 2011

Hendra Saputram Banda Aceh Ė Commemorating International Labour Day, scores of mass media workers in the Acehnese provincial of Banda Aceh held a peaceful action condemning violence against journalists on Sunday.

During the action, which took place at the Simpang Lima traffic circle, the journalists also condemned an attack on Pidie Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) chairperson Rahmad Idris and an Analisa Daily journalists by a former Free Aceh Movement (GAM) member in Padang Tiji, Pidie.

In speeches the journalists called on the police to fully investigate cases of violence against journalists and try the perpetrators. The action, which was held by cross-media journalists in Aceh, also demanded better safety guarantees and welfare for journalists.

AJI Banda Aceh chairperson Mukhtaruddin Yakob said that welfare and the threat of violence is still the main problem faced by journalists in Indonesia.

"Many journalists are not paid decent wages by their media. Yet the risk in carrying out assignments is very high. There are still many journalists who are not yet covered by insurance by the media companies where they work. The low wages received by journalists make it difficult for them to work professionally, so not a few of them are forced to violate journalistic ethics", said Yakob.

AJI has record 66 cases of valence against journalists in 2010 and the Committee to Project Journalist includes Indonesia on the list of countries where journalists are at risk. (OL-12)

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski.]

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