JAKARTA, KOMPAS.com – The Alliance of Independent Journalists [AJI] have revealed that Indonesian journalists faced more than their fair share of risks on the job in 2020, during a year marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and the political turmoil in its wake.
AJI chairman Abdul Manan noted that violence against journalists in 2020 have increased significantly from the previous year.
“There have been 84 instances of violence against journalists in 2020, up from 53 in 2019. This is the highest number of violent incidents against members of the press since 2016, which saw 81 cases,” Abdul said on December 28.
“The number of incidents is the highest in any year since AJI started to monitor them [in 2006]. This is not a good sign for journalists or the Indonesian press, as cases of violence should be decreasing, not increasing.”
He added that the violence, which can mean intimidation, forcible confiscation of equipment, as well as criminalizing journalists and murder.
“Most of the violence is in the form of intimidation, physical violence as well as forcible confiscation or destruction of equipment. Including erasing photos and footage,” Abdul noted.
“Most of the incidents occurred in Jakarta with 17 instances, followed by Malang, East Java, then Surabaya with seven incidents.” He said that much of the violence occurred during nationwide protests of the Jobs Creation Omnibus Law last October.
That particular unrest occurred on a major scale, and involved labor and student groups, among other protesters. “The peak of the unrest occurred nationwide on October 5, the day that parliament passed the law. Most of the violence was allegedly committed by members of the police.”