CPJ confirms attack on journalists covering anti-American protests

New York City, October 23, 2001—CPJ has confirmed that on Monday, October 15, police beat four journalists as they covered an anti-American demonstration in front of the House of Representatives in Jakarta. The Jakarta Post identified the journalists as Medo Malianza, a camerman for Metro TV, a private, national all-news channel; Agung Nugroho, a cameraman for Indosiar TV, a private, national broadcaster; Dadang, a Reuters photographer; and Lamhot Aritonang, a photographer for the local Pantur Daily.

The incident occurred when police tried to disperse a rally of about 1,500 people organized by several radical Islamic groups to protest U.S. military action in Afghanistan and demand that the Indonesian government sever diplomatic relations with the United States. After firing warning shots, police used tear gas and water cannons and struck protesters and the journalists with clubs.

As Malianza filmed police officers vandalizing a car, the police beat him and forced him to hand over the tape. During the melee, officers damaged several cars, including one owned by Reuters, the Jakarta Post reported.

After several local journalist groups protested the actions, Jakarta police chief Sofjan Jacoeb apologized formally and returned the confiscated videotape to representatives of Metro TV and Indosiar.