Bangkok, September 25, 2019 -- Indonesian authorities should carry out a thorough investigation into the police assaults of reporters covering protests in Makassar and hold those responsible to account, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Yesterday, a riot police officer beat and kicked Muh Darwin Fatir, a reporter at Indonesian national news agency Antara News, while he was covering a protest at the parliament building in Makassar, the capital of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province, according to a report by his employer.
Fatir suffered bruises to his head and boot marks were visible on his body where he was kicked in the stomach; he was treated for his injuries at the local Awal Bros Hospital, according to Antara News.
At least two other journalists, Ishak Pasa'buan, of local outlet Makassar Today, and Muh Saiful Rania, of news website Inikata.com, were also beaten by police, according to a report by Makassar Today.
Several students were also injured during the protest against changes to Indonesia’s corruption and criminal laws, which turned violent when student protesters threw stones and police responded with tear gas and physical violence, according to Antara News and a report by local news outlet Tempo.
"We strongly urge Indonesian authorities to thoroughly and independently investigate the police beatings of journalists in Makassar, and to bring those responsible to justice," said CPJ's Senior Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin. "Journalists must be free to report on civil unrest without fear of being targeted by authorities."
Akhmad Munir, news director at Antara News, called on police to open a serious and transparent investigation into the attack on Fatir in a statement.
The protests in Makassar occurred simultaneously with protests in other Indonesian cities, including Jakarta, Surabaya, and Yogyakarta, according to Tempo.
CPJ emailed Indonesia’s National Police for comment but did not receive a reply.