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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

JANUARY 23, 2005
Posted: January 27, 2005

William Nessen, freelance

Authorities detained Nessen at Polonia Airport in the northern Sumatran city of Medan after the American journalist visited the tsunami-ravaged province of Aceh. Nessen was flown to Jakarta and deported on the following day, January 24. He had previously been jailed in Aceh for 40 days in 2003 after reporting on rebels in the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

Immigration spokesman Muhammad Indra told The Associated Press that airport officers had mistakenly given Nessen a visa upon his arrival on January 2 because they did not know that he was barred from entering the country until August 2005.

In 2003, CPJ strongly protested Nessen's imprisonment, which came at the beginning of government efforts to control reporting on the rebel movement in Aceh. Nessen was traveling with GAM rebels and feared he would be targeted by the military when the Indonesian government declared martial law at the beginning of a major offensive against the rebels in May 2003. Initially accused of being a spy, Nessen was later charged with immigration violations and deported. At the time, the Indonesian government barred foreign journalists from entering the region, and banned local journalists from covering the rebels' side of the conflict.

Restrictions on foreign journalists in Aceh stayed in place until the December 26 tsunami led the government to allow aid workers and journalists into the hard-hit province. Some of the government's limitations, such as requiring that reporters register with authorities and seek military escorts when traveling outside of the major towns, were re-introduced in mid-January.

MAY 4, 2005
Posted: May 17, 2005

Darwin Ruslinur, Koridor
Budiono Saputro, Koridor

Using antiquated criminal laws dating back to Indonesia's colonial era, a district court in the city of Lampung on the island of Sumatra found the two journalists guilty of criminal defamation and sentenced them to nine months in prison. Darwin Ruslinur, chief editor of the weekly tabloid Koridor, and Budiono Saputro, the managing editor, are free pending an appeal scheduled in two weeks, local sources told CPJ.

The charges stem from a July 2004 article that, citing an unnamed source, accused a local political candidate of embezzling party funds. Lampung District Court Judge Iskandar Tjake found that the two editors did not check the information with the candidate, according to The Jakarta Post, and therefore found them guilty of criminal defamation.

Indonesia's criminal defamation laws are a legacy of the Dutch colonial era and were used to suppress local dissent in the early 20th Century.

AUGUST 17, 2005
Posted: September 2, 2005

Elyuddin Telaumbanua, Berita Sore

Telaumbanua left his house in the northern Nias town of Gunungsitoli aboard a motorcycle, taking along a tape recorder and camera. He told his wife that he would return from a reporting assignment in a few days, according to Berita Sore, a Medan-based newspaper.

The journalist was reported missing five days later, according to the newspaper and the local journalists' group Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI). An editor for Berita Sore told local reporters that Telaumbanua may have disappeared while reporting on a murder in the district of Teluk Dalam, in southern Nias.

Telaumbanua had recently reported on alleged corruption involving local officials in Nias, sources told CPJ. Fears have focused on a possible abduction; initial news report said that the journalist had been taken by a group of people.