Police violence against w Sulawesi journalist deplored

Mamuju, W Sulawesi (ANTARA News) - The Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI) has deplored a policeman`s act of violence against Awaluddin DP, a journalist of Publik newspaper in West Sulawesi town of Mamuju.

Chairman of PWI-West Sulawesi provincial chapter Andi Sanif said the act of violence was indeed unacceptable and an act of criminalizing media workers.

"We do condemn the incident of beating up an on-duty journalist because it does not only endanger the media worker but also threaten press freedom that has been guaranteed by law," he said.

This incident had even indicated that lots of law enforcers had yet to understand about the noble duties of crusading journalists comprehensively and sincerely, he said.

"The acts of violence against media workers tend to increase. This is indeed a pitiful condition because lots of parties have yet to understand about the noble and legally-protected duties of journalists. We hope such this act of violence will never happen again," he said.

Awaluddin said he was beaten up with a rattan stick when he was taking pictures of a motorbike racing on a track temporarily set up on the street in front of the West Sulawesi governor`s office on Wednesday.

He said he warded off Bustam M`s rattan stick but, as a result, he got a minor injury on his arm and his cellular phone got damaged.

"If I do not ward off Bustam M`s beating, my face will get hurt," he said.

Bustam M swang his rattan stick to him so suddenly when he taking picture of the news event in Bustam`s efforts to disperse a crowd of spectators from the dangerous zone, he said.

Instead of offering an apology, the Bustam scolded him, he added.

Indonesian journalists remain vulnerable to acts of physical violence despite the government`s strong support for press freedom.

On Tuesday for instance, Poso police arrested three men for their alleged acts of violence against a journalist.

Central Sulawesi police spokesman Commissioner Rostin Tumaloto only identified the suspects as An, Al, and Sn. They were all Poso Kota subdistrict residents.

They were among six people suspected of having attacked Media Alkhairaat journalist Subandi at Sintuvu Maroso University campus on Tuesday at 01.00 PM local time, he said.

The physical violence was likely related to Media Alkhairaat`s news about that private university`s environment-loving students who vandalized and burned some chairs inside the university campus.

The news item was published on February 25, 2011, he said.

The Indonesian Press Council (Dewan Pers) had recorded 25 cases of violence against journalists during 2010.

The violence occurred in the form of acts of intimidation, destruction of reporting equipment, vandalizing of media offices, acts of sabotage, confinement, physical maltreatment and murder, Agus Sudibyo, head of the Press Council`s unit for complaints and ethics enforcement, said. (*)