Pebriansyah Ariefana – Police intimidated and assaulted journalists covering a labour rally in front of the House of Representatives (DPR) building in Jakarta on the afternoon of Friday August 16. The workers were holding the demonstration to coincide with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s State of the Nation address.
Several journalists could be seen being intimidated by police officers from the Metro Jaya regional police. One of them was a journalist from SCTV who was recording a video on their phone and was assaulted by police until they fell and were left sprawled on the ground in front of the TVRI television station building.
Likewise in the case of a journalist from Viva.co when they were recording a video on their cell phone of police forcibly breaking up a gathering of protesting workers.
As they were taking the video, all of a sudden a police officer approached and asked for the recording to be deleted, if not they would be placed into a police vehicle. This is despite the fact they had already explained that they were a journalist.
“Delete the earlier video, if not I’ll put you into the car”, said the Viva journalist imitating the words of the angry police officer wearing a white shirt.
Business Indonesia photo journalist Nurul Hidayat also suffered similar treatment when he was photographing workers being forced into a police truck. Police also ordered him to delete the photographs.
“When [I was] photographing workers being put into the police truck, suddenly an officer alighted [from the truck] and ordered me to delete the photos. An argument ensued, I refused to delete them, until finally a colleague arrived. He said I would be taken away too”, said Hidayat.
A photo journalist from the Java Post, Miftahul, suffered even worse treatment when he was photographing demonstrators being put into a police truck in front of the TVRI building. “My shirt was grabbed, [and I was ordered to] delete the photos”, said Miftahul.
Miftahul imitated the police officer’s words, “Delete the videos and photos. Wait for the press release. You can’t just do anything you want. Hey, I can be seen in the earlier photos and video. Careful, will you delete them, or be locked up”.
A journalist from Inews TV also suffered similar treatment when they were covering a protest by demonstrators who had gathered in front of the TVRI building. “Delete the video, later there’ll be a press conference”, the police told the Inews journalist
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Polisi Intimidasi Jurnalis di Demo Buruh, Ancam Ditangkap, HP Dipukul”.]