Andita Rahma, Jakarta – Two journalists from Tempo – photo journalist Prima Mulia and a freelance journalist Iqbal Kusumadireza – were assaulted by police when they were covering the commemoration of International Labour Day in the West Java provincial capital of Bandung on May 1.
Mulia related how the incident began when he and Reza (Kusumadireza) were covering an action by members of the punk creative industries. It was then that the protesters, who were holding a long-march, began to spray graffiti on public property.
“Now, the police were escorting them from behind. Because they saw this happening they then warned the protesters doing the graffiti and there was an uproar”, said Mulia when contacted on Wednesday May 1.
“They were beaten, hit. Basically they were dragged and then assaulted”, Mulia continued.
He Reza and then hurried to enter the melee in order to photograph what was happening. A short time later the police officers realised that what they had done had been immortalised on film by the journalists.
Mulia was then approached by three police officers and cornered. “I was throttled. Then threatened, they asked for the photos to be deleted. One of the police officers threaten me, said I’d be done away with”, said Mulia.
He was then forced to delete all of the photos on his camera. After the officers were sure that all the photos had been deleted, the three officers release Mulia.
Mulia then hurried to help Reza who was also being assaulted. He tried to explain to the police that Rea was a journalist even though he did not have a press ID card. Reza is a member of the Bandung Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and tried to show his AJI card when he was assaulted by police.
Mulia said that Reza is currently in hospital being treated and undergoing a medical examination. Both journalists have reported the incident to the Bandung AJI.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Dua Jurnalis Foto Dianiaya Polisi Saat Meliput Hari Buruh”.]