Reporters Without Borders Urges To Reveal Journalist’s Death

BANDA ACEH, (TAG) – Reporters Without Borders, a non-profit France based media organization that fighting the press freedom on a daily basis, has urged Indonesian authorities to fully investigate the death of Darma Sahlan, 37, in southeast Aceh district.

Darma, a journalist working for the weekly Monitor printed in North Sumatra province’s capital Medan, found dead in Lawe Dua village of southeast Aceh district’s Bukit Tusam sub-district on February 5, the local police chief Adj. Comr. Arsyad said.
“We offer our condolences to Darma’s family and we urge the authorities to do everything possible to shed light on his death, and to not rule out the possibility that he was murdered in connection with his work,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement obtained by The Aceh Globe on Saturday.
“They must also do what is necessary to guarantee the safety of journalists and freedom of information. We are very worried by the problems for journalists throughout the country and in West Papua in particular.”
Darma’s body was found in a trenches near his motorcycle. The cause of death is still unclear yet. “His wife told local Serambi Indonesia daily that she thought he was murdered and that the body was then placed in the ditch where he was found,” Reporters Without Borders mentioned.
“She said there were lacerations and other injuries on victim’s body. She also reported that he had a heated phone conversation with someone a month ago about one of his stories.”
It added that the police are investigating his death. “According to an autopsy, he sustained a blow to the head from a blunt object and injuries to the face. Skid marks were also found near the body,” the organization said.
Banda Aceh’s Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI) previously called the police to seriously investigate the Darma’s death. “Police must work hard to investigate and unravel this case,” Mukhtaruddin Yacob, the chairman of AJI Banda Aceh, said.
"AJI condemned Darma's murder or anyone else that causes to pressure the freedom of the press" in Aceh. Police have to reveal the caused of the Darma’s death so the case will be clear. By seriously investigating the case, it also hope that the similar case not happen again in the future.”
AJI calls people that directly related or not to protect the works of journalism and respect the press freedom, Mukhtar said, adding the Aceh journalists and press organizations to oversee the case.
"We calls journalists in Aceh to be on alert because of terror and intimidation increasing recently," he said.
In the press statement, Reporters Without Borders also concerned of a Czech journalist Petr Zamecnik working for Fincentrum arrested on February 8 after photographing a pro-independence demonstration in Manokwari, West Papua province.
A local police spokesman said Zamecnik had entered the country on a tourist visa and claimed to be doing a report on places of interest to tourists but was unable to prove this. He has been transferred to the immigration authorities, who are to decide if he will be deported.
It also stated a journalist working for Kompas TV, Andri Jufri was beaten up by members of a motorcycle gang as he was returning home on the evening of February 5 in Makassar, capital of South Sulawesi province. He sustained injuries to the face and body, and his glasses, helmet and motorcycle were damaged. “Makassar’s gangs do not like journalists covering illegal motorcycle races they organize,” the media group said.[]
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