The Indonesia Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) awarded the House of Representative and National Police with the dubious honor of enemies of press freedom for 2012. The award was announced during the 18th anniversary of AJI on Tuesday night.
AJI Advocacy Division Head Aryo Wisanggeni said the two institutions are categorized as enemies of press freedom as they have ignored violence against journalists, and issued laws that limit the powers of the Indonesian press.
“The passage of the State Secrecy Laws have hampered journalists’ freedom,” Aryo said. “Journalists might potentially be jailed because of the law.”
The police were “awarded” because they have reportedly ignored and failed to prevent violence against journalists.
The most damning case was the murder of Bernas journalist Fuad M. Syafruddin (Udin). The AJI has accused the National Police of not aggressively pursuing Udin’s case, which will expire in Aug. 2014 if prosecutors fail to produce evidence.
Between Aug. 2011 and July 2012, the AJI said there were 45 cases of violence against journalists. “The number is always high every year, above forty cases,” Aryo said. “Violence continues to happen because the police method of handling cases of press violence is weak.”
In the past, violence against journalists was carried out by officers. But lawmakers and public officials have also committed violence against journalists, according to the AJI.
The AJI has given its enemies of press freedom award since 1999, and the National Police have been a frequent recipient. But 2012 marks the first year the House of Representative received the award.