Indonesian logging firm detains TV journalists
10 July 2009
Security officers of an Indonesian logging company detained three members of a French TV news crew on 10 July 2009 in Jambi province, Sumatra.
The journalists were identified as Ciryl Payen, Southeast Asia bureau chief of the TV station France 24; Gilaume Martin, also a French national; and Dewi Arilaha, an Indonesian national.
Dewi said security officers of PT Lontar Papirup Pulp and Papers, a subsidiary company of Sinar Mas Group Company apprehended them while taking videos of the trucks loaded with logs parked in the company's premises in Tebing Tinggi. The company's head of security, identified as Eriyanto, also seized their video tapes.
The three journalists were then brought to the local police office. The police, however, can not think of an appropriate charge to file against them.
Despite this, Eriyanto continued to detain them, saying they took video footages of the company's property without seeking permission.
The three journalists were doing an in-depth investigation of PT Sinar Mas' alleged illegal logging operations to get materials for its paper products. PT Sinar Mas is one of the largest paper companies in Indonesia. The journalists have previously interviewed the director of the Sinar Mas Group, Gandhi Sulistiyono, and Mahfud, the Head of Information of the Forest Ministry.
AJI condemns the detention of the three journalist and called on the paper company to release them. In a statement, AJI quoted the Law Number 40 Year 1999 on the Press, which stipulates that whoever hinders the press from getting information would face two years' imprisonment and a fine of more than 500 million Indonesian Rupiah (around US$50,000).
The Allansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists or AJI) is a founding member of SEAPA. Based in Jakarta, Indonesia, AJI seeks to promote press freedom and protect the rights of Indonesian journalists.