World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


IFJ Calls On Aceh Rebels To Free Hostage

* Pacific Media Watch Online - check the website for archive and links:
* Post a comment on PMW's Right of Reply:


JAKARTA (IFJ/Pacific Media Watch): The International Federation of Journalists has called on the leaders of the rebel movement fighting Indonesian forces in Aceh-Sumatra to release two journalists taken hostage and to honour an agreement in which they pledged to ensure the safety of journalists.

The president of the Aceh-Sumatra National Liberation Front, Tengku Hasan M. di Tiro, and the General Secretary of the IFJ, Aidan White, signed a joint statement in Geneva two years ago in which the Liberation Front - the political wing of the armed Free Aceh Movement (GAM) which is being engaged by Indonesian forces in the region - promised to lift local pressure on journalists and to ensure the physical security of media staff.

The accord, which also included a commitment to defend press rights in Aceh, was signed after IFJ president Christopher Warren wrote to president di Tiro, following threats against staff working for the newspaper Serambi Indonesia, which had been forced to suspend publication.

Earlier this month the IFJ sent a letter of protest to GAM calling on them to immediately release two RCTI station television journalists, Ersa Siregar and Fery Santoro, who are currently being held hostage in East Aceh. On July 4 there were reports that the journalists are in good condition.

The IFJ is seeking a meeting with the Free Aceh movement and the Aceh -Sumatara Liberation Front to bring the hostage crisis to an end.

"Freedom and democracy are never achieved by threatening the lives of journalists," said Aidan White. "Our colleagues should be freed and the National Liberation Front should honour its declaration of support for the principles of press freedom."

The IFJ says that reporters are in the crossfire of the conflict with harsh regulations under martial law imposed by the Indonesian military that make it almost impossible for them to report freely. On 17 June the body of cameraman Mohamad Jamaluddin, of the state-run TV station TVR1, was found at the village of Kreung Cut, near Banda Aceh (capital of Aceh province, in north Sumatra). A police spokesman said his body was found in a river, his hands tied and a rope with a stone attached round his neck.

American freelance journalist William Nessen will stand trial next week accused of immigration offences. Prosecutors formally charged Nessen yesterday with immigration violations that carry the maximum penalty of five years in jail. Nessen voluntarily turned himself over to military authorities on 24 June, after spending several weeks with GAM. Nessen, an accredited reporter for The San Francisco Chronicle, should be released immediately and the charges dropped, says the IFJ. "Aceh was not even considered a conflict area until martial law was instituted and the military offensive against GAM rebels began on May 19," said White, "Nessen was already on the spot and could not meet the requirement to obtain special passes to visit a province he was already working from."

Further information: + 32 2 235 22 00 The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries



PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

(c)1996-2003 Copyright - All rights reserved.

Items are provided solely for review purposes as a non-profit educational service. Copyright remains the property of the original producers as indicated. Recipients should seek permission from the copyright owner for any publishing. Copyright owners not wishing their materials to be posted by PMW please contact us. The views expressed in material listed by PMW are not necessarily the views of PMW or its members.

Recipients should rely on their own inquiries before making decisions based on material listed in PMW. Please copy appeals to PMW and acknowledge source.

For further information, inquiries about joining the Pacific Media Watch

listserve, articles for publication, and giving feedback contact Pacific

Media Watch at: E-mail: Fax: (+679) 30 5779 or (+612) 9660 1804 Mail: PO Box 9, Annandale, NSW 2038, Australia or, PO Box 78028, Auckland 1002, New Zealand. New website:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Haiti: $5 Million To Kick-Start Aid In Wake Of Hurricane Matthew

UN emergency fund allocates $5 million to kick-start assistance in wake of Hurricane Matthew More>>


Not Helen Clark: António Guterres Favourite For Next UN Secretary-General

Former Portuguese Prime Minister António Guterres has emerged as the clear favourite to become the next United Nations Secretary-General following the sixth secret ballot held today by the UN Security Council, which is expected to take a formal decision tomorrow and forward Mr. Guterres’ name to the 193-Member General Assembly for final confirmation. More>>


Preliminary Results: MH17 Investigation Report

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) is convinced of having obtained irrefutable evidence to establish that on 17 July 2014, flight MH-17 was shot down by a BUK missile from the 9M38-series. According to the JIT there is also evidence identifying the launch location that involves an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi which, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. More>>


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news