Surabaya, Jubi – Indonesian President Joko Widodo has withdrawn his earlier decision to grant remission to I Nyoman Susrama, the killer of Radar Bali journalist Anak Agung Gde Bagus Narendra Prabangsa. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) strongly welcome the decision by the President, which sends a strong message support press freedom in Indonesia.
On February 9, on Indonesia’s National Press Day, answering the question from journalists in Surabaya, President Jokowi said he had already signed the remission paperwork. A few hours later, the presidential chief of staff released the statement confirming that the decree of the remission has been revised.
The decision from the Presidential Palace came after continued protests from IFJ’s affiliate, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI). Hand in hand with civil society organisations, human rights defenders, as well as students press club, AJI urged President Joko Widodo to withdraw the pardon. The last protest was made by AJI Surabaya by displaying a giant banner on one of the main road in the city on Saturday. The banner read: withdraw the remission of journalist killer.
On Friday, February 8, AJI met with the Ministry of Human Rights to present a letter cosigned by the IFJ and AJI calling for the remission to be revoked. AJI also presented a petition to the government which garnered over 48,000 signatures, as well as letters of complaint from AJI branches.
Abdul Manan, chairman of AJI, said AJI appreciates the decision to retract the pardon to the journalist killer. It shows that President heard the outcry from AJI as well as civil society organisations and public in general.
“We hope the decision can be a good momentum for the country to resolve eight cases of journalists killing. AJI hopes the level of violence against journalists in Indonesia will decline in the future,” Abdul said.
The IFJ said: “The withdrawal of remission is a big victory for impunity and journalists safety in Indonesia. We will always support AJI to make sure that all the unresolved cases are not forgotten. The government must end impunity for violent attacks on journalists and protect the security and safety of journalists. We congratulate AJI on its strong advocacy work.” (*)