Wed, 17 May 2000

PDI-P faces lawsuit after assault on reporter

BANDUNG (JP): Pikiran Rakyat daily plans to file a lawsuit against the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI Perjuangan) in Purwakarta on Monday after an internal dispute between party members led to an assault on a reporter.

Chief editor H. AM. Ruslan said in Bandung on Tuesday that his office would sue the party's security guards for the arrest and beating of Nuryaman, the reporter assigned to cover the dispute.

The daily also demanded the party's West Java chapter apologize for the incident and discipline its security guards in Purwakarta.

"We condemn the anarchy. Our reporter revealed his identification but still the party's security guards assaulted and detained him for about one hour," an enraged Ruslan said.

He said the matter would only be closed after the party's West Java chapter apologized and the case was settled in court.

Purwakarta Police acknowledged the report made by Nuryaman. A doctor said the reporter suffered injuries consistent with a beating, including a bloody nose and badly bruised face.

West Java Police chief Maj. Gen. Adang Darajatun said that even without a formal report from Nuryaman, the police would take legal steps against the attackers. "The action is a crime."

The secretary of the party's West Java chapter, Iwan Rosadi, said the party took full responsibility for the attack. "We will approach Pikiran Rakyat to deal with this."

Explanations from the party's security guards in Purwakarta are also needed, he added.

Two rival groups claiming to be security guards (satgas) of the party were involved in a fierce clash before the assault on the reporter.

Meanwhile in Surabaya, East Java, a dispute between 25 reporters and local legislators from the PDI Perjuangan faction continued on Tuesday with fresh accusations against reporters as troublemakers and scandalmongers.

Provincial legislative council speaker M. Basuki, who is an official of the party's Surabaya branch, cut short an interview between five reporters and the chairman of Commission B of the legislative council, saying, "You reporters are all provocateurs".

Basuki walked out when reporters asked him to clarify the statement.

Reporters have vowed to boycott all activities of the party's legislators.

The dispute started last week when the legislative council announced its plan to curb media access to legislators.

Reporters said on Monday they would file suit against legislator Adrianus Harsono of the party. He reportedly accused the reporters of unethical cooperation with provincial administration officials to discredit the legislators. (25/nur/sur)