Wed, 09 Jul 2003

Violence against journalists down

BANDUNG: The number of incidents of violence against Indonesian journalists has fallen as the public has become more aware of how to resolve disputes through the courts, an expert said.

"People now realize they have the opportunity to resolve disputes through legal channels, instead of attacking journalists physically," the chairman of the Southeast Asia Press Alliance, Lukas Luwarso, said on Tuesday.

In 2000, there were 147 cases of violence against journalists in Indonesia. This figure dropped to 97 in 2001 and 72 in 2002.

However, by the middle of July there had already been 54 incidents of violence against journalists in 2003, which Lukas attributed to the military operation in Aceh.

However, he said he did not think the final figure would approach the 147 incidents in 2000.

According to the French-based Journalists Without Borders, Indonesia ranks 57 out of 138 countries in terms of freedom of information. --Antara