An Air Force soldier arbitrarily seized and destroyed a video tape belonging to BeritaSatu TV reporter Urip Arpan after the latter filmed the wreckage of the military Fokker 27 plane that crashed near the Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in East Jakarta on Thursday.
”BeritaSatu TV condemns and deplores that violent action,” the broadcaster’s deputy chief editor Claudius Boekan said in a statement on Friday.
He added that the action had interfered with the work of the journalist who was only trying to disseminate information, as is his right under the law.
Later in the day, Claudius filed a complaint with the Press Council regarding the incident. Bekti Nugroho, a council deputy overseeing public complaints, said the seizure was a violation of Article 4 and Article 8 of the Press Law No. 40/1999, which states that freedom of the press is a basic human right.
The council will summon the Air Force to respond to the complaint.
“We hope there is no recurrence of violence like the seizure and vandalism against news materials,” Claudius said. “We call on all parties not to interfere with the work of journalists.”
BeritaSatu TV is a sister company to the Jakarta Globe, both of which are owned by BeritaSatu Media Holdings, a unit of the Lippo Group.
On Friday evening, Air Commodore Asep Adang Supriyadi, the Halim Perdanakusuma commander, said he had not heard about the incident.
“However, if it really happened then I apologize,” he said. “We are open and never intend to cover things up.”
Asep insisted that journalists needed to be careful covering the crash site and make sure they didn’t disrupt the official investigation.
“We have our own rules. We will inform you once we’re done,” he said. Bayu Marhaenjati