BUMESO,- Several journalists have been intimidated and threatened while covering the rerun election in the Mamberamo Raya regency in Papua.
Rivand Nay, of private television station RCTI in Papua, was reportedly threatened by a group of men armed with bows, arrows and machetes at the Kampung Fona I polling station on Thursday. His camera was also confiscated. Rivand was forced to remain inside his house as the armed men continued to mill around outside.
“It began on Thursday when I left my house [to cover the election]. I had only walked for around five minutes when I was suddenly blocked by around 10 people who had bows and arrows and short machetes. They told me to turn back and they kept my camera,” said Rivand.
The journalist said one of the unidentified persons aimed a bow and arrow at his chest.
On Saturday, Rivand was picked up from Kampung Fona by a helicopter and transported to Kasoanwerja, the capital of Mamberamo Raya regency. “I feel safe now,” he told thejakartapost.com on Sunday. Rivand said two members of the police Mobile Brigade witnessed the incident during which the people blocked him and seized his camera but they did not do anything.
Papua Post journalist Gultom Pangaribuan said he and 10 other people were taken hostage at the Kampung Fona II polling station. He said there were two Mamberamo Raya Police officers at the polling station but they were too afraid to take action.
In total, nine journalists from various media outlets were covering the rerun election in Mamberamo Raya on Thursday. Each polling station was covered by one journalist.
“All the journalists have been intimidated and prohibited from taking pictures of the election by supporters of one of the regent and deputy regent candidate pairs,” Vivanews.com journalist Banjir Ambarita said.
“We have reported what we experienced to the election supervisory committee in Mamberamo Raya,” said Gultom. (ebf)