Covering Military Trials, Journalist's Data Erased

Description

The data of two journalists in Jayapura was deleted while reporting at the Manokwari District Court on Monday, 17 October 2022.
That day, West Papua Tribune journalist Safwan Ashari, and Tabura Pos daily journalist Hendri Sitinjak, covered the trial of a military member of the TNI, who was involved in the shooting of his relative to death, at the Manokwari District Court, West Papua.

Initially, the trial with the agenda of reading the charges and examining witnesses which began at 13.24 PM, proceeded openly. The judge did not provide any information that the trial was closed, nor did the security forces prohibit the media from covering the moment. Several victims' families and the general public were present in the courtroom to attend the trial.

However, at 14.50 PM, one of the judges ordered the court clerk to examine the two victims, who were standing at the side of one of the entrances to the courtroom. The clerk's officer first approached Hendri, and asked for his Identity card and press card. The Registrar then ordered one of his staff to take Hendri's phone, and he immediately took the memory card and deleted all the photos taken during the trial.

Furthermore, the clerk's officer also ordered the same staff to call Safwan, and check the victim's cell phone. When Safwan approached him, the staff immediately forced Safwan to give him his cell phone to check. The staff forced the password to access the victim's phone. After checking the victim's cell phone, the person immediately deleted some of Safwan's court photo documentation. This incident occurred at 15.50 PM. One of the perpetrators is suspected of being a member of the TNI.

The military court staff then conveyed the rules for conducting military courts, if they wanted to cover and take pictures, they had to get permission from them first.
AJI has asked for confirmation from the local TNI. The Head of Information for Kodam XVIII/Kasuari, Colonel Batara Inf Alex Bulo stated that he would verify the removal of the photo during coverage of the trial.

Information
Number of attacked persons or entities related to media
1
Do they work as freelance or media?
Yes
Position in media
Status of journalists
Gender
Male
Country
Aceh
Full name or name of group
Identified
The name of perpetrator (individual/group)
Military Officer and clerk's officer
Gender
Attack mention about gender background/sexual wording?
No
Date of incident
Year of incident
2022
Type of incident
Attack on equipment and personal belonging/other properties of media