Writing reports on BLT cuts, journalists were intimidated


Wawainews media journalist, named Sumantri was intimidated by the Head of Way Nipah Village, Tanggamus, Pematang Sawa District, Tanggamus Regency, Lampung.

Journalist were intimidated by the Head of Way Nipah Village with the initials APR on Tuesday, 28 February 2023.

Journalist were intimidated because they had written reports on cutting direct cash assistance (BLT) village funds in 2022. The report was written based on the confessions of local villagers.

The report stated that BLT funds in Way Nipah were cut by IDR 100,000. Residents should receive IDR 300,000. However, they only received Rp. 200,000.

Village officials believed that the cuts were for even distribution of aid. Thus, the village government deliberately cut these funds so that they could be distributed to other residents.

Sumantri accidentally met the village head, in front of the Pematang Sawa sub-district office. The village head was angry and urged the victim to tell which resident was the source of the news.

"Who's the source? What's the point of bringing up the news, who is the public reporting it?” snapped the Kades to journalists. However, the journalist refused to mention who the source was.

"Let's fight, we will finish it," said the head of the village while tugging on Sumantri's clothes.

The victim did not fight back and said he did not want to fight, he was only carrying out journalistic duties. The journalist also stated that the news he wrote had received confirmation from the village government. If indeed the report is deemed not in accordance with the facts, Sumantri suggests reporting it to the Press Council.

Even though they had been given an explanation, APR still insisted that Sumantri disclose the identity of the source while threatening him.
"You can't go home if you don't tell me who the source is. Take the sacks, we'll shoot them," said the village head to his residents who came when they saw the commotion.

Sumantri and his colleagues tried to leave the location. However, APR still followed them on motorbikes. He kept asking who the source of the news was, while inviting Sumantri to fight. He pulled Sumantri's shirt and hit his head on Sumantri's head. As a result of the incident, Sumantri suffered abrasions on his neck and sprained his left leg.
Sumantri has reported this case of violence to the Tangggamus Police. The police have named Apriyal as a suspect, after processing the crime scene on April 28, 2023.

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