Title -- P33 - INDONESIA: Freed journalist to accept Intl Press Freedom Award
Date -- 19 November, 1997
Byline -- none
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
Source -- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
Status -- Unabridged
INDONESIA: Freed Indonesian Journalist to Accept Award
November 19, 1997
MEDIA ADVISORY for Contact:
Lin Neumann in Vancouver, (604) 669-7070
Judith Leynse in New York, (212)465-1004, ext. 105
CPJ to Present Its International Press Freedom Award, Won in '95, to Freed Indonesian Journalist Taufik
Vancouver, B.C. Leading Indonesian independent journalist Ahmad Taufik will receive the International Press Freedom Award of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Wednesday, Nov. 19 - the award he was unable to accept in 1995 because he was serving a three-year sentence in Indonesia for publishing articles critical of the Suharto regime.
CPJ's Asia Program Coordinator A. Lin Neumann will present the award to Taufik at an international meeting of journalists in Vancouver at 6:30 p.m. (P.T.) in the Media Center on the third floor of the Plaza of Nations, the site of the "Open Market, Open Media?" symposium on the status of free media in the Asia Pacific region. The day-long event is being held in conjunction with the Asian and Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum of ministerial and leaders meetings of the 18 member nations taking place in Vancouver Nov. 19-25.
Taufik was released on parole from a remote Java prison in July after serving two-thirds of his sentence. He is one of the founders of the officially unrecognized Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI). He was arrested in March 1995 on charges stemming from articles in AJI's news magazine Independen on issues of presidential succession and the family wealth of Indonesian President Suharto. Taufik was convicted Sept. 1, 1995, for violating Article 19 of the press law, which prohibits the publication of an unlicensed newspaper or magazine, and Article 154 of the criminal code, which bars the expression of "feelings of hostility, hatred or contempt toward the government." CPJ launched a campaign to win his release, and in January 1996 sent a petition to President Suharto signed by more than 300 leading American and international journalists.
Before helping to found AJI, Taufik, who served as its president, was a reporter at the weekly news magazine Tempo until it was banned by Suharto. Tempo was one of three news weeklies banned by the Suharto regime in 1994, sparking nationwide demonstrations and international condemnation. The Indonesian president has continued to stifle any flowering of an independent press, banning and censoring both foreign and local publications at will and permitting severe beatings of journalists covering demonstrations against his suppression of political opposition. CPJ again named Suharto as one of 10 worst enemies of the press when it announced its annual list in May on World Press Freedom Day.
"We are pleased that Ahmad Taufik can at last accept in person the award conferred on him more than two years ago," said William A. Orme, Jr., CPJ's executive director. "His release from prison was greatly welcomed by all who support him and the cause of free media in Indonesia. However, until the Suharto government removes restrictions on press freedom, the struggle of Indonesia's journalists will not be over."
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an independent,
organization that documents and responds to violations of press
freedom worldwide. CPJ's Web site is http://www.cpj.org.
COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
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