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Indonesian Air Force detains four journalists to prevent news coverage of plane crash

(AJI/IFEX) - Four Indonesian journalists were detained by Indonesian Air Force personnel to prevent them from covering the crash of a C-130 Hercules cargo plane in Magetan, East Java.

The military cargo plane crashed into an East Java neighborhood on 20 May 2009. According to initial reports, two people were killed while at least 15 more were rushed to hospitals due to various injuries. The air force still has not released a statement giving the reason for the crash.

The journalists are from Indosiar TV, Trans TV, Trans 7 channel and Detik.com. The soldiers also confiscated the reporters' video tapes.

The journalists were forced to stay in some local people's houses and were not allowed to cover the plane crash. Air Force officers also prohibited them from communicating with their colleagues. However, the journalists were able to secretly use their cellular phones to report their situation.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) condemns the Indonesian Air Force for detaining and preventing the four journalists from performing their job. "This is a kind of pressure against press freedom. According to Indonesian Press Law, forbidding journalists from filing reports is against the law and subject to a two-year sentence in jail," said Margiyono, head of AJI's Advocacy Department.

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