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TV reporter slain while covering clash between villagers

(SEAPA/IFEX) - A TV journalist was killed while covering a clash between villagers in Indonesia on 21 August 2010, media reports said.

The "Jakarta Globe" identified the victim as Ridwan Salamun of the Jakarta-based Sun TV. He died from hack wounds inflicted by angry villagers in Tual, Maluku.

According to the "Jakarta Globe", the clash was triggered by a minor disagreement that went out of hand. Some residents of Banda Eli village reportedly told a motorcyclist from neighboring Mangun hamlet to slow down while driving through their neighborhood. The motorcyclist then went back to Mangun and brought some friends to attack Banda Eli residents who had rebuked him.

Ridwan, a resident of Banda Eli, reportedly tried to cover the incident but was instead assaulted by the mob and was hacked several times. According to the Indonesian Television Journalists Association (IJTI), the victim was brought to a hospital but died two hours later.

On 21 August, Maluku Police Chief Brig. Gen. Totoy Herawan Indra said police were still investigating the incident.

The following day, a group of 70 journalists staged a demonstration of solidarity in Denpasar, Bali while a similar rally was held in Jakarta by members of a journalists' group.

"The police should be able to solve the case just like they did with the murder of 'Radar Bali' journalist Anak Agung Narendra Prabangsa," said Rofiqi Hasan, head of the Denpasar chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

Imam Wahyudi, chairman of the IJTI, told the "Jakarta Globe" that more effort is needed to protect journalists.

"Media outlets must provide proper training and protection for their journalists, especially those covering conflict areas," he said.

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