“Solve 17-Year-Old Murder of Journalist”, Campaigners Demand

“Solve 17-Year-Old Murder of Journalist”, Campaigners Demand

MLDI and a coalition of free speech campaigners from around the world have joined forces to reopen the investigation into the murder of an Indonesian journalist 17 years ago. They have written to two UN Special Rapporteurs asking them to press the Indonesian authorities for action before the case lapses in August 2014.

The murder victim was a journalist called Fuad Muhammad Syafruddinwho had worked for 10 years as a freelance for the newspaper Bernas in the city of Yogyakarta. Writing under the pen-name Udin, he specialised in crime and local politics.

In 1996 he began writing a series of articles about the selection process for the head of the Bantul quarter of Yogyakarta. One article reported that the then-head, Colonel Sri Rosso Sudarmo, had paid a bribe of 1 billion rupiahs (US$111,000) to a foundation run by the then President Suharto to secure his reappointment.

After the articles were published Udin received threats of legal action for defamation and threats of violence, as well as offers of bribes to cease his reporting. When he persisted with his reporting, two men came to his house and attacked him with a metal rod. He was taken to hospital unconscious and died three days later, leaving a wife and two small children.

In October that year, a driver was arrested for the murder, but after initially confessing he said police had bribed him to do so and the case was dropped for lack of evidence. Despite extensive publicity and calls from various organisations for further investigation the case has not been pursued further.

The petition to the UN Special Rapporteurs for freedom of expression and extrajudicial or arbitrary executions is signed by more than 20 organisations including MLDI, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists and Article 19 as well as journalists’ and legal groups in Indonesia and South-East Asia. It argues that Udin’s murder is part of a pattern of repression of the press and impunity for violence against journalists in Indonesia and violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which includes a duty to uphold press freedom and protect journalists from attacks. Since 1996 there have been 10 other murders of journalists, only one of which has been solved.


Attached files:
PDF icon Udin Letter of Allegation FINAL.pdf

Recent News

Call for Consultants: Update of Training Materials on Freedom of Expression in South and Southeast Asia

Purpose of the consultancy contract This is a call for consultants to review and update eleven existing training modules on freedom of expression in South and Southeast Asia. Background Media Defence’s vision is a world where journalists no longer face legal challenges that threaten their ability to report freely and independently on issues of public […]


Media Defence et l’Impact Lab pour l’Etat de droit de Stanford Law School saisissent la Cour de justice de la CEDEAO contre les coupures d’internet ordonnées par l’Etat sénégalais

Le recours au nom d’AfricTivistes et de deux journalistes sénégalais vise à obtenir des mesures provisoires pour empêcher de nouvelles coupures d’Internet   READ IN ENGLISH   Dakar, le 13 février 2024 – Media Defence et le Rule of Law Impact Lab de la Stanford Law School ont déposé un recours devant la Cour de justice […]


Media Defence and SLS’s Rule of Law Impact Lab File Case Before ECOWAS Court Challenging Senegal Internet Shutdowns

Filing on behalf of AfricTivistes and Two Senegalese Journalists Seeks Interim Measures to Prevent Internet Shutdowns.   READ IN FRENCH   Dakar, February 13, 2024 – Media Defence and the Rule of Law Impact Lab at Stanford Law School have filed a lawsuit before the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West […]