Two Journalists Were Found Dead in Indonesia
Two Indonesian journalists who mediated a land dispute between a palm oil company and residents were found dead with multiple stab wounds near a Sumatra plantation, police said.
Maraden Sianipar's body was found on Wednesday in a ditch in the concession of palm grower PT Sei Alih Berombang (SAB), eight hours by car from the capital of North Sumatra province. A day later, police discovered the remains of Martua Siregar in the same area.
“We have questioned eight witnesses, and we’re collecting as much evidence [as possible] to solve the deaths of the two victims,” Budiarto, a local police chief, told reporters.
The men worked together for a local news portal before going freelance in 2017.
A friend of Siregar's stated that the victims have recently become popular with their activism on land disputes.
Prior to their deaths, Siregar and Sianipar worked on a campaign to persuade the government to allow locals to work on the disputed land.
Indonesian journalist associations have condemned the deaths of the two and have asked the authorities for an in-depth investigation.
Many cases of violence against journalists in Indonesia remain undisclosed, according to the Independent Journalists Alliance, which reported at least two dozen cases this year alone.
Indonesia ranks 124th out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index, published by Reporters Without Borders.
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