Radio reporting of the Jakarta embassy bombing

The bombing of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta was being covered minutes after it happened by Australian radio reporters. Most stations broke into regular programs for extended news bulletins and special programs.

ABC Radio’s Early PM program was broadcast on local radio as well as on Radio National and special reports were broadcast on all ABC networks.

Numbers of dead were underestimated in the first reports from the scene, but are since being put at 13 dead and more than 100 wounded. One or more suicide bombers is thought to be responsible. Australia was clearly the target.

There are reports about another impending terrorist attack circulating in the expat community, but more experienced reporters seem to rule out another attack in the same area.

The Indonesian President has visited the scene and Australian Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, and his Opposition counterpart are en-route to Jakarta.

Prime Minister Howard and Opposition Leader, Latham, both campaigning for the election, have condemned the bombing and have expressed their condolences for those killed, but have not used the opportunity to make political capital from the bombing.

Experienced radio reporters, who spoke to radioinfo about the coverage so far, expect the politicians to begin political point scoring about the terrorist incident within the next 48 hours, but say it would seem insensitive at this early stage.

The Indonesian police chief says there are similarities between the attack and the devastating Bali blast, which left 202 people dead.

ABC Radio has the largest number of journalists in Indonesia, but other networks are planning to get more reporters into the country as soon as possible.