National Press Day: Indonesian Journalists Need More Protection

I don’t know if you agree or not, but a blogger is also a journalist in some way. S/he is sometimes more opinionated than a journalist is allowed to be and that what makes him/ her unique and more humane than a journalist.

In reality, the profession of writer and blogger and journalist more often than not overlap each other. In my case, that is also the case.

This year in Indonesia, we still see some unsolved cases of journalist murders in the country. As reported by Kompas.com, there are still ten major cases of Indonesian journo murders, i.e. Herliyanto, Ardiansyah Matra’is Wibisono, Naimullah, Alfrets Mirulewan, Agus Mulyawan, Fuad M. Syarifudin (Udin), Ersa Siregar, Muhammad Jamaluddin, AA Narendra Prabangsa, and Ridwan Salamun. I am not going into the details on how these journalists got murdered but murders are still murders regardless of the methods.

The recent news that made headline today is that the president of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo has revoked the remission of Susrama, who has been convicted as the murder of AA Narendra Prabangsa. This definitely a major victory on the side of press activitsts. However, it is never enough as there are still many other homicide cases involving journalists in Indonesia that have gone unsolved for years and even decades! The murderer of Udin (Bernas Yogya Daily journalist in Yogyakarta) in 1996 has never been perfectly solved. And this is I guess one of the most monumental cases of journo murders in the country.

Murder is not the only type of crime that can happen against a journalist here. One can also experience violence. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) or Independent Journalist Alliance, one of the most progressive journalist organizations in Indonesia, recorded that the recent development of Indonesian press in 2018 was not quite bright. The data that AJI gathered showed that there are at least 64 violence cases involving journalists here. They were expelled, terrorized, physically beaten (or slapped), or sent to jail because of their pieces.

Journalists are now even expected to be more cautious than ever before as a new modus operandi emerges in Indonesia: doxing. It’s simply defined as an online form of persecution, in which people who hate the work of a certain journalist can just hunt him or her for any private details and then unravel them to the public to be judged. Horrible and disgusting on so many levels.

Sources:

  • https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2019/02/08/17302821/mengingat-lagi-10-kasus-pembunuhan-wartawan-di-indonesia
  • https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190209111833-12-367698/jokowi-resmi-cabut-remisi-pembunuh-wartawan-radar-bali?tag_from=wp_wm_cnn
  • https://www.idntimes.com/news/indonesia/teatrika/jokowi-batalkan-remisi-pembunuh-wartawan-bali-ini-kata-moeldoko/full?utm_source=lineND&utm_medium=lineND&utm_campaign=lineND
  • https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1160304/aji-kekerasan-dan-persekusi-wartawan-di-2018-tinggi

 

A Hotel with Newsroom Flavor; Hot or Not?

The Press Hotel is like no other hotels on earth. Probably designed for overly dedicated journalists who don’t mind at all spending their life days and nights, being chained at their working desk, the hotel is located in Portland, the US. It was not a brand new building though. Previously the hotel was a number of offices of Portland Press Herald but in 2010 was left unoccupied as the journos moved to another office building.

There are so many lifestyle facilities guests can enjoy right here. The Press Hotel has its integrated art gallery full of past remnants like archaic typewriters. It is not going to excite overworked journalists who in dire need of total break from their highly demanding jobs. ‎
If you want to get drunk, go drink some booze at “The Inkwell”. It is a bar with newsy taste in every inch of it. You’ll find artworks that look like things you’re likely to find at a typical newsroom back then.

(image credit : poynter)

A Journalist who Hardly Ever Types

keyboardI know a boy who works as a journalist. He hardly ever types. He just copies and pastes but he is such a gem to his boss because his articles get lots of hits, page views. “Screw quality!”, he once said to me. It’s only about how many page views you can make and please your boss as much and long as you can and things are going fine. Bonus keeps coming to you so why bother typing all day long like me? It’s pretty much the message he has tried to send across.

Of course, he is such an object to envy. He can enjoy the perks of being an employee without having to work hard that much. Never that much. While I have to work hard for it.

It doesn’t matter how he sucked at the quality, it never bothers the boss. As long as the site rank is stable and showing positive trend, he is safe. Good for him.

Bad for his future…

Indonesian Press Still Has a Lot to Learn

It’s over now but its consequences may last more than we can fathom. The last presidential election proved to be the most destructive phase we have ever undergone ‎in the election history of the republic and also in the history of our national press.

In the previous two post-reform direct presidential elections (in 2004 and 2009), Indonesians had only ‎to choose one from 5 pairs of candidates. But this year, we only had two: Joko Widodo and Jusuf Kalla VS Prabowo Subianto and Hatta Rajasa. For this reason, the scale and intensity of polarization also mounted. Now the Indonesians are mainly segregated by their choice and it has never been this difficult to free them all from the spirit of political competition. Even for press which is supposed to remain neutral while performing their role as the fourth pillar of democracy, it is quite hard for them to stay untouchable from the‎ politics. That is what happens when these politicians happen to be business owners, prominent economic figures, entrepreneurs, etc. They are loaded with interests. And these interests proved to be more formidable than anthing else.

If you read a lot, you may know well that‎ Kompas.com, Tempo.co, Tribun News and The Jakarta Post implicitly and explicitly reveal their bias throughout the reporting by siding Jokowi. The Jakarta Post even published an editorial with the blatant advice for readers to support and vote for Jokowi. If you’re a Jokowi fan, you might like it even more. But if you want totally real and objective news, you simply had to stop wishing. It won’t happen anytime soon. At the same time, people with interests in Prabowo and Hatta Rajasa may turn to sites like VivaNews, Sindonews.com, Inilah.com and OkeZone.com.

Some news outlets, however, stay neutral and objective when it comes to reporting. Take JPNN (Jawa Pos News Network) and Indopos.co.id as two examples. These two are owned by entrepreneur cum bureaucrat Dahlan Iskan but it doesn’t necessarily mean the news is inclined to be in favor of Jokowi (in spite of the fact that Dahlan Iskan openly supports Jokowi)‎. Sadly, these are in fact truly rare.

Hari Pers Nasional 2014: Dari Berita Bombastis Sampai Flappy Bird

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Menurut Wikipedia, kata “pers” merujuk pada beberapa entitas, yakni media berita, penerbit, TV pers, surat kabar, dan sebagainya. Jika menggunakan definisi-definisi itu, saya sebagai seorang narablog atau blogger dan pembuat konten web bisa memasukkan diri dalam kelompok pertama: media berita. Maka saya pikir ini semestinya hari yang istimewa untuk saya sebagai seorang jurnalis meskipun jujur saya belum merasa menjadi jurnalis sejati yang setiap saat berada di lapangan untuk mendapatkan informasi segar dari sumber primer.

Dalam situs Hari Pers Nasional (www.hpnindonesia.com), hari tersebut dirayakan tahun ini pada 6-10 Februari tahun ini di Bengkulu. Presiden kita yang akan segera lengser Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono juga dikabarkan hadir di sana kemarin (8/2/2014).

Dan puncak perayaannya adalah hari ini! Anehnya perayaan hari pers ini didukung oleh Kementerian Koperasi dan Usaha Kecil Menengah (sumber www.indonesia.travel/id/event/detail/817/hari-pers-nasional-expo-2014). Apa hubungannya UKM dan pers ya? Kalau saya harus menjawab pertanyaan itu, saya akan katakan:”Kalangan pengusaha UMKM memerlukan jurnalis untuk mengangkat profil usaha mereka di media massa supaya lebih dikenal masyarakat luas, menaikkan citra bisnis mereka di mata investor, dan sebagainya”.

Bisa jadi saya benar karena sebagai pewarta daring, tugas saya adalah salah satunya membuat berita tentang para entrepreneur. Rata-rata entrepreneur mana ada yang sanggup menolak bisnisnya ditulis di media? Bahkan ditulis oleh blogger amatir seperti saya pun bukan masalah besar asal bisa menebarkan sebanyak mungkin konten pencitraan positif di mata banyak orang.

Tetapi berapa banyak entrepreneur yang sanggup memiliki keteguhan prinsip yang berbeda seperti pengembang game tersohor Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen?

Seperti dilansir dari laman www.pocketgamer.co.uk, Nguyen menolak publisitas dirinya yang membuat kehidupan pribadi dan privasinya terusik. Sulit dipercaya memang. Dalam akun Twitternya, ia bahkan mengatakan akan segera menghapus game yang sudah populer itu di Google Play dan AppStore “dalam 22 jam karena gempuran pemberitaan media yang tidak dikehendaki”. Belum diketahui apakah ia benar-benar akan melakukan langkah nekat itu atau tidak. Bagaimana tidak nekat karena game sederhana tetapi luar biasa adiktif itu membuat banyak orang tergila-gila hingga membuat aplikasi itu bertengger di posisi jawara daftar aplikasi gratis App Store. Dan bagi Nguyen, Flappy Bird adalah “mata air rejeki” yang mengucurkan rata-rata 50 ribu dollar AS per hari dari iklan. Bayangkan jumlah uang sebanyak itu mengucur ke rekening Anda setiap hari sembari Anda bermalas-malasan di hari kerja saat semua orang berangkat ke kantor di pagi buta dan kembali pulang di malam yang gulita.

Yang membuat menarik ialah pernyataan Nguyen tentang pers: “Press people are overrating the success of my games. It is something I never want. Please give me peace.” (Para pewarta sudah melebih-lebihkan keberhasilan games saya. Saya tidak pernah menginginkannya. Mohon berikan saya ketenangan.)

Ya, meskipun Nguyen memang terkesan “belagu” dan sok eksklusif dengan membatasi kehidupan pribadinya, saya pikir sikap dan tindakannya jika benar dilakukan adalah sesuatu yang patut dihargai dan bagi pers, ini menjadi tamparan bahwa tidak semua orang bisa tergiur dengan ketenaran (yang kebanyakan semua) yang bisa kita janjikan pada nara sumber!

Saya juga masih ingat saat Dave Morin pendiri jejaring sosial Path ditanya oleh jurnalis dan editor utama Pando.com mengenai besarnya basis pengguna Path di seluruh dunia. “Terus terang saja tidak banyak orang menggunakan Path,”kata Lacy blak-blakan yang mungkin dalam benaknya menggunakan Facebook dan Twitter sebagai pembanding bagi prestasi Path. Kemudian Morin melontarkan sejumlah juta pengguna untuk meyakinkan Lacy bahwa Path juga memiliki jumlah pengguna yang solid. Lacy membalas,”Oh saya pikir jumlahnya XXXX juta (saya lupa persisnya) seperti dikatakan di TechCrunch. Berarti mereka melebih-lebihkan ya?”

Di tahun 2012, saya juga pernah bertemu dengan praktisi dan investor bisnis William Henley (yang banyak dikenal dengan nama panggilan “William Botak” di jagat Twitter) yang mengklaim bahwa pemberitaan tentang Kaskus yang menggandeng Djarum sebagai investor dan potensi sukses startup-startup asli Indonesia lainnya yang konon menurut media Indonesia relatif tinggi itu sebagai bombatis, berlebih-lebihan, dan tidak sesuai kenyataan. Padahal ekosistemnya masih belum siap, kata William. Semua itu lain dari kondisi negara besar semacam AS, tempat ekosistem dan infrastruktur sudah lebih mapan. Transparansi juga belum banyak diterapkan di sini. Cuma dugaan dan asumsi. Katakanlah, nilai investasi yang sebenarnya diberikan Yahoo! Pada Koprol. Dan dengan berbekal asumsi, jurnalis-jurnalis sudah berani menerbitkan pemberitaan yang “luar biasa”, tidak realistis, serta cenderung utopis. Optimisme boleh membuncah tetapi apakah harus melanggar prinsip objektivitas dalam pemberitaan?

Tampaknya perjalanan masih panjang untuk bisa mencapai pemberitaan yang lebih bebas hiperbola. Ingat, ini bukan pelajaran mengarang indah, bung!