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TV journalists association says broadcasting bill threatens press freedom

CNN Indonesia - May 11, 2024

Jakarta – The Indonesian Television Journalists Association (IJTI) has highlighted the Draft Law on Broadcasting (RUU Penyiaran) starting from the drafting process to the substance of the law that is currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives (DPR).

The IJTI is questioning the articles that ban the presentation of exclusive journalistic investigative works. IJTI General Chairperson Herik Kurniawan is of the view that these stipulations will give rise to many interpretations and are confusing.

"The big question is why this draft law prohibits television from airing exclusive investigative journalistic works?", said Kurniawan in a press release on Saturday May 11.

According to Kurniawan, as long as such works hold firmly to the journalistic code of ethics, are based on data and the true facts, and are in the public interest, they should not be a problem.

In substantial terms, the articles prohibiting exclusive investigative journalist works on television could be interpreted as an effort to intervene in and silence press freedom in the country.

"This effort is of course a serious threat to the life of the press that is built together with a sense of responsibility", he added.

Furthermore, Kurniawan is concerned that the bill will be used as a tool of power and politics by certain parties who want to emasculate professional and quality journalistic works.

He also highlighted the articles on content and broadcasts that contain fake news, slander, insults and defamation.

He is of the view that this is very much open to multiple interpretations, especially concerning insults and defamation. The IJTI, explained Kurniawan, views these articles to be confusing and have the potential to become tools to silence and criminalise journalists and the press.

"We agree that the constitutional system uses democracy, and the press is the fourth pillar of democracy", said Kurniawan.

"The press has the responsibility as a social control so that the administration of the state runs transparently, accountably and fully fulfills public's rights", he continued.

The IJTI, he continued, also questions the provisions on dispute resolution related to broadcasting journalistic activities that will be carried out by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) in accordance with statutory provisions.

He is asking that the article be reviewed because it conflicts with Law Number 40/1999 on the Press that mandates the settlement of journalistic disputes be dealt with by the Press Council.

Kurniawan said that the resolution of broadcasting journalistic disputes by the KPI has the potential to interfere in professional journalistic work, bearing in mind that the KPI is an institution that was formed through a political decision by the DPR.

In accordance with the Press Law, he asserted, the press community has a mandate to make its own regulations in the context of managing a press that is healthy, professional and of high quality through self-regulation.

Therefore, he explained, all disputes related to journalistic works, whether they be broadcasting, print or digital (online), can only be resolved by the Press Council.

Based on these reasons, the IJTI rejects the draft law and is asking that the articles in the revisions to the law that have the potential to threaten press freedom be removed.

They are also asking the DPR to review the draft revisions to the law by involving all parties including journalist organisations and the public, and are asking all parties to monitor the revisions so that they do not become a tool to silence press freedom and individual creativity on various platforms. (ryn/fra)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "IJTI Kritik RUU Penyiaran Larang Tayangan Eksklusif Investigasi".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20240511192156-20-1096404/ijti-kritik-ruu-penyiaran-larang-tayangan-eksklusif-investigas