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Journalist in Surabaya commemorate May Day with silent protest

Tempo.co - May 1, 2015

Avit Hidayat, Surabaya – Commemorating International Labour Day in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) held a silent protest at the Surabaya monument for press struggle on Friday May 1.

The action was held as a protest against the many journalists who receive less than the minimum regional wage (UMR).

AJI Surabaya chairperson Prasto Wardoyo said that 40 percent of AJI's members are employed as casual workers and the majority of them are paid low wages, far lower that the Surabaya UMR of 2.7 million rupiah a month. "They're usually referred to as correspondents, contributors, freelance journalists, stringers or ghostwriters", he said.

Media companies treat journalists as employees without looking at their profession as reporters. "Before we faced an authoritarian ruler. Now, our enemy has changed", he said adding that journalist's enemy is now the mass media companies themselves.

This is why the media workers from AJI Surabaya turned up to hold the silent protest. They also made a balloon out of large plastic bags to which posters were attached with demands. Following the action, they marched from the Surabaya press monument to the East Java governor's office.

In concert with International Labour Day, AJI Surabaya is calling on media companies to improve their employees' welfare and the government to set a sectoral minimum wages bearing in mind the characteristics of the press industry. "We are also urging media companies to provide clear [employment] contracts to freelance journalists", he said.

[Slightly abridged translation by James Balowski for the Indoleft news service. The original title of the report was May Day, AJI Surabaya Gelar Aksi Bisu Tuntut Kenaikan Upah.]

Source: http://www.tempo.co/read/news/2015/05/01/078662697/May-Day-AJI-Surabaya-Gelar-Aksi-Bisu-Tuntut-Kenaikan-Upah.

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