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#44500 - 10 Feb 07 23:04 JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role
KuKuKaChu Moderator Offline
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Registered: 09 Oct 05
Posts: 10790
Loc: Centre of the Universe
Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role

Ati Nurbaiti, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The quote of the week must surely belong to the honorable Aburizal Bakrie, who said the media coverage of the Jakarta floods was exaggerated and that many of the victims were still laughing.

The minister in charge of public welfare immediately became a target for criticism once again, much as he did after stating that the mudflow in Sidoarjo, East Java, which involves a company in which his family holds a stake, was a natural phenomenon.

Aburizal certainly has demonstrated a talent for making such nonchalant observations. But instead of simply dismissing the statement as another foot-in-mouth moment, the media should use the opportunity of National Press Day on Feb. 9, also the anniversary of the Indonesian Journalists Association, or PWI, to examine the minister's comment and treat it as a reality check.

Has the media coverage of the flooding been exaggerated?

As always, the media comes in for some justifiable criticism. For example, television viewers were treated to several minutes of footage of a mother screaming over a drowned child, repeated several times late Wednesday.

That is an example of exaggeration to the point of exploitation, though few viewers, if any, would have protested to the television station concerned.

Whenever they could, newspapers and television stations showed aerial views of the inundated capital. All other news stories were knocked from the headlines, such as the mudflow and the Adam Air tragedy. But to residents spending hours and hours on the road trying to get to and from work, the coverage might not have reached "exaggeration".

Instead, the media has not done its duty of covering the news "in a comprehensive and proportional manner", in the words of media ethics guru Bill Kovach. There have yet to be any investigative reports, for instance, on developers who failed to take into account flood prevention, or how they managed to obtain construction permits in the first place.

Did authorities really conclude that it was perfectly OK to build a mall at the expense of Lake Sunter in North Jakarta, for example? Experts, for one, continue to point to the loss of water catchment areas as a main reason for flooding in the capital.

Exaggeration clearly is not a charge that can be fairly made against the media in general concerning the flood coverage.

But nearly eight years since the strongman Soeharto stepped down, we must acknowledge the shortcomings of the Indonesian media, mainly its failure to make proper use of its newfound freedoms.

What we did not adequately anticipate was the censors prevailing after we no longer needed to play cat-and-mouse with the New Order's henchmen.

There is self-censorship and there is ignorance -- and often, obliviousness of that ignorance. There's the instinct to play it safe, and also the instinct to clobber the rival.

A convenient scapegoat is the politicians' apparent unwillingness to immediately pass the law on freedom of information -- but then the press as a whole has not exactly fought tooth and nail for the law.

Striving to stay alive amid the tight competition for advertising revenue is another excuse.

But reviewing the checklist of journalists' duties might just be the remedy to make our product relevant and thus a real necessity for the public, rather than a habit than can be dropped, as media experts like Kovach remind us.

This is all easier said than done, what with media watchers constantly warning us about shortening attention spans and the need to adjust newspapers to the habits of the "digital natives", or those born to the Internet age.

Apart from trying to stick to the basic requirements of the profession, a major problem in the past few years has been the lack of self-regulation in the media.

Awareness of these issues -- going back to the basics and self-regulation -- has been largely a result of public disgust with what they have seen, or failed to see, from the media. This refers to coverage that not only fails to live up to the expectations of a post-New Order world, but also what has been labeled as unwanted media intrusion into public life.

Gossip-based content, infotainment and alleged defamation in reports on corruption have led to attempts by lawmakers to restrict the media.

"Freedom fighters" have hollered loud and long against these attempts, but such efforts are likely to continue -- with public support -- as long as the media shows little evidence of self-regulation.

A renewed set of press guidelines was drawn up last year by dozens of media organizations, but without adequate follow-up we still hear complaints of public space being used irresponsibly, particularly by television stations, along with continued allegations of unethical reporting by the press in general.

At this stage the institutions entrusted to watch over the media are the Press Council and the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission, both still in experimental phases. There have been suggestions to increase the authority of the Press Council, which has actually succeeded in settling many press disputes out of court. While some want less authority for the Broadcasting Commission, especially those in the industry.

In the absence of a new strongman replacing Soeharto, the media now faces the challenge of balancing the powers of the industry, and everyone scrambling to own or influence a media outlet, as well as a public demanding that the media live up to its promise to provide uncensored, accurate information to keep citizens well informed.

As long as the media continues to stumble through a "transition" period, in which it tries to figure out how to face the above challenges and adequately self-regulate, the press community can expect renewed maneuvers for more restrictions -- with only themselves to blame.
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#44588 - 11 Feb 07 08:23 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: KuKuKaChu]
Piss Salon Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 27 Jun 06
Posts: 4039
Loc: Jakpus
“As long as the media continues to stumble through a "transition" period, in which it tries to figure out how to face the above challenges and adequately self-regulate, the press community can expect renewed maneuvers for more restrictions -- with only themselves to blame.”

Ati is a competent journo who could one day be editor of the post if she can prove she can mix it with the boys.

However, she has been or was a member of some org that represents the media and what the fuck has she done about it herself? Nothing. With only herself to blame.
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#45444 - 17 Feb 07 07:45 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: Piss Salon]
naga Offline
Member++

Registered: 18 Jan 07
Posts: 260
Loc: undisclosed location
They can start by NOT accepting money from all kinds of people who want favourable news, by NOT following victim's families into hospitals and watching their reaction upon identifing a murder/accident victim, by NOT accompanying police on 'raids' against people who are yet to be charged, let alone convicted of anything, and by having an outside perspective of world affairs instead of being mere propaganda facilitators...

The more local journos who get beaten up by pissed off 'satpams',etc..... the better....
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#45451 - 17 Feb 07 12:13 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: naga]
Piss Salon Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 27 Jun 06
Posts: 4039
Loc: Jakpus
Absolutely
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place within us love that truly gives, tenderness that truly unites, self-offering that tells the truth and does not deceive, forgiveness that truly receives, loving physical union that welcomes

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#45456 - 17 Feb 07 12:50 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: Piss Salon]
Roy's Hair Offline
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Registered: 08 Nov 06
Posts: 3974
Loc: jakarta
Step on the wrong toes here as a journo and you can wind up dead. I hope the one's with integrity keep pushin' . ...and yes they really should take those reality cop shows off the air. Hardcore porn would be less offensive than that crap.
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#45459 - 17 Feb 07 22:08 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: Roy's Hair]
Dilli Offline
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Registered: 26 Feb 06
Posts: 8044
Loc: Nearest Bar
Hmm, Reality TV, Jihab and Jackboots? May be interesting?
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#45464 - 18 Feb 07 00:40 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: Dilli]
Roy's Hair Offline
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Registered: 08 Nov 06
Posts: 3974
Loc: jakarta
Great idea for a show "Bab Teasers". SCTV sends out hot young ladies with hidden cameras under their 'babs. They then try and seduce prominent Muslim clerics and tape the results.
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Chinese like more traditional patterns on their ring.

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#45470 - 18 Feb 07 00:59 Re: JP/Time for the media to grow up, grow into new role [Re: Roy's Hair]
Dilli Offline
Pujangga Besar

Registered: 26 Feb 06
Posts: 8044
Loc: Nearest Bar
Been done! Ask the Golkar party!
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