Thursday, August 10, 2006

Stop bribery - Let's fight for a "Clean" Indonesia

Are all Indonesian journalists aware of their own code of ethics in running their profession? What about the “wartawan amplop” case? What drives them to being “wartawan amplop”? These questions were raised today on the celebration of Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) 12th anniversary in Jakarta.

Heru Hendratmoko – AJI Indonesia Chairman, Anung Karyadi – and Niken Rachmad – HM Sampoerna’s Corporate Communication’s Director were featured as the speakers on the discussion “Kebebasan Pers untuk Keberagaman” (“Freedom of Press for Diversity”). In this occasion, AJI informed us that they have officially formulated the journalism code of ethics since March 14 2006. You can check out the comprehensive clauses on AJI's official website.

One important note is the fact that not all journalists are fully aware, understand and have applied the ethical codes of conduct. This happens mainly due to their low earnings as journalists. It's related to “wartawan amplop” case, where journalists expect certain amount of money from their source with something in return. I believe all of us are very much familiar with that term already.

According to one of the participants (he’s a journalist from a law publication), you can find many journalists out there who don’t receive basic salary at all. They survive by relying on the amount of “money” given by government officials or private sector. This is the homework for AJI and other Indonesian journalists' associations to work on and surely it would need great support from public, private sectors and the media house as well. Recently, AJI is fighting for a salary increment for journalists in the minimum amount of Rp 3.1 million/month.

One interesting quote as I recalled from the discussion was "If the media could not pay their journalists' salary then they must close the company down!"

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