Chief Security Minister Wiranto on Monday (05/03) said the government is committed to weed out actors responsible for the spread of fake news in Indonesia and warned that political campaigns should eschew the use of hoaxes and hate speech ahead of the upcoming elections. (Reuters Photo/Beawiharta)

Balance Between Rights and Duties Should Protect Journalists From Violence: Wiranto


APRIL 13, 2017

Jakarta. Chief Security Minister Wiranto said it is important to maintain a balance between rights and duties to avoid violence against journalists on duty.

Wiranto spoke during a forum titled "Violence Against Journalists on Duty" at Persada Executive Club on Wednesday (12/04), which also saw in attendance Air Force (TNI AU) spokesman Air Commodore Jemi Trisonjaya, head of Indonesian Press Council Yosep Adi Prasetyo, head of Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) Margiono, as well as representatives of government institutions and media.

"There needs to be a balance between rights and duties. If they are consistently implemented, violence against journalists will not occur," Wiranto said.

According to the 1999 Press Law, authorities are not allowed to prohibit a journalist from news coverage. Reporters carrying out their duties are most often subject to violence by security officials who at the spot try to prevent the reporting.

Wiranto said journalists have the right to investigate and report, however, their duty is to support the nation.

He added that there was no intention from the authorities to exercise violence, but more discussions should take place regarding the issue.

Indonesian Journalist Alliance (AJI) data show that violence against journalists in 2016 was worse than in the previous year, making Indonesia rank 130 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index report, below Timor Leste, Taiwan and India.

"Violence is not what we desire. There were 78 incidents in 2016 and 42 incidents in 2015. Most of the incidents occured spontaneously, when the authorities felt threatened," Wiranto said.

Violence, however, does not only come from the hands of the police. On Wednesday morning, a cameraman from a local TV station was punched while reporting a flood in Kemang, South Jakarta. The perpetrator, know by initials K.G.U., and his two friends were opening the hood of their Morris Mini Cooper, which broke while trying to cross the water.

Unhappy with the camera pointing at them, 25-year-old K.G.U. approached the reporter and attacked him. He was caught by the police a few hours later.