Jakarta. Vice President Jusuf Kalla said the media is a pillar of democracy in Indonesia, during his opening speech at a World Press Freedom Day celebration in Jakarta on Wednesday (03/05).
"The media plays a key role in providing credible information, which is instrumental for peace, justice and progress in a country," Kalla said.
He added that governments are instrumental in framing regulations and granting permits, which help promote responsible press freedom.
In Indonesia, those regulations have resulted in a vibrant media environment, which according to Kalla, is comprised of 2,000 printed media outlets, 1,100 radio stations, 400 television stations and more than 40,000 online media outlets in the country.
According to Unesco director general Irina Bokova, this year's theme, "Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media's Role in Advancing Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies," is on point with the current climate surrounding the media.
"Critical minds are essential to protect this planet we live in," Bokova said. She added that Unesco is committed to press freedom and freedom of expression through its mandate, which includes a focus on youth and women empowerment.
"Free and independent journalism reinforces democracy, justice and the rule of law. It also serves as a prerequisite for combating gross economic inequalities, reversing climate change and promoting women's rights," Bokova said in an op-ed published to coincide with World Press Freedom Day.
Bokova said audiences still need to demand "well-researched and conflict-sensitive narratives and critical reporting," or the media will be "increasingly sidelined."
This week's World Press Freedom Day event in Jakarta is a four-day conference organized by the Indonesian government, Unesco and the Indonesian Press Council. More than 1,000 journalists from Indonesia and abroad are attending the event.