Press law important on today’s media landscape

Enforcing laws related to the journalism profession or ‘Press Law’ is seen as fundamental in the current digital era, especially when the laws have yet to be implemented in the country.

According to the Yogyakarta Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) chief, Shinta Maharani, 37, enforcement of the prescribed laws on the protection and privacy of journalists is important, especially during the news reporting process.

She said violence against journalists nowadays was often seen in the form of digital harassment on social media, such as threats, intimidation and ‘criminalisation’ which has the potential to endanger the life of the victims.

“In Indonesia, there are so many digital attacks on journalists along with human rights defenders, especially when we report corruption and human violence. Female journalists have also experienced similar digital attacks.

“We need (Press Law) as we need protection for journalists, especially for those who are under digital attack. The Press Council also needs to act more to address digital attacks on journalists,” she told reporters at the 2022 Media Solidarity Award yesterday.

She also cited her experience reporting on the Agraria Conflict in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, which was among the harshest experiences she ever had, as she was attacked digitally and physically by unknown individuals.

Sharing a similar view, Gerakan Media Merdeka (GeramM) spokesman, Radzi Razak, 37, said the press law should be implemented in the country, in accordance with the journalism code of ethics, to ensure the quality of news reporting.

“Because, as we see it, it (press law) can not only protect journalists, but also the community from unhealthy journalism, as all of us (media practitioners) already have a code of ethics for journalism that has been in place for the last 30 years.

“Hence, it shouldn’t be an issue to implement the rules to help us work safely and help the community to make sure the journalists themselves don’t deviate from the code of ethics. The law can be adapted from the code of journalism itself,” he said.

Meanwhile, at the same event, a total of 10 media practitioners from local media agencies also received the 2022 Media Solidarity Award in various categories. The event was conducted online last year and halted since 2019 due to the pandemic.

Co-organised by GeramM and the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ), the event saw awards presented to the winners in various categories, including Twitter Trenders, Instagram Idols, Fit Fab Journalist, ‘Otai’ Journalist and Popular Press SOS.

Commenting on the award event, Radzi said that it aims to celebrate and appreciate the media practitioners for carrying out their duty of delivering news to the public, as well as boosting their motivation.

The winners bagged a gift box each, containing souvenirs, a t-shirt, and a hamper, contributed by the Kelab Wartawan Kuala Lumpur & Selangor.– BERNAMA