National

Journalists tested on knowledge
of Islam

A survey conducted by Pantau Foundation in 2012 reveals that religious intolerance among Indonesian journalists remains high, underlining the need for access to adequate knowledge of Islam, survey coordinator says.

Pantau Foundation survey coordinator, Imam Shofwan, said on Sunday that after the reform era , the phenomenon of religious intolerance perpetrated by Islamic radicals continued to increase.

“From my perception, our journalists’ account of religious-related events is still tendentious. From this survey, we saw intolerance among journalists to be strong,” said Imam at a workshop to disseminate the results of the Islam and Journalism survey.

The survey, which took place from March to May, involved 600 print and broadcast journalists from 16 provinces. During the survey, they answered around 100 questions relating to issues on Islam and journalism.

The 2012 survey revealed that 46 percent of respondents said Islamic law (sharia) should not be implemented in Indonesia, down from 47 percent in the previous survey in 2009. Meanwhile, 45 percent of respondents say Indonesia needs to implement the Islamic law, up from 37.5 percent from the 2009 study.

“The survey’s results show that a lack of professionalism and poor journalism ethic appear to be two biggest challenges the Indonesian journalists must deal with in covering religion-related issues,” said Imam.

Citing an example, he said it seemed that many respondents agreed with thoughts of Ahmadiyah as a heresy. In the 2009 survey, 29.7 percent of the respondents “quite agreed” with the local joint decision (SKB) that outlawed the Ahmadiyah sect. But in the 2012 survey, the figure increased to 30.2 percent. (ebf)

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