Press freedom remains under threat
Ni Komang Erviani
The Jakarta Post
Years into the Reform era, representatives from international and regional freedom of expression organizations ' grouped under the International Partnership Mission (IPM) ' claimed that the freedom of the Indonesian press
is still under threat.
'Since its democratic transition began, there have been significant improvements in Indonesia's media environment. However, we observe that there are still several areas of concern where press freedom and the right to freedom of expression remain under threat,' said Michael Karanicolas from the Center for Law and Democracy, reading the IPM statement earlier this month.
The IPM noted that violence, intimidation and threats against journalists continue to present a significant challenge to the establishment of a free and safe media environment.
'In particular, we note that many perpetrators of attacks against journalists continue to enjoy impunity for their actions,' Karanicolas added.
The IPM was hosted by the NGO known as the Tifa Foundation in collaboration with the Independent Coalition for Broadcasting Democratization (KIDP) and the Independent Journalists Alliance (AJI), and also includes meetings with representatives from the government, civil society and media.
The organizations represented were Article 19, Center for Law and Democracy, Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, International Federation of Journalists, International Media Support, Open Society Foundations Programme on Independent Journalism and the Southeast Asian Press Alliance.
Among other pressing issues, limitations on journalists' access to Indonesia remains a key area of concern.
Restrictions on foreign journalists entering sensitive regions such as Papua and West Papua mean reporters must obtain additional permissions from an array of government offices, which are seldom granted.
'Unfortunately, the process for foreign journalist to get permit to cover in the area is not easy and there is no transparency of the process,' Sumit Gaholtra from the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
Jane Worthington from International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) said that all organizations involved in the mission are keen to give support to the new government under President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo's leadership. 'We are optimistic that the new government has more concern over these issues,' she said.
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