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Jakarta Post

Media in Indonesia biased against LGBT community

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 13, 2017   /  05:16 pm
Media in Indonesia biased against LGBT community A man walks past an anti-LGBT banner put up by an ultra-conservative Islamic group in Jakarta on March 17, 2016. (AP/Tatan Syuflana)

The media has failed to meet its obligation to educate the public on homosexuality by not being objective and independent in reporting about the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community, a joint study by various NGOs shows.

According to a study by the Partnership for Governance Reform (Kemitraan), Arus Pelangi and OutRight Action International, news and editorial pieces deemed hostile toward the LGBT community were prevalent in 2016, a year in which the rights of Indonesian sexual and gender minorities came under unprecedented attack.

The national media outlets studied were Republika, Antara, Jawapos, Kompas, Seputar Indonesia, Media Indonesia and Suara Pembaruan.

Two hundred news and editorial pieces were deemed biased against the LGBT community in January and February 2016, while only around 60 news items tried to educate the public on various sexual orientations and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities.

“There’s not much awareness among journalists to portray the LGBT community in a more educative way to change the mindset of the public, which in general still lacks understanding,” said Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, Soetomo Press Institute (LPDS) lecturer, formally the chairman of the Indonesian Press Council.

(Read also: Indonesian media must uphold LGBT rights: Activists)

The report singled out Kompas as being the only media outlet studied that had a higher number of news pieces that shed a positive light on the LGBT community, while Republika was singled out for the opposite.

“Opinion steering especially happened in Republika because there were so many opinion pieces [that attacked the LGBT community],” said one of the report’s researchers, Hendry Thomas Simarmata. (dmr)


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