Pacific Media Watch
Reaction to media 'reforms'
Title -- INDONESIA: Reaction to media 'reforms'- P73
Date -- 28 July, 1998
Byline -- None
Source -- Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI), Jakarta
Copyright -- ISAI
Status -- Unabridged
Origin -- Pacific Media Watch
ALERT - INDONESIA
28 July 1998
Reaction to news of subsidies on newsprint; call for licensing of journalists
(ISAI/IFEX) - According to ISAI, a coalition of six free speech organisations, which include the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), ISAI and the Dr. Sutomo Press Institute, have issued a statement on media reform. It includes several points, such as licensing, foreign ownership, etc..
The coalition, called the Media Reform Committee, opposed newsprint subsidies to publications, saying that the money is better off given to other needy people, rather than to publishers (such as giving subsidies to the poor to buy their food and medicine).
However, other media organisations, especially the Association of Indonesian Publishers (SPS) and the Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI), consistently asked for the newsprint subsidies. The government of President B. J. Habibie finally agreed to give the subsidies, but surprisingly, he issued a statement saying that every working journalist should have a "licence", similar to practicing doctors.
The coalition of free speech organisations opposes such a controversial decision. Unfortunately, Parni Hadi, the PWI secretary general and a close associate to Habibie, is among the few journalists who support the idea.
According to news reports, the government of President B. J. Habibie is trying to ensure positive news coverage of his administration by offering subsidies on newsprint to financially strapped publications. However, Habibie is also proposing a system of licensing for journalists (see IFEX alert of 22 July 1998).
For further information, contact Andreas Harsono at ISAI, Jl. Utan Kayu 68-H, Jakarta 13120, Indonesia, tel: +62 21 857 3388, fax: +62 21 857 3387, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information contained in this further to alert is the sole responsibility of ISAI. In citing this material for broadcast or publication, please credit ISAI.
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