How Positive Coverage Can Be Bought: An Insider Tells of Dirty Journalists

The Jakarta Globe

Danu Pratama (not his real name) has worked as a journalist for nearly seven years, covering beats ranging from technology and politics to human rights and legal issues.

During that time he has also taken bribes from sources and others to “play up issues in the media,” essentially presenting deliberately biased or inaccurate news stories to benefit those paying him.

“We can play up any issue in the media, especially political, legal and economic issues, because politicians, law enforcement officials and businessmen are willing to spend a lot of money to attack their rivals through the media and make them look bad,” Danu told the Jakarta Globe on Thursday.

He said his demands for bribes ranged from Rp 7.5 million ($830) into the hundreds of millions, depending on the urgency of the issue, who the source was and whether they wanted an issue manipulated in print, broadcast or online media — or all three.

“I never play up an issue alone, because then it’d become obvious,” he went on. “I usually work with a team of five other journalists, where I act as the coordinator and make the deal with the source. I assure you that even the so-called cleanest media outlets have journalists who have taken part in this ‘mafia’ practice.”

As shocking as Danu’s revelation is, senior media figures say this culture of strings-attached reporting is the norm in Indonesia, fueled by a liberal official stance on bribery and a largely underpaid press corps.

“Government institutions and companies often allocate a portion of their budget to a media development fund that provides journalists with so-called transportation money,” said Nezar Patria, chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI).

“They maintain a list of journalists covering their beats, whom they usually give anywhere from Rp 250,000 to Rp 1 million each. Unfortunately, this money is often accepted by journalists who work for less-than-credible media outlets that don’t pay them well.”

Nezar said AJI and the Press Council had for the past 15 years been campaigning against the practice of journalists taking bribes. “Indonesian journalists and the media have taken part in the fight because they understand the importance of not losing our sense of objectivity when reporting a story,” he said.

“That commitment can be seen in every media outlet, which all state that journalists may not receive any gifts or money.”

He added that this value was clearly enshrined in the journalistic code of conduct.

“Other than compromising a journalist’s objectivity, receiving a gift or a bribe will harm the wider profession because it needs to be understood that journalists are agents of information between the state and public,” he said. “A journalist must convey only the truth because society has a right to know the truth.”

Agus Sudibyo, a member of the Press Council, agreed.

“But we can’t accuse any journalists of doing this unless we have evidence, such as phone recordings,” he said.

“If the Press Council does receive evidence that a journalist has taken a bribe or a gift, we will notify the media outlet or their journalists’ association.”

Let’s Go Past ‘Vain’ Facebook: Official

The Jakarta Globe

Indonesia may have the highest number of Facebook users in Asia, but the Internet needs to be used for more than just cheap sensation and navel-gazing, an official said on Wednesday.

There were 38.6 million Facebook users in the country as of last December, according to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. It was just shy of the 39.7 million people it said had access to the Internet.

More recent statistics from independent analysts put the country’s current Facebook population at 40.8 million.

Ministry official Freddy Tulung said that although the high figure was “a positive thing,” Internet use in the country needed to be directed toward more substantial purposes.

“Are we willing to just keep using Facebook as a platform for cheap thrills and narcissism?” he said. “We want people to make much broader use of the Internet, which is about more than just chatting.”

In addition to having the second-biggest Facebook population on the planet, behind only the United States, Indonesia is also the No. 3 source for all tweets on Twitter, after the United States and Brazil.

A Nielsen report earlier this year found that 48 percent of the country’s Internet users accessed the Web through their cellphones, with almost 90 percent of tweets sent from mobile devices.

A business lobby, however, said more needed to be done to clear up the 3G cellular spectrum to improve mobile Internet access and services.

Mas Wigrantoro Roes Setiadi, from the Indonesian Telematics Community, urged the ministry to pass a long-awaited regulation on tidying up the 3G spectrum.

The regulation would require Telkomsel, the country’s biggest cellular operator, to shift its spectrum to line up more neatly with other operators.

The ministry has given Telkomsel until the end of the year to comply.

Greenpeace Cries Foul as Eviction Papers Are Served

The Jakarta Globe

Environmental group Greenpeace has lashed out at the Jakarta administration’s decision to seal off its office for zoning violations, calling the move just the latest attack in a corporate-backed smear campaign against the organization.

Greenpeace Southeast Asia media campaigner Hikmat Soeriatanuwijaya said the group had been unfairly targeted.

“The continued attacks against Greenpeace started when we launched our global campaign against Asia Pulp and Paper by exposing evidence of APP forest destruction in early June this year,” he said.

He declined, however, to say who Greenpeace believed was behind the smear campaign.

“Although we know who it is, we don’t want to mention the particular company or party because we don’t have a capacity to investigate it,” Hikmat said.

The statements came as the Jakarta Building Control and Monitoring Office (P2B) said it had served notice to Greenpeace on Wednesday about the closure and would proceed with sealing off its office on Jalan Kemang Utara in South Jakarta next Monday.

Agus Supriyono, P2B’s head of enforcement, said the office had been built in an area designated for residential buildings only.

“Like any other building that violates regulations, we will have to seal off this building,” he said.

“We will only unseal it once the building owners have restored it as a residential property. So that means that come Monday, Greenpeace must stop all activities at its office.”

Agus denied that his office had been pressured by outside parties to move against Greenpeace, calling the matter a simple zoning issue. He added that an office building next to the Greenpeace office would also be sealed off.

However, several other office and commercial buildings on the same street have been allowed to operate as usual.

“We don’t have a problem with Greenpeace. We’re just doing our job, which is to enforce zoning regulations and take measures against violating buildings,” Agus said.

“If Greenpeace wants to relocate its offices, they’re welcome to do so, just as long as they do so in an area where it’s permissible.”

Widyo Dwiyono, head of the South Jakarta P2B office, echoed the point that the entire Kemang area was designated as a residential zone, making it imperative that Greenpeace move.

Kemang is also home to scores of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops, very few of which have ever been sealed off or cited for zoning violations.

Hikmat said Greenpeace found it humorous how its “persecutor” kept coming up with different ways of attacking the organization, including past allegations that it was funded by lottery money and that it was intent on stalling Indonesian economic development by attacking the country’s palm oil industry.

“We’re not against the palm oil industry, nor do we want to stop Indonesian economic development,” he said. “All we are asking for is responsible industrial practices by implementing sustainable industrial development rather than destroying and exploiting the rainforest.

“It needs to be understood that Greenpeace’s campaigns focus on saving the Indonesian rainforest, hence we continue to urge all companies to save the rainforest through sustainable industrial development.”

Hikmat added that Greenpeace was aware it faced opposition to its work, but said attacks and pressure would not stop it from campaigning for better environmental stewardship.

“We just hope that the media and society don’t get the wrong idea about our mission in Indonesia because we just want to save the Indonesian rainforest,” he said.

Last month, a Greenpeace UK forest campaigner was deported from Indonesia for reasons that were never made clear. That incident took place less than a week after the Greenpeace UK director was denied entry into the country despite arriving with a valid visa.

Nur Hidayati, head of Greenpeace Indonesia, said at the time that the group was “coming under attack in Indonesia because of our work to stop deforestation in the country.”

Lawmakers and religious leaders have publicly questioned the source of the group’s funding, while hard-line groups have claimed it is working in the country illegally because it is not registered with the Jakarta administration.

Critics of Greenpeace have also accused it of targeting APP while ignoring foreign companies that operate in Indonesia. APP, though, is foreign, being based in Singapore.

Kemang Bar Faces Questions After Fatal Stabbing of Youth

The Jakarta Globe

Elisabeth Oktofani, Ismira Lutfia & Zaky Paws

Following the fatal stabbing of a high school student at a nightspot in South Jakarta’s trendy Kemang area, a children’s rights activist demanded that the nightclub be held responsible and called on the victim’s school to evaluate its teaching practices.

Arist Merdeka Sirait, the chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection (Komnas Anak), said on Sunday that the owners of SHY Rooftop should have had rules in place to keep out people under the age of 18.

“The nightclub owners should be held responsible for the stabbing of the Pangudi Luhur high school student because they didn’t enforce this law,” he said.

Arist said Pangudi Luhur students had a reputation for getting involved in brawls, indicating there was a need to evaluate the school’s teaching practices.

“As an educational institute, the school has to focus not only on its students’ academic achievements, but on molding their behavior,” he said.

However, whether the 17-year-old victim, Raafi Aga Winasya Benjamin, should have been allowed into SHY Rooftop may not be a clear-cut issue.

In Jakarta, the minimum age to be allowed into a nightclub is 17, and there is no age limit to enter restaurants.

Arie Budiman, the head of Jakarta’s Tourism and Culture Office, told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday that the permit given to the establishment classified it as a restaurant, bar and live music venue, meaning there is no restriction on who is allowed to enter.

He said the presence of a bar serving alcoholic beverages was part of the restaurant and there was a generally enforced minimum age limit of 17 to consume alcohol.

Yuan Kusuma, who manages several venues that operate nightclubs after 10 p.m., said the policy of keeping out younger patrons was in the hands of managers.

“You need to be 21 or over to get into one of my places,” he told the Globe. “However, before 10 p.m., anyone can dine at the restaurant and we check IDs before letting people in.

“I don’t know about other venues, but we drew up this policy ourselves and stick to provincial by-laws,” Yuan added.

He said that apart from checking IDs, his staff also frisk patrons and inspect the contents of their bags to check for weapons.

However, he admitted that the 21-and-over rule was difficult to enforce with women.

“Makeup can make a woman look older than she is,” Yuan said, adding that the rule was also flexibly enforced for women in a bid to drive up business.

“The more sugar there is, the more ants there are,” he said.

South Jakarta Police Sr. Comr. Imam Sugianto said officers were questioning 12 witnesses as part of its investigation into the circumstances behind the stabbing, which took place early on Saturday morning .

“The witnesses include patrons, friends of the victim, security guards and management personnel at the venue,” he said on Sunday.

Police are also studying closed circuit TV footage from the night. “We’re still analyzing the footage, hopefully it will give us more leads,” Imam said.

Raafi and about 20 friends arrived at SHY Rooftop at 11 p.m. on Friday for a birthday celebration. “They had drinks, but did not get drunk,” Imam said.

He added that at around 2 a.m. on Saturday, Raafi got into an argument with six other patrons at the venue.

“We’re still not sure whether Raafi or his friends knew the people he was arguing with,” Imam said.

The argument escalated into a fight and Raafi was stabbed in the stomach, presumably with a knife. Imam said that at about 3 a.m., Raafi’s friends took him to a hospital in Pasar Minggu, but he died from blood loss.

His body was taken to Cipto Mangunkusumo General Hospital for an autopsy.

“We’re still waiting on the official results,” Imam said, adding that police were also still searching for the murder weapon.

He criticized the management of SHY Rooftop for not notifying police of the incident immediately and said that by the time officers arrived, the scene of the crime had been cleaned.

“They had mopped up the blood and rolled up the carpet,” Imam said. “They have destroyed evidence, which is a crime.”

“They did not file a police report,” he added. “We only learned of the stabbing after being informed by Raafi’s friends.”

Imam said police would distribute a letter to the managers of all nightspots and would add a new clause to the permits of new nightspots.

“We’ll follow up on getting a clause in the permits of existing venues obliging them to notify police of such incidents,” he said.

Shy Rooftop Wajib Tanggung Jawab

Shy Rooftop seharusnya membuat peraturan yang ketat. Anak dibawah usia 18 tahun tidak dapat masuk ke tempat hiburan malam.

Pemilik Shy Rooftop Kemang wajib bertanggung jawab atas kasus penusukan siswa SMA Pangudi Luhur Raafi Aga Winasya Benjamin (17) hingga tewas. Sementara SMA Pangudi Luhur perlu melakukan evaluasi sistem belajar mengajar.

Arist Merdeka Sirait, Ketua Komisi Nasional Perlindungan Anak, mengatakan bahwa anak dibawah usia 18 tahun tidak boleh masuk ke tempat hiburan malam.

“Selain harus memahami sebuah tempat hiburan malam tidak boleh memekerjakan anak dibawah usia 18 tahun sesuai dengan Undang-Undang Ketenagakerjaan, tempat hiburan malam juga harus melarang anak dibawah usia 18 tahun untuk masuk ke tempat seperti itu dengan peraturan yang ketat,” kata Arist, kepada, hari ini.

“Oleh karena itu, dalam kasus penusukan siswa SMA Pangudi Luhur tersebut pemilik kafe wajib untuk bertanggungjawab karena tidak adanya peraturan yang ketat tersebut,” imbuh dia.

Arist juga mengungkapkan selama ini SMA Pangudi Luhur memang terkenal sebagai sekolah yang sering berantem sehingga pihak sekolah wajib untuk mengevaluasi dirinya.

“SMA Pangudi Luhur kiranya perlu untuk dievaluasi kembali. Sebagai lembaga pendidikan, SMA Pangudi Luhur seharusnya tidak hanya mengedepankan prestasi akademiknya semata tetapi juga memperhatikan perilaku siswa,” tandas Arist.

Ekstremisme Islam Muncul Karena Hukum Tidak Ditegakkan

“Indonesia saat ini sedang dalam keadaan terpuruk karena hukum tidak dijalankan sebagaimana mestinya dan rakyat tidak dilatih untuk berperilaku disiplin,” kata Ali.

Lemahnya penegakan hukum telah mengikis kedisiplinan rakyat Indonesia, dan situlah berkembang kelompok-kelompok ekstremis, demikian dikatakan Ali Mustafa Yaqub, Imam Besar Masjid Istiqlal, di Jakarta, hari ini.

“Indonesia saat ini sedang dalam keadaan terpuruk karena hukum tidak dijalankan sebagaimana mestinya dan rakyat tidak dilatih untuk berperilaku disiplin,” kata Ali.

Sesungguhnya toleransi antar umat beragama di Indonesia sudah cukup bagus namun belum ideal, karena banyak oknum yang melakukan hal-hal yang dapat menyebabkan munculnya pergesekan antar umat beragama.

“Munculnya oknum-oknum yang melakukan hal-hal yang dapat menyebabkan adanya pergesekan antar umat beragama karena hukum tidak dijalankan dengan benar, ada orang salah namun tidak hukum. Padahal peraturan sudah ada namun pelaksanaanya belum dilaksanakan dengan benar,” kata Ali.

Selain itu, Ali menuturkan bahwa munculnya kaum ekstrimis di kalangan Islam disebabkan karena oknum umat Islam tersebut belum mempelajari Islam secara utuh.

“Ada ajaran Islam yang mengajarkan bagaimana menghadapi situasi perang dan bagaimana menghadapi situasi damai. Kalau yang diambil hanya ayat tentang perang saja maka dapat menyebabkan seseorang menjadi ekstrimis,” jelasnya.

“Sehingga umat Islam harus mempelajari Islam secara utuh dan jangan mempelajari Islam sepotong-sepotong saja. Dan ini kembali pada peran serta ulama juga,” kata Ali.

Berebut Daging Kurban Fakta Kemiskinan Tinggi

“Tingginya tingkat kemiskinan tersebut merupakan masalah nasional yang perlu dihadapi bersama,” kata Ali.

Fenomena berebut daging kurban di setiap hari Raya Idul Adha harus dicermati bahwa tingkat kemiskinan di Indonesia masih tinggi.

“Rebutan dalam pembagian daging kurban sering menjadi potret tahunan yang kita saksikan. Namun, potret tersebut harus dicermati dengan baik sebab potret tersebut menunjukkan masih banyaknya orang miskin di Indonesia,” kata Ali Mustafa Yaqub, Imam Besar Masjid Istiqlal, di Jakarta, Jumat (4/11).

“Tingginya tingkat kemiskinan tersebut merupakan masalah nasional yang perlu dihadapi bersama,” kata Ali.

Pada Maret lalu, data Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) menunjukkan bahwa jumlah penduduk miskin di Indonesia adalah sebanyak 30.02 juta orang pada tahun 2011.

BPS menetapkan bahwa seseorang dikatakan sebagai orang miskin apabila mereka memiliki tingkat pengeluaran sebesar Rp 211,726 per bulan atau sekitar Rp 7,000 per hari.

Sedangkan Bank Dunia menetapkan bahwa seseorang dikatakan sebagai orang miskin apabila mereka memiliki penghasilan sebesar 2 USD per hari.

“Kriteria penduduk miskin yang ditetapkan oleh BPS sangatlah rendah sehingga jumlah penduduk miskin nampak sedikit. Padahal, apabila kita menggunakan kriteria miskin yang ditetapkan oleh Bank Dunia maka jumlah penduduk miskin di Indonesia sangat tinggi,” tutur Ali.

Ibadah Sosial
Ali mengatakan bahwa untuk mengentaskan kemiskinan yang ada di tengah masyarakat, diperlukan keterlibatan masyarakat pada umumnya termasuk umat Islam sebab Islam merupakan agama yang mengedepankan ibadah sosial.

“Meskipun Nabi Muhammad memiliki kemampuan untuk naik haji tiga setiap tahun, beliau hanya melakukan satu kali saja sebab beliau lebih mengedepankan ibadah sosia. Beliau lebih memilih untuk berinfaq ribuan kali sebagai wujud ibadah sosial,” jelasnya.

“Namun sayangnya, hal ini belum banyak ditiru oleh umat Islam karena mereka lebih banyak memilih untuk umroh dan naik haji berulang kali daripada mengentaskan kemiskinan.” kata Ali.

Ali mengatakan bahwa peran serta ulama sangat diperlukan untuk mengubah sudut pandang tersebut.

“Ulama harus memberikan contoh tentang perilaku Nabi Muhammad terhadap umat Islam. Hal ini dikarenakan orang awam tidak dapat memahami langsung teks hadis atau Al-Quran.” Jelas Ali.

“Perilaku Nabi Muhammad adalah berhaji satu kali namun berinfaq ribuan kali.” Imbuhnya.

Lebih lanjut, Ali menuturkan bahwa tak dapat dipungkiri bahwa masih banyak oknum ulama yang lebih mengejar kesalehan individual dengan berhaji berulang-ulang sementara potret kemiskinan ada di setiap sudut.

“Sekarang, banyak ulama yang memberikan contoh untuk mengejar kesalehan individual. Padahal Islam bukan agama yang demikian karena Islam lebih menekankan kesalehan sosial,” ujarnya.

Ulama Komersial Perlu Dibina
Sementara itu, Ali mengatakan bahwa para ulama komersial yang akhir-akhir semakin marak muncul di berbagai media

“Ulama komersial tersebut sesungguhnya bukan seorang ulama karena seorang ulama hendaknya membimbing dan memberi contoh umat Islam untuk tidak mementingkan diri sendiri.” Jelasnya.

“Memang tidak dapat dipungkiri bahwa sebagai seorang ulama memiliki kebutuhan pribadi yang perlu dipenuhi. Namun perilaku untuk menjual agama tidak dapat dibenarkan bahkan mereka perlu untuk dibina,” imbuh Ali.

SBY akan Sholat Ied di Istiqlal

Panitia kurban telah menyiapkan kurang lebih 3.000 hingga 5.000 kupon pengambilan daging kurban bagi orang miskin.

Pemerintah telah menetapkan Idul Adha jatuh pada Ahad, 6 November 2011.

Sholat Ied di Masjid Istiqlal, Jakarta, akan diselenggarakan pada pukul 07:00 WIB, dipimpin oleh Ustad Husni Ismail.

Rencananya, Sholat Ied tersebut akan dihadiri oleh Presiden Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) dan Wakil Presiden, beserta kurang lebih 200.000 umat Islam.

Sementara itu, Ali Mustafa Yaqub, Imam Besar Masjid Istiqlal, mengatakan Masjid Istiqlal telah menerima 70 ekor sapi dan 10 ekor kambing hingga Jumat siang.

Panitia kurban telah menyiapkan kurang lebih 3.000 hingga 5.000 kupon pengambilan daging kurban bagi orang miskin.

Unions Worldwide Back Papua Strike

The Jakarta Globe

Unions both local and international have voiced support for their colleagues in Papua and defended wage demands by striking Freeport miners as justified, considering the mine’s remote location.

“We are one big family, and we fully support the struggle of our comrades, the workers at Freeport who are fighting for their welfare through fair and just wages,” said Subiyanto, general secretary of the e nergy, chemical and mining branch of the All-Indonesian Workers Trade Union (SPSI).

“A raise in Freeport workers’ wages to $7.50 per hour makes sense because of the high living costs in Papua,” he added, speaking in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The same sentiment was echoed by Dick Lin, the information and campaign officer at the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM).

“A wage rise as desired by Freeport’s employees is reasonable because the mine is located in a remote area, which tends to have high living costs,” Lin said in Jakarta.

Subiyanto said that wages in Indonesia were frequently automatically based on regional minimum rates.

“The problem we must highlight is that an employee’s remuneration tends to be set with reference to the minimum wage in that district or city,” he said.

Since Sept. 15, around 8,000 workers at the Grasberg mine in Papua have been striking after failing to reach agreement on wages and working conditions.

The mine is owned by US company Freeport and jo int venture partner Rio Tinto, a British-Australian mining company.

The national branch of the SPSI has stressed that the government must play a constructive role in helping settle the dispute.

“We ask the government of the Republic of Indonesia as the mandated authority to quickly take action to end the strike by encouraging both sides to undertake constructive negotiations in good faith,” Subiyanto said.

Another union activist, Airan Koibur, said one reason an agreement had not yet been reached was that Freeport had not been sufficiently transparent with the Papuans.

“In previous negotiations, we asked management to be open with us about the company’s profitability, because for the duration of the past 16 joint work agreements we have not felt any improvement,” Airan said.

“We see our demands as very responsible because it relates to the workers’ welfare.”

He went on to say that the workers had lowered their demands as many as five times.

Initially, they had requested a wage hike to $35 per hour. They subsequently reduced the demand to $30, then $17.50, $12.50 and ultimately to the current level of $7.50.

“We don’t understand why they find this unacceptable and say they’ll only increase wages by 30 percent from the current level of $2.10 per hour,” Airan said.

According to the agreement made on Monday, striking workers will meet their bosses again next week on Nov. 7, with the government playing a monitoring and facilitating role.

Any potential agreement reached by negotiators will need to be voted on by all striking workers.

Kondisi Papua Dasar Kemenhan Susun RUU Kamnas

Purnomo mengatakan terdapat empat masalah yang terjadi di Papua.

Gerakan Separatis Papua menjadi salah satu alasan utama Kementerian Pertahanan untuk menyusun Rancangan Undang Undangan Keamanan Nasional (RUU Kamnas).

“Kami menyoroti masalah gerakan ingin memisahkan diri dari Negara Kesatuan Republik Indonesia karena terkait dengan keamanan nasional. Di mana, saat ini kami sedang mempersiapkan diri untuk membahas Rancangan Undang Undang Keamanan Nasional dengan DPR” kata Purnomo Yusgiantoro, Menteri Pertahanan, dalam pembukaan diskusi terbatas dengan tema ‘Papua dalam Perspektif Keamanan Nasional’ di Jakarta, hari ini.

“Rancangan Undang Undang Keaman Nasional mencakup ancaman keamanan publik yang selama ini ditangani oleh Polri, ancaman keamanan internal yang ditangani oleh TNI serta ancaman keamanan eksternal,” kata Menhan.

Purnomo mengatakan terdapat empat masalah yang terjadi di Papua yang tidak memiliki keterkaitan satu sama lain.

Keempat masalah tersebut adalah masalah gerakan separatis Papua, masalah disparitas ekonomi, masalah Pilkada, dan masalah PT. Freeport Indonesia baik berkaitan dengan mogok maupun illegal mining yang terjadi di mile 34 dan 39.

“Sebetulnya, gerakan separatis yang terjadi di Papua tidak besar karena kelompok separatis yang melakukannya pun hanya segelintir saja,” kata Purnomo.

“Namun karena keempat hal tersebut berkumpul menjadi satu maka masalah yang terjadi di Papua terlihat besar,” imbuhnya.

Purnomo menjelaskan hal-hal yang terjadi di Papua merupakan ancaman keamanan publik sehingga apabila eskalasinya terus meningkat maka hal yang terjadi di Papua sudah termasuk menjadi kategori acaman keamanan internal.

Untuk itu perlu melibatkan TNI untuk menyelesaikannya.