Media companies ‘should protect journalists’

Media companies ‘should protect journalists’
An aerial view of the city skyline in Jakarta.

The Press Council said on Friday that most of Indonesia's media companies do not fulfil their duty to protect journalists' rights.

"Media companies should provide journalists with appropriate wages and protection to make sure they can produce good and reliable news," said Press Council member Nezar Patria during a discussion on press safety and freedom at the Press Council office in Jakarta.

However, Nezar expressed his dissatisfactoin that press laws did not stipulate industrial relations regulations between media companies as employers and journalists as workers, and said there were still many media companies that did not pay attention to their workers' safety.

He cited the case of a journalist in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, who was terrorised by local residents who objected to an article he had written. However, the journalist's employer did not provide any assistance, and he was eventually evacuated from the city by other local journalists, Nezar said.

"It is sad that the people who saved him were his fellow journalist friends instead of his employer," he said.

Abdul Manan from Tempo Magazine workers' union said that while most reporters in big cities do not experience safety issues, it is a very different situation for local reporters in small areas, who often receive threats.

"I ask you how many media companies would be willing to invest in bulletproof vests for their journalists' safety? Not many," he said.

Manan added that aside from expecting companies to provide support, journalists should join workers' unions.

"If you fight for your rights as an organisation or union, you will be listened to more than if you fight individually," he said.

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