Accredited citizen journos in Indonesia?


Update: a conversation on this subject is going full tilt in Bahasa Indonesia at Ndoro Kakung

An outfit calling itself Persatuan Pewarta Warga Indonesia (Indonesian Association of Citizen Journalists) is touting Citizen Journalist Cards for those inspired to take up the calling on their own steam.

The PPWI is housed at Gedung Dewan Pers in Kebun Sirih, Menteng and is touting the idea of Citizen Journalist Press cards which would function very much like an accredited Press card by professional journalists.

Unspun’s has no idea who is funding the PWWI and is all for Freedom of Speech, Press Freedom, Apple Pie and Koala Bears but but it’s a scary thought that there might be several dozens of self-proclaimed journos running around brandishing Press Cards and demanding access to all sorts of functions and events.

In the old days you could tell the difference between legitimate journalists and Bodrex (sham journos who’s only purpose is to demand, extort or ask for money from companies at public events) because the latter do not have accredited Press Cards but the line gets pretty thin if we have all those Citizen Journalists running around.

What should PR flacks and corporate communications people in large companies do about them?

6 Comments Add yours

  1. hanny says:

    Yes, indeed, it’s a bit scary to know that it’s quite easy for people to actually get this card. Some people have also commented on the PPWI site, asking the mechanism of control for these “citizen journalists”. How to ensure that the card will be used properly? With this card, will these citizen journalists have the right to get access to any press functions? I am actually hoping to hear some comments from media and journalists on this matter.

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  2. Ashlee says:

    I think there should be some sort of differentiation on the cards between professional and citizen journalists, but at the same time I also think that general citizens should have access to press conferences and other events if they wish to go… especially if they wish to report on them.

    Opening up access to information to the public is hardly “dangerous” in my opinion. The more witnesses and the more questions and the more diverse coverage, the more rigorous the debate in the public sphere about business and public institutions.

    If more of the public sees the cycle of spin up close, maybe more of the public will see it for what it is.

    Ultimately at the end of the day it is the journalist’s job to provide the public with information. If the public wants to hear the information firsthand, why should they be excluded?

    I doubt this card will mean that press events will be inundated with troublemakers…

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  3. Unspun says:

    @ashlee – no issues abt greater accessibility and transparency but in Indonesia we who deal with the media also have to deal with their unsavory counterparts – poseurs pretending to be journalists so they can extort others.

    These guys are called Bodrex and they are many.

    If such press cards are issued without strict controls, how does one stop Bodrex from abusing the access that these cards should give?

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  4. pjbali says:

    If I read their site correctly these citizen journos would still be subject to the same code of ethics of professional journos. Would not the the Bodrexes who soon be exposed to the PPWI very quickly if they were found to be behaving in an unprofessional manner?

    On the other hand I’m not sure if I would want “citizen” doctors, lawyers, engineers and the like running around simply because some association is created to issue the card. I imagine that professional journos would feel the same way about citizen journos. I mean to say if I was a journo I would not like some Joe-the-plumber-cum-journo being called a journalist as such.

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  5. Suryo says:

    I’m agree, if you say it’s scary…but i think:
    it’s also funny, since it’s an irony for the term and concept of “citizen journalism” or “citizen journalist”…

    I am also for free press 100%! but as I understand “citizen journalist”, they are citizen who are happened to be on location, and are able to report as quick as they can, since there were no professional reporters yet…or no reporters at all. So if a “citizen journalist” has a “citizen journalist card” and driving around the city to find news, then they are definitely NOT a REAL “citizen journalist”. Who would drive around the city, everyday, 24/7 just to be “citizen journalist”? nobody, unless they are super rich; has plenty of time; crazy; or a very noble person…

    irony..that’s what it is…ID card for citizen journalist…

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