You have to wonder at the power of reasoning of the country’s top lawyers and media owners, or the standard of reporting of our journalists.
Here you have the Media Group not only taking great umbrage at Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam for asking the government administration that he arguably administers not to place advertisements in the media Group and others that have been unkind to them.
It seems excessively thin skinned, heavy handed and vindictive but Unspun would argue that it is totally in Dipo’s right to do so. The Media Group, after all, is first and foremost a private business entity, in the spirit of the saying that all newspapers are public utilities in private hands.
As a business, the Media Group gets the freedom to decide what’s good for their business. If they decide that critical and impartial journalism is good for business in the long run, then they have to face the fact that they would ruffle some feathers but that they would come round to accepting its social role and begin advertising in their publications with time. That would work if the Media Group has the strength in its conviction that good journalism will prevail as a business model at the end of the day and that they have what it takes to keep the group financially viable while the market decides.
If they don’t have what it takes then they should consider folding in and toadying to the Government. That would be a more honest course of action rather than shrilly and righteously reporting Dipo to the police.
O.C. Kaligis, the Media Group lawyers says that Dipo has violated the Press Law and the Public Information Transparency Law. Fir enough an accusation, but which provisions of the Press Law and the Public Transparency Law? And what is the basis of Kaligis’s reason to “think that Dipo has violated principles of press freedom”?
This is where the line blurs. Can Kaligis, a renown lawyer, be so vague and churlish. Or did the Press – in this case Antara and picked up by The Jakara Globe (below) – get the reporting wrong? It is inconceivable a competent reporter would write the story without asking the Kaligis to substantiate is allegations. It is also inconceivable that any competent editor would let that story run without ordering the reporter to ask these questions and include them in the story.
Yet we have a story quoting one of the country’s leading layers reporting the Cabinet Secretary to the police on seemingly unsubstantiated and frivolous accusations. Where does the truth lie?
Media Group, which owns Metro TV and Media Indonesia, has reported Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam to the police over his recent call for a boycott of the two media outlets.
Metro TV director Tomi Suryopratomo, deputy director Sugeng Suprawoto and Media Indonesia daily’s news division chief Gaudensius Suhardi reported the case to the police on Saturday, flanked by lawyer OC Kaligis.
Kaligis said Dipo had violated the Press Law and the Public Information Transparency Law.
“We think Dipo has violated principles of press freedom,” Kaligis said, adding Dipo had been given three days to respond to their demand for an apology.
Read More here
Slightly off topic.
If private persons or companies feel offended by some critical article in a newspaper or satirical item in a TV program, they can cancel their subscription or stop advertising. But I think in a democracy, where an independent free press is/should be an integral part of the system, regardless of the law persons in public offices or members of government commit a serious political crime if they selectively cut off the ‘culprits’ from information or advertisements just because they don’t like the message or the contents.
Colson: And the press should expose members in public offices if they had committed crimes. The point here is that Dipo’s not engaged in direct suppression of the freedom of expression and information.
You can argue that withdrawing advertisements is a form of suppression, and it is. But that is nothing new and a truly independent newspaper should never depend as its mainstay advertisement revenue from the government. I doubt if the bulk of the Media Group’s advertising revenue is from the government so this ma be case of greed more than fighting for the noble cause of press freedom.
salam pesrsohiblogkan gan…