07.05.2019 - UNESCO Office in Jakarta

If It’s News, It Cannot Be Fake: Vibrant Discussion on World Press Freedom Day Indonesia

World Press Freedom Day 2019

One of the more memorable quotes during the discussion at this year’s World Press Freedom Day must surely be the one from Mr Imam Wahyudi, member of Indonesia Press Council, when he urged everyone to help “increase the number of ants rather than feeding a few elephants.”

It was a euphemism meant to highlight the need to improve the diversity and plurality of media sources including smaller media outlets rather than depending on a few large ones. It was one of the many suggestions put forward by various expert speakers in the morning forum held in Jakarta on 3 May 2019 in conjunction with the 26th edition of the World Press Freedom Day’s theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism and Election in Times of Disinformation.”
 
News media are under increasing pressures to produce at a faster rate yet face decreasing revenue and higher competition from different social media platforms and internet giants. They are facing challenges by the spread of disinformation and misinformation in particular through social media platforms that has affected traditional news media’s trustworthiness and credibility.
 
“Press freedom guarantees transparent societies where everyone can access information,” said the Director and Representative of UNESCO in Indonesia, Dr Shahbaz Khan in his welcome remarks to the participants of the forum. Ms Ratna Komala, in her welcome remarks on behalf of the Indonesian Press Council, stressed on the need for more professional standards and closer adherence to the code of ethics.
“Press freedom is one of the priorities of the Foreign Ministry of the UK,” said the British Ambassador in Jakarta, H.E. Moazzam Malik. He also used the occasion to share the information with the participants about the international conference on safety of journalists that will be hosted in July in London by the United Kingdom.
 
Everyone was reminded throughout the forum that “if something is news, it cannot be fake. If it is fake, it cannot be news”. Over 100 representatives from journalists, media organizations, civil societies, academia, and government agencies participated in this event, which was jointly organized by the United Kingdom Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesian Press Council, and UNESCO Office in Jakarta.
 
The invited speakers for this well-attended forum included Mr Suwarjono, Editor-in-Chief for Suara.com, Ms Rosa Folia, journalist at IDNTimes, and Ms. Anne Kruger, Bureau Chief of FirstDraftNews.org. The session was moderated by Ms Yulia Suparmo, Chief Editor of Rajawali TV.
 
The World Press Freedom Day was created by the UN General Assembly back in 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO's General Conference. The Day is UNESCO’s flagship global campaign to raise awareness of the fundamental principles of press freedom, to defend the media from attacks on their independence, and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty. The main event in 2019 took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Jakarta was the host city of the main global event in 2017.

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