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No progress on press freedom under Jokowi’s watch

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Signing the petition to President Joko Widodo on Indonesian media freedoms. -Tirto.id

Jakarta, Jubi – Indonesia’s National Press Day (HPN), which falls on February 9 – yesterday, is a reminder of the murder of Radar Bali journalist Anak Agung Gede Prabangsa in 2009.

Based on the results of an investigation by the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), which was later published under the title “The Bloody Trail After News“, Prabangsa was murdered because he wrote at least three articles on the manipulation of project budgets valued at around 40 billion rupiah (NZ$47 billion) in Bangli regency, Bali.

The three reports were titled, “Supervision after a Project is Running”, “Sharing the Bangli Education Office P1 Project” and “Agency Head’s Document Deemed Flawed”.

The mastermind behind Prabangsa’s murder was Susrama, a contractor who routinely handled contract and procurement tenders for several government offices and agencies in Bangli, Bali.

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Susrama is also the younger brother of Bangli Regent I Nengah Arnawa, who at the time was an Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) legislative candidate in the 2009 elections, and was then elected as a member of the Bangli Regional House of Representatives (DPRD). Susrama was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment for Prabangsa’s murder.

The irony, however, is that Susrama’s life sentenced has been commuted by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

Through a sentence remission contained in Presidential Decree Number 29/2018, Widodo reduced Susrama’s sentence from life to 20 years imprisonment. Susrama was the 94th in a list of 115 convicts who received sentence remissions.

Convict profiling

Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) executive director Ade Wahyudin says that the Susrama’s remission failed to consider a variety of aspects.

“What was missed in the convict profiling study, was what were the case details, the social effect of a case such as this”, Wahyudin told Tirto.

In the same vein as Wahyudin, AJI chairperson Abdul Manan said that Widodo’s decision was very disappointing because the remission given to Susrama completely ignored the public’s sense of justice.

On Friday afternoon, Wahyudin and Manan met with the Director-General for Correctional Institutions at the Ministry for Justice and Human Rights (Kemenkum HAM), Sri Puguh Budi Utami.

Accompanied by a representative from the Indonesian Legal Aid Institute (YLBHI), the two conveyed their complaints over the remission and handed over a petition put together by AJ, the LBH Pres and YLBHI.

“We asked that the remission for Prabangsa’s murder be revoked,” said Manan explaining the demands they took to the president.

Poor press freedom ranking

According to Manan, using the standards set by Paris-based global media freedom agency Reporters Without Borders, the state of press freedom in Indonesia is indeed very dim. Indonesia’s ranking is 124th out of 180 countries, lower even that Timor-Leste.

“It’s below 100, that’s in the underdog league, right. Categorised very bad,” said Manan.

Widodo has indeed routinely appeared at annual celebrations of National Press Day organised by the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI). However, explained Manan, this has not automatically translated into efforts to strengthen press freedom in Indonesia.

“The February event commemorated by PWI was largely ceremonial. Totally inadequate to show that he sides [with journalists]”, he said.

There are many things that Widodo should be able to do rather than just taking part in ceremonial National Press Day commemorations. For example, said Manan, asking the Kemenkum HAM to look at the proposed revisions to the Criminal Code (KUHP), specifically the new on “contempt of court”.

The current formulation is problematic because journalists can be sentenced to five years jail if their journalistic work influences a judges’ verdict.

In addition to this, there is Article 494 on revealing confidential information. Likewise, Article 309 Paragraph (1) which has the potential for multiple interpretations and is susceptible to being used to criminalise journalists.

Articles too vague

“He should, if he wants to defend the press, [be able] to initiate the creation of regulations that support a climate of press freedom. Annul the articles which endanger the independence of the press because they are too vague,” he said.

The need to revise these problematic articles is becoming more urgent bearing in mind that in the last year there have been two efforts to criminalise journalists.

Those who have fallen victim were the former editor of Serat.id, Zakki Amali and Manan himself. The two were criminalised for investigating alleged plagiarism by Semarang State University (Unnes) rector Fathur Rokhman and the IndonesiaLeaks “red book” scandal allegedly involving National Police Chief (Kapolri) General Tito Karnavian.

“The Serat.id case was clearly just a press dispute. Police should be very careful in handling this. Ideally, pushing for the case not to be handled as a criminal case, so that it can be resolved though the mechanisms of the UU Pers (Press Law), namely by asking Unnes to submit a complaint with the Press Council”, explained Manan.

“Meanwhile the IndonesiaLeaks case is very clear cut and if they want to make an issue out of reports which were carried by five different media outlets, it’s inappropriate it to deal with it as a crime. The party that feels injured, if that’s Kapolri, should set an example by dealing with the case through mechanisms which are already provided for by the UU Pers”.

Still lots of homework

There is lots of homework that Widodo which needs to prioritise in order to protect press freedom in Indonesia.

Take for example his vision, mission and action program when he first ran as a presidential candidate in the 2014 presidential election. Widodo pledge to reorganise the ownership of broadcast frequencies in the hope of preventing monopolies by groups of people or broadcasting industry cartels.

According to doctoral research by Ros Tapsell from the Australian National University which was publish as a book titled “Media Power in Indonesia” (2017), there are eight media conglomerates that monopolise the public broadcast frequencies.

Aside from the problem of media conglomerates, Widodo also needs to fix the problem of the clearing house, a mechanism aimed at screening requests for permits by foreign journalists wanting to report on Papua.

The clearing house involves 19 working unit from 12 different ministries and is known for being convoluted and time consuming.

When he attended the great harvest in Marauke regency in Papua on May 10, 2015, Widodo asserted that these procedures would be abolished. Widodo declared that there should be a transparent mechanism with objective standards used to evaluate foreign journalist permit requests to report on Papua.

Journalists spied on

“Journalists find it difficult to obtain permits to report [on Papua], they are even spied on. In other cases their fixers are intimidated”, he said.

The other no less important problem is intimidation. Based AJI’s advocacy team’s records, during Widodo term in office new patterns of violence against journalists have emerged in the form of harassment and releasing private information through social media.

In 2018 there were three cases of journalists being persecuted in the online media. The victims were journalists from kumparan.com and detik.com. Their private data was publically released after they reported on the “211 Defend Islam Action” by a group who objected to the reports that they wrote.

“No legal action is ever taken in case journalists being persecuted. But, several cases of persecution where the victims were not journalists have been pursued legally. The president must show a clearer commitment to press freedom, particularly in its real application,” he said.

Wahyudin also raised the issue of poor protection for journalists under Widodo’s watch.

“There has been absolutely no progress. He’s been exactly same as the SBY [Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono] era, Jokowi. He hasn’t given attention to press freedom. Perhaps he thinks it’s already safe or resolved. Yet every year there are [incidents] of violence against journalists,” said Wahyudin.

Concrete steps

The government’s role, said Wahyudin, should be to guarantee that press freedom is protected. Yet Widodo has not fully realised this.

“It’s not enough. The government must take concrete steps in resolving murder cases. [Otherwise] the effect of ignoring cases of murder and valence will just be mushrooming impunity. Our democracy [itself] will become sick,” he said.

“In general terms, Widodo’s [new] vision and mission does not address press freedom. It more prioritises infrastructure but the aspect of civil freedoms are still very lacking.” (*)

Source: pmc.aut.ac.nz

By Dieqy Hasbi Widhana, Tirto.id, translated by James Balowski for the Indo-Left News Service in partnership with the Pacific Media Centre.

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A story of Ruth Dolly Pagawak, Papuan woman who recovered from Covid-19

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Ruth Dolly Pagawak. -Jubi/Hans

Manokwari, Jubi – Ruth Dolly Pagawak, twenty years old Papuan woman who declared negatives after two swab checks, could go home. She finally can meet her baby and the rest of her family on Saturday afternoon, 16 May 2020 after being quarantined at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital.

Along with Pagawak, other patients H. Abdullah Appe (62 years old) and La Marra (65 years old) were also declared has recovered from the Coronavirus. Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan officially take three of them out of the hospital.

While wearing a mask and holding her health certificate tightly, Pagawak told that her recovery is God’s blessing. “This is because of the grace of Lord Jesus that I was declared recovered of the Coronavirus,” said Pagawak holding a bucket of flowers by her doctors and nurses.

During her medical treatment at the hospital, Pagawak always listened to doctors and the medical team who treated her. She declared that listening to the government and medical staffs’ advice during the treatment is very important. By doing that, the body immune will stronger to combat the virus.

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“During my treatment, I routinely consumed vitamins and complied the doctors’ orders. I was also tried not being stressful because I believed that I would recover,” she said.

Since she was tested positive of Coronavirus in the mid of April, Pagawak has not experienced the most severe symptom. She claimed to only experience light symptoms such as cough and runny nose.

“I never experienced severe symptoms such as shortness of breath. I just had a cold and a mild cough.”

As the first Papuan woman who recovers from Coronavirus in Papua Barat, Pagawak advised people, in particular native Papuans, not to underestimate this virus. Still, they also do not need to overwhelm panic.

“The point is we must remain vigilant. Wear a mask, wash our hand routinely and get enough rest. We cannot avoid this virus because it is not visible. Therefore, we must follow all medical advice by the government, and never forget to pray and beg for mercy and recovery from God,” she said.

Pagawak told that she initially didn’t believe in her initial test confirming that she was Coronavirus positive because she was in the postpartum period. But with the support and permission of her husband, she finally agreed to take an initial medical treatment at Manokwari Hospital separately from her baby. She then continued to quarantine at Papua Barat Provincial Hospital since 1 May.

“I initially didn’t believe that I am Coronavirus positive. I just delivered my first child, who was six weeks at the time. So, when they took my baby and me from Warmare Subdistrict to Manokwari Hospital, we were treated separately,” she said.

This young mother also thanked the quarantine team of Papua Barat Provincial Hospital because of treating her and other patients sincerely and pouring them with encouragement and motivation.

“Personally, I thank the medical team, doctors and everybody who involved in Papua Barat Provincial Hospital. They are noble-hearted people because they treated us nicely. They are warm and always motivate us; therefore, we remain motivated to recover,” she said.

The information from the Covid-19 Task Force Papua Barat stated that Pagawak’s baby is currently undergoing treatment by a paediatrician at Manokwari Hospital. The baby, on the contrary, was declared negative since the initial examination and treated separately from the mother.
Meanwhile, Papua Barat Governor Dominggus Mandacan hopes that local community and neighbours of the recovered patients to accept them when they return to their family and neighbourhood.

“I hope people can accept them when they return to their family. Their recovery was also the hard work of the Papua Barat Provincial medical staff as well as our prayers,” said Mandacan at the Papua Barat Hospital on Saturday (16/5/2020). (*)

 

 

Reporter: Hans Kapisa

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Joyce Lin, a pilot of MAF crashed plane was also an IT specialist graduate from MIT

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Joyce Lin. – maf.org

Jayapura, Jubi – An aircraft operated by Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) was reportedly being crashed and drown in Lake Sentani on Tuesday (12/5/2020). Locals reported the incident after hearing an explosion. After two minutes take-off from Sentani Airport to Mamit, Tolikara Regency, the aircraft lost contact with the air traffic control tower.

Tolikara Regent Usman Wanimbo told Jubi that the crashed aircraft was possibly carrying books and stationeries for Yayasan Papua Harapan based in Mamit. President GIDI, the Rev. Dorman Wandikbo, also said the same thing.

“The aircraft was carrying school books and stationeries to Mamit,” said the Rev. Wandikbo by phone to Jubi. The pilot of the crashed plane later identified as Joyce Lin, a US citizen. Her body found at a depth of 13 meters in Lake Sentani.

Joyce, according to the Rev. Wandikbo, had just flown in Papua, although she had many experiences flying the small aircraft.

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The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

Joyce Lin grew up in Colorado and Maryland. She involved in a non-denomination local evangelist church service from a young age. At the age of eight, she showed her interest in everything linked with computers, mainly computer programming. Her interest in aviation also developed at an early age when her neighbouring pilot took her to the local air show.

She later took the computer science in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and received a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Engineering from the MIT. Because she had an interest in aviation, she also obtained a certificate of the private pilot while still in college.

After graduation, Joyce Lin worked as a computer specialist at a commercial company for ten years until obtaining a position of the Director of Engineering, while growing her enthusiasm towards seminary at the same time. She then registered as a student at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity. While studying theology there, she learned about the missionary flying service. It surprised her when knowing that there is a job that can combine her interest in computers, aviation and Christianity service at once. From there, she found a strong call to work as a missionary pilot. She had instrument certification and commercial flying certificate and experience working as a flight instructor to meet the requirement as a pilot for MAF. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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The body of crashed MAF aircraft found 13 meters below water

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Lake Sentani. -Ist

Jayapura, Jubi – Roberth Tunyanan from KNKT (the National Transportation Safety Committee) Papua said the body of a pilot killed in the crashed aircraft was found in Lake Sentani on Tuesday morning.

“I received the report stating the Rescue Team had found the body of MAF pilot flying the aircraft PK-MEC in Lake Sentani,” Tunyanan as quoted by Antara News Agency on Tuesday morning (12/5/2020).

The report also revealed that her body found at a depth of 13 meters trapped in the cockpit.

The website maf.org acknowledges Joyce Lin as a pilot and IT specialist. As a pilot, she flew the aircraft to help people living in remote and isolated areas by providing medical evacuation service for saving a life. She also transported logistic supplies for community development, missionaries, teachers, and humanitarian workers to these remote locations. Meanwhile, as an IT specialist, Joyce work to set up and maintain the computer networks for missionaries and humanitarian workers to contact their communities and to access information on the Internet.

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The aircraft controlled by Joyce Lin reportedly crashed around Lake Sentani that located between Jayapura Municipality and Jayapura Regency in Papua Province. The aeroplane took off at 6.27 a.m. local time and lost contact two minutes after take-off. (*)

 

Reporter: Victor Mambor

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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