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Watchdog: Press freedom in Indonesia improving JAKARTA - Indonesia has made further progress in terms of press freedom over the past 12 months, according to Reporters Without Borders' 2005 Worldwide Press Freedom Index. According to the index, made public late last week, Indonesia is ranked 102nd, out of 167 countries surveyed. The country was ranked 117th last year.

The Paris-based watchdog said that there had been some striking improvements in terms of press freedom in Indonesia with the opening up of Aceh province to journalists following the signing of a peace accord by the government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) rebel group in August. "Despite occasional violence, the media works in good conditions and online media are prolific," it said.

Current developments at home, however, are not entirely encouraging for the press corps here. Some media people have recently expressed concern about the future of press freedom here, particularly with the government's proposal of a new tougher Criminal Code, in which some of the articles could restrict freedom of thought and expression, including press freedom.

Violent attacks against journalists have also remained a concern. The police, for instance, have been strongly criticized for failing to immediately respond to a case where a journalist in North Sumatra had been attacked and kidnapped by mobs allegedly working for an influential local politician. The journalist had run a series of stories exposing irregularities in the implementation of the local election in North Sumatra's South Nias regency.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also banned foreign journalists from entering conflict-prone areas, most notably Papua province. Reporters Without Borders also saw improvement in Malaysia (113th) as that country no longer is holding any journalists or cyber-dissidents in prison. Singapore (140th) still has a very low ranking because the government keeps a tight grip on the media and uses tough laws to crack down on the few independent journalists.

Killings of journalists in the Philippines (139th) increased, along with censorship, mainly by local officials. The watchdog said that President Gloria Arroyo showed intolerance towards the media, especially foreign, for exposing corruption. On Mindanao island, security forces were frequently involved in the murder or obstruction of journalists, it added.

North Korea, which remained dead last on list, along with Eritrea and Turkmenistan, were described as the world's "black holes" for news where the privately owned media is not allowed any freedom of expression, and quite simply does not exist. "Journalists there simply relay government propaganda," it said.

Some Western democracies slipped down the index as well. The United States (44th) fell more than 20 places, mainly because of the imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller and legal moves undermining the privacy of journalistic sources. Canada (21st) also dropped several places due to decisions that weakened the privacy of sources and sometimes turned journalists into "court auxiliaries." France (30th) also slipped, largely because of searches of media offices, interrogations of journalists and introduction of new press offenses.

At the top of the Index once again are northern European countries Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Netherlands, where robust press freedom is firmly established.

Posted in Media @ 24 October 2005 10:17 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink

User icon of Yogya-Bali
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Well well, probably within a century we will have real press freedom here. Untill now the press is still under control of the army, police and their supporters with money.

User icon of sidia
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Alon alon asal kelakon.
(= step by step)

User icon of Agung
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With a total of 167 countries surveyed this means that Indonesia is a little bit below the average, but not too much and improving.

Still, there's a long way to go...

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On last 17 August 2005, I was in my birthplace, Surabaya, and got a big bundle of KOMPAS special 17 August edition in my room. Hmm, not really interesting I thought, remember some years ago newspapers with special editions only reviewing all success booked by Soeharto. But when I catch one line, I keep on reading, and keep on reading the whole articles in that paper !! It was really interesting, this KOMPAS has reviewed with unbelievably profesionalism in writings, reviewing on how is the fact on Indonesia's growth in 60 years, I was so proud to see it. At least, now I am reading something with value. The fact, the statistic figures are so true, and also what I thought and I felt, I almost crying to read it. It is so touching, Hopefully media's/press will use this opportunity of their "liberation" to work hard to remind young people that they still have to work very very hard to find the way to improve and develop this country. 100% press freedom will be a disaster though, since the understanding of having 100% freedom is still very narrow (could be use in wrong way) and Indonesian's public is not ready with that yet (ability to translate the message into individual perspection is still very low) I would be agree on freedom with responsibility, for nation's sake.

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the topic above is discussed about the press freedom in Indonesia already take a step further. It is seen from the rank according to the index that shows Indonesia is ranked 102nd, out of 167 countries surveyed. according to above article statement, I think that Indonesia is better know in journalism. It has ben prooved that the government succeed in support the journalist to do their job. By that, it means that its prooved that indonesian's journalistic is more mature and continue to growing to be better.

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