Freest press in Southeast Asia?

October 23, 2007

rsf.jpegRSF’s 2007 press freedom index (rankings for Southeast Asia):

Cambodia tops the list (ranked 85 in the world), followed by Timor-Leste (94), Indonesia (100), Malaysia (124), Philippines (128), Thailand (135), Singapore (141), Laos (161), Vietnam (162), Burma (164). Find out why.

Brunei is not ranked due to lack of data.


‘Playboy Indonesia’ editor acquitted

April 5, 2007

playboy_id_1.jpegPlayboy Indonesia editor-in-chief Erwin Arnada has been cleared of distributing indecent pictures and profiting from them. Chief Judge Erfan Basyuning ruled that pictures of scantily dressed women, under criminal laws, was not pornography. 

Erwin had faced nearly three years in prison in a case closely watched by conservative Muslims in the country, who had tried to disrupt the trial and intimidate those involved, according to SEAPA founding member, The Alliance of Indenpendent Journalists (AJI). Islamic hardliners vandalised Playboy’s offices in south Jakarta after the magazine was launched. Playboy Indonesia now operates from the Hindu island of Bali. More here.

SEAPA: Death of two videopersons covering probe on Indonesian ferry fire, a bitter reminder on journalists’ safety

March 1, 2007

alerts-button.jpgThe Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) is saddened over the deaths of broadcast journalists Suherman, 31, and Muhammad Guntur, 36, who were killed on 25 February 2007, in Jakarta, Indonesia, while covering an investigation into a ferry fire that cost some 50 lives.

Both were camerapersons for private broadcasters – Suherman was with SCTV; and Muhammad Guntur, Lativi. According to the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the two were among 18 journalists accompanying experts from the National Committee for Transport Safety and Forensic Laboratory Center on board the wrecked ferry when it listed and sank without warning. According to reports, all the journalists were not wearing life vests. Read the rest of this entry »

Police investigate newspaper for defaming and maltreating broadcast journalist

February 22, 2007

alerts-button.jpgThe Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia has written to the Kupang municipality police in East Nusa Tenggara province to express concern over an investigation into the “Harian Kursor” newspaper for alleged defamation and maltreatment of a broadcast correspondent.

“Harian Kursor” was alleged to have breached articles 311 and 355 of the Criminal Code in its report on the arrest of Harry Harzufri, the Kupang-based correspondent of private broadcaster Radio Citra Televisi Indonesia (RCTI), for suspected drug abuse. Harzufri was later released upon evidence to the contrary.

Read the rest of this entry »

AJI calls on Indonesian government to protect journalists and press freedom

January 4, 2007

alerts-button-1.jpgFollowing a year of intensifying threats and violence against journalists, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Indonesia is calling on the government to guarantee the safety of journalists and ensure a conducive environment for press freedom.

In a 3 January 2007 press release, AJI pointed out that Indonesia has yet to achieve “the essence of press and information freedom” that is stipulated in Article 28 of the country’s amended 1945 Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »

SEAPA welcomes annulment of ‘lèse majesté’ articles in Indonesia, urges for draft Criminal Code to reject curbs on free expression

December 14, 2006

alerts-button-1.jpgThe Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) welcomes the Indonesian Constitutional Court’s landmark ruling on 6 December 2006, which declared as unconstitutional the “lèse majesté” articles that criminalise insulting the president and vice-president.

Under the now annulled articles 134, 136, and 137 of the Criminal Code, anyone who disseminated, demonstrated openly or put up a writing or portrait containing an insult against the president or vice-president was liable to be imprisoned for up to six years. A legacy of the Dutch colonialists, these articles had been abused by the Suharto regime, silencing political opponents, critics, students and human rights activists.

We applaud the Court’s wisdom in recognising that such laws “hamper the freedom for conveying thoughts, orally or written, and the right to express (oneself),” as announced by the Constitutional Court Chair Jimly Asshiddiqie. Read the rest of this entry »

“Kompas Daily” fires journalist-cum-union-leader for refusing reassignment; AJI calls it a move to undermine union

December 12, 2006

alerts-button-1.jpgThe Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) protests the dismissal of senior journalist Bambang Wisudo from “Kompas Daily” on 8 December 2006 and the intimidating manner in which it was done.

Bambang, who is also secretary of the Kompas Trade Union, has worked for the Jakarta-based newspaper for 15 years.

He was purportedly dismissed for refusing to be reassigned to Ambon, in the Maluku Province, 2,300km east of Jakarta.

However, AJI said that Wisudo’s reassignment was prompted by his efforts to improve the union’s reportage standards and address policies instituted by the newspaper’s management seen to be disruptive to workforce productivity and the readers. Read the rest of this entry »