Friday, November 20, 2009

The Media & the Police

The Police has no intention to intimidate or criminalize the media.

That was the conclusion of the statement by National Police Chief PR Inspector General Nanan Soekarna on Friday. He explained that the purpose of the summoning of chief editors of two media i.e. Kompas and Seputar Indonesia was to collect more evidence in the investigation of businessman Anggodo Widjaya for alleged bribery of Vice Chiefs of the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

One day earlier, the Police summoned Chief Editors of both media to come to the National Police Headquarters to be questioned in connection with the investigation against Anggodo.

Although there were reports that the questioning has been canceled however it did took place. This was protested by around 50 reporters who gathered at the front of the Police headquarters gate and hung their ID Cards, cameras at the gate. They said that based on the Press Law No. 40 /1999 Article 10, reporters have the right to refuse to name their news sources.

For detailed media reports, please click here, here, here, here and here.

Under normal circumstances, the questioning of both media chief editors may have been a regular matter, in the sense that the Police is doing its duty to collect more evidence to support its investigation of a case.
But considering that the present case is a high profile bribery case whereby the alleged recipients (KPK Vice Chiefs) have been arrested while the alleged giver (Anggodo) remain free although the recording indicated his involvement, I felt that it would be much better if the Police carefully consider all possibilities before summoning the media. That way the Police's image as a neutral and trustworthy law enforcement agency can be maintained.
After all, the Police and the media need each other to maintain peace and order in our community.

4 comments:

colson said...

The Indonesian National Police seems to be pretty upset about the revelation of the Anggodo-tapes. In spite of an avalanche of protests and objections, it summoned and questioned two involved newspaper editors.

I guess the police action was imposing on the press, yet unnecessary and probably counterproductive.

A free and independent press is essential for a mature democratic system of check and balances. Journalists should be entitled to look into matters with a minimum of obstacles. A transparent and open society needs instruments to reveal what some, against public interest, try to keep secret. That's why especially investigative journalism is a treasure a civil society should cherish.

H. Nizam said...

Colson,

The police's move is confusing.
They arrested Bibid and Chandra for receving bribery without enough evidence, but they didn't arrest Anggodo who is supposed to give the bribe. Now they try to blame the media for transcription of recording.

I agree that the press should be independent and with minumum obstacle. However they should also make sure that their report are make appropriately according the laws & regulations.

Rob Baiton said...

Harry...

The media, in all its forms (including bloggers) reports or relays information. The laws are already in place with respect to defamation, slander, and libel for those cases where legal lines drawn in the sand are crossed.

The idea of the police doing what they are doing reeks of intimidation and a return to the style of the new order.

Sad, really sad!

By the way, I thought you were going to do more positive posts about Indonesia? :D

H. Nizam said...

Rob,

I am very glad to see you back online, I hope that I can read again interesting updates on your blog.

Re the media: In this case they reported like you said.
According to Police explanation both media were summoned in connection with their efforts to gather information they need to charge Anggodo. That is why the result of questioning is not named Berita Acara Pemeriksaan (Investigation Report) but Berita Acara Interview (Interview Report) which is not usual.

Re positive reports:
I am trying hard, but the bad news are so tempting. I need time, step by step.