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Journalists in Papua allegedly serving TNI interests

Concern about journalists alleged to be serving TNI interests

Bintang Papua, 17 July, 2012

Eleven journalists working in Papua are alleged to be passing on information to TNI, the Indonesian army. In response to this report, the Jayapura branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, AJI, said:

'AJI is very concerned that a number of Papuan journalists may be agents of the military. If this is true, it would significantly damage the reputation of journalists who are neutral and who consistently serve the interests of the general public,' said Viktor Mambor, chairman of AJI-Jayapura.

He said that journalists should carry out their activities in the interest of the general public, in conformity with Press Law/1999 and should not be acting for certain groups or institutions. According to the Press Ethics Code, they must at all times be objective, accountable and transparent.'

The fact that eleven journalists may be assisting the TNI is having a detrimental impact on those journalists who work in conformity with the ethical code because people may very well suspect these other journalists of working in the interests of certain interests or institutions. 'This is serious precedent and the public could very well regard all journalists as failing to be neutral and transparent. This is very serious indeed,' he said.

He went on to say that AJI has carefully investigated the claims that some journalists are serving the interests of the military. 'We will investigate these claims while at the same time warning all journalists to work clearly within the terms set by UU/1999.'

Earlier, the website Umaginews.com reported that a number of journalists in Papua are suspected of being military agents. They include journalists in the print media, the radio, online, as well as in local and national TV. As a result, many journalists were worried, fearing that they could be suspected of not being neutral or independent.

ENDS

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