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IFJ backs calls for improved professionalism among journalists

(IFJ/IFEX) - July 13, 2011 - The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins with its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in calling for better professional standards among Indonesia's press corps, in order to combat ongoing issues of corruption in the country.

Muhammad Rudi Hartono, chairman of the Surabaya chapter of AJI, told the Jakarta Globe newspaper on June 30 that the rapid growth of media outlets since the downfall of former President Suharto had given rise to problems.

"What press freedom essentially did was make it easier for people to get into the mass media business, which meant there was a lot more reporting on issues like corruption," he said at a corruption reporting workshop for journalists in Bojonegoro, East Java, on June 29.

Hartono was speaking as part of an ongoing AJI campaign against corruption, which focuses particularly on questionable practices that persist in some parts of the media. AJI is collaborating with the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) to conduct several workshops for journalists across Indonesia on investigating corruption.

The problem arises from a lack of objectiveness among many new media outlets when reporting on corruption, as a number of them have corporate or political interests in reporting on certain cases while ignoring others, Hartono said in the report.

"Some journalists in Indonesia continue to engage in questionable practices, such as accepting payments from interest groups or individuals," IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

These practices are often fuelled by low wages and inferior working conditions experienced by the majority of Indonesia's journalists and media personnel.

"Media companies must work with journalists to improve wages and conditions to alleviate the pressure and allow journalists to independently report the news without fear or favour," Park said.

The IFJ applauds the ongoing AJI campaign against corruption in Indonesia.

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