Indonesia is hosting the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2017 in Jakarta. Under the theme “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s Role Advancing Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies”, the event is officially opened by the Vice President of Indonesia Jusuf Kalla, accompanied by the Director General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, Wednesday, May 3, 2016, at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Jakarta – Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla urged all media to utilize press freedom to promote peace among the society.

“The government of Indonesia ensures the freedom and security of the media, but the media should also be objective in its reporting,” Kalla said at the opening ceremony of World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2017 in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Wednesday.

Kalla stated that the Indonesian media has been free from any government censorship. However, he hoped for the media to practice self-censorship.

“The practice [is important] for the sake of national unity, democracy, and justice,” he said, adding that the media should gain public trust through objectivity.

The theme of the WPFD this year is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.” The 20th celebration is attended by hundreds of media workers, activists, and intellectuals.

Director General of UNESCO Irina Bokova said there have been major challenges affecting media these days, including the emergence of digital media. She highlighted the online media business which blured the line between advertising and editorial materials.

“At the same time, violence remain tragically strong,” Bokova said. “Murder is the most terrible form of censorship. Every four days, one journalist is killed. In nine out of ten cases, perpetrators go unpunished.”

Bokova stated that UNESCO is concerned to ensure the safety of journalists around the world, and end impunity.

Quoting the Oxford dictionary, Bokova mentioned the word of “post truth”. “… combined with the concept of fake news, we see the new form of propaganda, rising question that go to the heart of free and independent journalism.”

The changes in journalism are addressed in this years’ celebration. There are several sessions discussing about hoax, digital media, and information safety.

The opening ceremony was attended by several prominent figures, such as the Deputy Speaker Fachri Hamzah, Coordinating Minister of Legal and Security Affairs Wiranto, Chairman of Indonesian Press Council Joseph Adi Prasetyo, The Nobel Peace Laureate Ramos Horta, Minister of Education and Culture Muhadjir Effendy, and Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara.

Writer : Chiara Anindya (Gajah Mada University)
Video taken from official WPFD2017 youtube channel
Poster image by Muhammad Hafidz Gemilang (UMN)

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