Jakarta — The US investigative journalist Allan Nairn stated that the overall state of press freedom in Indonesia is poor.
The 2017 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders noted that Indonesia ranked 124 out of 180 countries. The smaller the number, the better.
He said that violence, intimidation, and self-censorship conducted by media organizations are barriers of press freedom in Indonesia.
“There is a great deal of self-censorship, especially by the management of news organizations. There are various subjects that can’t be discussed openly, like corruption, for example,” he said during an interview with the Voice of Millennials (03/05).
Nairn said the media should report the truth the way that it is. “I think [self-censorhip] is a bad practice. The media should not censor itself. It should report the facts as they find them and not be afraid to express their opinions,” he said, adding that the media should not limit [their reports] on powerful figures.
However, he underlined that press outlets should refrain from releasing statements that would harm any social groups or stir up conflicts. “[The press] should be decent and not be sensational,” he added.
According to Nairn, “…[there are] repressive laws that are still on the books. These laws would need to be revoked before you can seriously talk about press freedom in Indonesia.”
Nairn also stated that Papua had the worst case of press freedom amongst other provinces. “There is still violence and intimidation, especially in Papua.”
At the end of the interview, Nairn said that journalists in Indonesia have to be bold and keep pursuing press freedom.
“Follow the example of Munir, or Marsinah, or Jaffar Sidik Hamzah, my friend from Aceh who was also murdered,” he stated.
“It is because of their courage that the limited freedom that we have today [in Indonesia] do exist. If it wasn’t for them making that push, people wouldn’t be able to speak as openly as they can today.”
Nairn just recently has been under fire for his investigative report published in the Intercept. In his article titled “Trump’s Indonesian Allies in Bed With Isis-backed Militia Seeking to Oust Elected President,” he revealed an alleged coup attempt by current and former military generals as well as prominent religious, political, and business figures by using the mass rally against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama to topple Jokowi down.