The late and great Jim Morrison once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind”. And that’s not what it seems, but that’s what’s exactly happening (sadly) in many parts of the world.
Media as we know are crucial in our daily life ever since their existence. What used to be the means for spreading information, now media come with a twist: the hidden messages and intentions of telling and selling the information.
Many countries still have serious problems of enforcing press freedom, whether you recognize it or not, which could damage society. One of the examples of that phenomenon is occurring in Indonesia, a country ranked 124th in 2017 on Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index.
Having been experienced its freedom since the beginning of reform era in 1999, Indonesian press is still suffering from some serious problems, from the lack of information access for journalists working in remote areas (like Papua and other parts of Eastern Indonesia) to the biased reports of media due to their proprietors’ political interests or economic agendas. Indonesian media is often accused of being responsible of inciting sectarian rifts among the society. Moreover, the media seem to be so ‘powerless’ to fight against the growing violent extremism and hate speeches.
It’s realy an irony. Back then, during the early age of the country, the Indonesian media posed as an active agent in nurturing the nation building efforts, echoing the call from our charismatic founding fathers Soekarno-Hatta on the importance of ‘unity in diversity’.
As the social networks are experiencing robust existence in the country, public tend to use them as important means of transferring, sharing, and exchanging information. In fact for several occasions, we may see public are even more active and braver than mainstream media to instigate campaigns or movements on many social issues.
Netizens’ tweets, posts, as well as memes via social networks were proven effective to make changes. In contrary, the media that are supposed to be “the agent of change” just become passive witness of the existence of those emerging citizen journalists on the Internet.
Although the citizen journalists’ roles have been generally positive, but one should realize that they are not operating under strict journalism code of ethic and procedures. Some problems may potentially occur.
With Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, hosting the 2017 World Press Freedom Day, we hope that this event would make an impact to Indonesian media practitioners as well the general public. Furthermore, we are also confident that this event will be the wake up call to every Indonesian journalist and the rest of the world that the high quality of journalism for inspiring changes to the society is worth to be fought for; and that the freedom of expression as well as the transparency and access to public information are guarantees of the freedom of press.
In this special occasion of the World Press Freedom Day held in Jakarta, we, the next generation of journalists of the youth newsroom, want to mark our existence with quality journalism pieces. Our works reflect the spirit and voice of the millennial generations who are characterised with their dynamic, technological savvy, as well as idealistic attitudes and perspectives. Here we are…the Voice of Millennials.