Thu, 11 May 2000

Why not apply the law?

If a newspaper makes an error in its reporting relative to people or agencies, the injured party should sue the newspaper or use the right to respond to the allegations.

Any reaction from the injured party should be published on the same page of the newspaper as the report in question. The media is sometimes unfair in placing corrections and comments on a different page, at times going so far as to place them on the back page.

The dissatisfaction of an injured official should not make his subordinates emotional. A recent example is the occupation of the Jawa Pos office by members of Banser (the civilian guards of Nahdlatul Ulama) wearing combat uniforms. It is hereby also suggested that youth organizations affiliated with political parties and other mass organizations not use uniforms and insignia resembling those of the military. Acting like the military does not seem to fit the current circumstances.

The occupation of the Jawa Pos office is unacceptable and very regrettable. Is it sufficient for the Banser leaders to apologize without taking steps against members involved in the action? Likewise, the Jawa Pos should not just apologize if one of its reporters made a mistake. Firm action should also be taken.

In making reports we should have a standard procedure for check and rechecking facts. We should have authentic data that can be justified both legally and based on fact. This will support media reports.

For a better future we should practice democracy correctly in all fields. This does not mean that we can just act with complete freedom. One should not take justice into one's own hand, coerce and make threats, individually or in large groups of people.

Members of the press and those who are prejudiced by press reports should practice the right to reply and to reject in accordance with the law.


Karawang, West Java