Discussion between AMAN and Kompas.com in Dewan Pers

Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) and Kompas.com discussed about two articles in Kompas.com deemed insulting Indigenous Peoples, Thursday (22/8). This discussion was mediated by Indonesian Press Council (Dewan Pers) and held at the council’s office, Jakarta.

The first discussed article is titled Suku Polahi di Gorontalo ini, Setengah Manusia Setengah Hewan (This Polahi Tribe in Gorontalo, Half Human Half Animal, published on 6 May 2013. In the same day, the title was changed into “Polahi People, Marginalized in Baliyohuta Forest.”

Another article complained by AMAN is Suku Boti Harus Dipertahankan (Boti People Should be Maintained), published on 22 January 2013.

Regarding AMAN’s complain, Dewan Pers requested clarification from AMAN and Kompas.com. Based on the examination and clarification, Dewan Pers perceives Kompas.com’s articles have used the words “half animal” (later changed) and “primitive, stupid” against certain indigenous communities.

Dewan Pers sees these as a violation of Article 8 of Indonesian Journalistic Code of Ethics (KEJ) establishing that “Indonesian journalists do not write or broadcast news based on prejudice or discrimination against a person on the basis of differences in ethnicity, race, color, religion, sex, and language and not demean the weak, poor, sick, and people with disability.”

Tri Wahono, the Managing Director of Kompas.com, delivered apology to AMAN, represented by Mina Susana Setra, the Deputi II of AMAN’s National Chapter. “After receiving the letter from AMAN, we felt thankful. How to report about indigenous communities indeed needs a different frame,” said Tri.

According to him, the articles were initiated to create government’s awareness toward the communities. Tri admitted the negligence in delivering the story.

Dewan Pers recommends Kompas.com to proportionally publish AMAN’s reply accompanied by apology to Polahi people, Boti people, and readers. In accordance with Item 4 of Indonesian Cyber Media News Coverage Guidelines, AMAN’s right to reply and Kompas.com’s apology should be referred to the news which the right to reply are intended to.

On 19 July 2013, Dewan Pers also mediated AMAN and Tribun-Timur regarding the same article on Polahi people. The discussion was attended by Domu D. Ambarita, the Editing Manager of Tribun-Timur, and Mina Susana Setra of AMAN. The discussion agreed that Tribun-Timur is mandatary to publish apology (in the form of feature news). While AMAN, as the complainer, is mandatory to exercise its right to reply, which will be publish in Tribun-Timur.

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