Mainstream Media and Indigenous Peoples: Mr. Alim’s reflection on IVA skills sharing exchange in Indonesia

Pontianak, 23 October 2013 — The very first time I stepped on Medan, Sumatra Utara province, was by invitation from the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) to share my “experience” in the Skills Sharing Exchange Visit. In that second day of that workshop (9 October 2013), I shared about how media gives power to grassroot communities, long be known as Citizen Journalist.

The participants were a small group of people consisting friends from Thailand, Nepal, Philippine, Cambodia, and Indonesia. These friends are indigenous media practitioners under the Indigenous Voices in Asia (IVA) programme.

All this time, citizen journalists can only scream silently. Their voice fades away. They are unable to voice their protest. They have been facing and experiencing incomparable problems. Their point of view should become that of mainstream media.

RuaiTV, as the indigenous media in Kalimantan Barat province, views that a social problem faced by one person is equal with one faced by thousands of people. Thus, solving each and every problem should start from one person before it becomes the problem of thousands people.

That kind of view works in any context. It is also a significant view for indigenous media practitioners from IVA’s partner countries.

It is important to share the history of RuaiTV and present the RuaiSMS, a frontline SMS program to empower grass-root communities. By mainstreaming citizen journalists, we mainstream the issues of Indigenous Peoples. From about three thousands news submitted by RuaiTV’s citizen journalists, there are more than 500 issues that have been settled by policymakers. This topic seemed to attract the workshop’s participants the most. Can this happen in their country as well?

Sharing about TV production or any mainstream media collaborating with citizen journalism became the most important thing on the capacity building session.

During the session, participants learned to identify problems, prepare training materials, look for citizen journalist candidates and make or seek media to communicate the problems. Participants explained problems or conflicts in their respective country and attempts pursued to transparently communicate those problems.

Some problems shared by participants were social discrimination, the lack of democracy, military intervention, potential socio-cultural problems. Solving those should begin from a small area, by using simple and gradual way.

The learning material is straightforward. Trainers have to be capable to differentiate “fact”, “opinion”, and “claim”. Citizen journalists should be encourage to report “facts”. So, citizen journalists need to report what they see, listen, and touch.

The next one is “to observe” as a way to select which fact is true. While the news has to be written by applying 5Ws+1H, correct grammar and inverted pyramid concepts.

The media itself can be television (running text, graphic SMS, video submitted by citizen journalists, live report by phone); radio (live report by phone, reading SMS received, talk show); printed media (the SMS printed in 5×5 cm space); social media (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter).

As for my opinion, the workshop’s participants have understood the learning material and experienced in Indigenous Peoples’ issues as seen from their presentations. So they just need to apply the system I shared.

It was great to meet those experienced friends. I thank IVA and AMAN for this marvelous step.

Written by: ALIM (RuaiSMS Manager – RuaiTV)

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