Yosep Adi Prasetyo (chair)
Ahmad Djauhar (vice chair)
Indonesian Press Council
Press Council Building 7th-8th Floor,
Jalan Kebon Sirih No. 32-34,
Jakarta 10110 – Indonesia
Phone : +62-21-3504874, 3504875, 3504877, 3521488
Fax : +62-21-3452030, 3521488
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Web (Indonesian site): http://dewanpers.or.id
The Press Council was first established in 1968 based on Law No. 11 Year 1966 on the Press Principal Provisions signed by President Soekarno on December 12, 1966. At that time the Press Council, according to Article 6 paragraph (1) Law No.11/1966, functioned to assist the government to nurture the growth and development of the national press together. Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Press Council lead by Minister of Information (Article 7 paragraph (1)).
The New Order Government by the Act No. 21 Year 1982 on the Amendment of the Law Number 11 Year 1966 on the Pers Principal Provisions as amended by the Law No. 4 of 1967, signed by President Suharto on September 20 1982 --- did not change the existence of the Press Council. The position and function remained the same: more to as the adviser to the government, especially the Ministry of Information, meanwhile, Minister of Information also still as the Chairman of the Press Council.
Amendments according to the Law no. 21/1982 is the representation of the various elements in the membership of the Press Council. Article 6 paragraph (2) of Law no. 21/1982 states "Members of the Press Council consists of the press organizations, government and community representatives experts in press and other area". The previous Act explained only "members of the Press Council consists of the press organizations and the press experts ".
Fundamental change occurred in 1999, along with the change of power from the New Order to Reform Order by the Act No. 40 Year 1999 on Press enacted on September 23, 1999 and signed by President Bacharudin Jusuf Habibie, the Press Council became Independent. Article 15 paragraph (1) of the Press Law states " an independent Press Council was established in order to develop freedom of the press and improve the national press ".
The function of the independent Press Council is no longer as a government adviser but to protect of the freedom of the press. Structural relationship between the Press Council and the government was eliminated, and was highlighted by the dissolution of the Ministry of Information by President Abdurrahman Wahid in 1999. No more government representative in the membership of the Press Council as it was during the New Order. Although the members of the Press Council assigned by the Presidential Decree, no more government intervention towards the institutional or membership of the independent Press Council. The chairman and the vice chairman of the Press Council is no longer included in the Presidential Decree but was decided by all members of the Press Council in the Plenary Meeting.
According to the Article 15 paragraph (3) of the Press Law, the independent members of Press Council is elected democratically every three years, consisting of: "(a) The journalist who was chosen by the journalists' organization, (b) The head of the press company chosen by the press company organization, and (c) community leaders, press and/or communications experts and other fields selected by the journalists organization of and the press company organizations.” *
The Press Law says that "a Press Council is established in an effort to develop freedom of the press and expand the existence of national press." It stipulates the functions of the PC:
- To protect freedom of the press from outside interference
- To conduct studies to develop the existence of the press
- To enact a code of ethics and control compliance to the code
- To give consideration and find solutions to complaints lodged by public towards cases concerning press reports
- To develop communication between press, public and government
- To help journalists and media owners in establishing media regulations and to increase journalistic professionalism
- To gather data of media companies
Members of the PC include:
- Journalists nominated by journalists associations;
- Executive members of media companies nominated by media owners associations; and
- Public figures nominated by journalists and media owners associations.
The independent PC started functioning on April 19, 2000, the date of the Presidential Decree endorsing the currently nine elected members of the Council. Its day-to-day work is conducted by the Daily Executive Committee which consists of the chair and vice chair and the director of the office of the Council.
The PC sets up a Commission for Public Complaints and the Upholding of the Press Code and a Commission of Laws and Regulations. The first is to formulate and supervise the observance of the press code and to assist in settling public complaints. Its decisions are not legally binding; they are educational by nature. They are in the nature of moral sanctions.
The Commission of Laws and Regulations has the task of proposing or facilitating legislation that provides further guarantee for press freedom and access to information. This commission also studies legislation potentially harmful to press freedom.
The PC will not handle complaints related to media reporting that is under due process of law or being tried in court or that might be used in a court trial, unless the complainant is prepared to sign a statement pledging not to use the PC's recommendation in any legal process or court trial.
In the event of a conflict between the public and the press, the normal channels either in Indonesia or in any other country are:
First: Settlement through the right of reply. This method of settlement gives opportunity to individuals or groups to present versions that differ from the printed or broadcast reports. This is the shortest, most practicable, and least expensive channel. The right of reply is guaranteed by law.
Second: Settlement through the PC. If the two sides are unable to reach agreement, they can call the PC as mediator. This requires more time, probably several weeks or months, depending on the case.
Third: Settlement through legal channel. When one or both sides are not satisfied with the decision of the PC, or one side or both do not wish to apply to the PC, they can go through the legal channel, the courts.
Another means exists for settling public disputes with the press: the public's power and capacity to apply "social punishment" by boycotting or ignoring "dishonest" press publications. In other words, members or groups of members of society can refrain from buying print media publications or watching television broadcasts that are "dishonest" or in dispute.