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Journalistic Activism in Danger: False News Masked by Freedom of Speech

Selasa, 24 September 2019 | 15.44.00 WIB
Ilustrasi (Foto: Independensi Media Google)
For the sake of ratings and sensation, international media seemed to compete to spread the news about West Papua without clear evidence.

In the last few weeks, international news agencies, like SBS Australia, RNZ, Al-Jazeera and Reuters, participated in reporting the riots that occurred in West Papua. With bombastic news title, such as “West Papuan Protesters Killed by Indonesia Police: Witness,” they unfortunately succeeded in attracting the attention of the global community. Sensational angles have been deliberately applied by such media to attract the public attention, and principles of evidence-based journalism is sadly kept away.

In regard to the recent unfortunate occurrences in West Papua Indonesia, specifically, these media’s news focused on the info that several protesters were killed and several residents, including children, were injured in a series of demonstrations in the West Papua region. According to them, the death of several protesters due to repressive actions carried out by the authorities while securing the location where the demonstration took place.

It appears that their fact is actually contrary to events in the field, where the authorities have provided space for West Papuans to voice their aspirations. There was no repressive action against the demonstrators until, in many cases, a group of ‘unknown’ people suddenly came up with arrows and machetes, attacking the security forces and even the demonstrators.

Back to the news matter, their news reporting standard seems to ignore any valid source and without factual evidence. In the name of freedom of speech, they produced the news without rechecking its validity. It seemed they have completely ignored the journalistic principles and broadcasted unclear news for the sake of raising the rating.

The emergence of such invalid news is certainly detrimental to communities targeted by the evil angle of the news. In the case of West Papua’s issues, it is West Papuans that are gravely affected. Journalism should allow encourage journalistic activism where reporting is never about ratings, but the good of others. To this end, such provocative information spread out by those news agencies above is strongly against journalistic activism and will cause wider conflicts and fears that shatter the peace and public order.

The security forces and local residents in West Papua asserted that nowadays there are no more excessive attitudes from the security personnel in addressing the problems in West Papua. However, it is true that in the past, Indonesian security forces have done heaps of wrongdoings, but reformative movements to resolve the mistakes are undergoing.

The situation in West Papua ​​is now conducive and residents have returned to their normal activities. West Papua is a safe place to visit. Over the years, heaps of teaching and medical practitioners have come to help the region advance.

It is disappointing that any false reporting that claims West Papua is an unsafe-and-full-of-conflict area has actually been carried out media like SBS Australia, RNZ, Al Jazeera and Reuters which have claimed to be credible international media. Regrettably, for the sake of the media rating, they sacrificed their credibility. As wise readers, we should be much more careful in absorbing information and always learn to double-checking the news we receive.

Written by: Annalia Bahar

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