Indonesia Presidential Election 2014 : When Unethical Journalism Strikes

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Prabowo Subianto (left) and Joko Widodo (right)

Presidential Election has been done today. For me, it was the first election I ever particiapated and for Indonesia, it might be the most exciting direct election Indonesia ever had ever. The level of participation and attention the people directed to this election were so big, not only when voting but also for the campaign held by both candidates, Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Radjasa and Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla.In social media, you can see how much people talk and compare both candidates, to the point where many people find it suffocating. Everyone talked about what kind of president they wanted to have, what candidate suited to be president more and their records before proposing a candidacy as president. This is a really good thing that many people who used to be aphatetic towards politic started to be interested and care about something like this.

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when journalism sides with presidential candidates source : deteksi.co

Just like anything that has got to do with politic, there are also many bad, disgusting things happen in this election. One of the most disgusting thing is how mass media like tv station ‘forgot’ the ethic of journalism by obviously siding to one side. TV One and Metro TV, two tv stations specializing on news were the most obvious cases in this one. Both stations were owned by political figure with TV One owned by Aburizal Bakrie, a leader of Golongan Karya party who is an alliance of Prabowo-Hatta, and Metro TV owned by Surya Paloh, a leader of Nasional Demokrat party. Both stations disregarded the ethic of journalism to avoid conflict of interest and uphold neutrality, throwing away the reputation they have made for years in proccess for the sake of campaigning their candidate.

What did they actually do? This is a bit of sins they’ve done in media

    1. Making an disproportional airtime to presidential candidates. The duration of news about Jokowi-Kalla in Metro TV was 37.577 seconds and Prabowo-Hatta was 14.561, meanwhile in TV One Jokowi-JK got 18.731 and 36.561 seconds. The deliberate means to support one candidate was so obvious with how one’s airtime could amount twice to another. Metro TV even broadcasted the WHOLE proccess of umrah Jokowi done from taking off in airplane to praying and going home to Indonesia, in COOLING OFF time of campaign. Metro TV, what the fuck you did not understand about COOLING OFF?? This is a violation of Indonesia Broadcasting Commission Standard of Broadcasting Program and the warning has been sent to both stations.
    2. Cornering one candidate and its affiliation in its program. The example is one stupid talk show in TV One where they had a guest, ex KSAD territory assistant Prijanto, who accuse PDIP, Jokowi’s party to be affiliated with communism but without bringing guest from accused party to defend themselves from this accusation. This violated the idea of covering both sides which is also the ethic of journalism.
    3. Bringing only beneficial datas to one candidate only. It was a really ridiculous sight to see when survey result from any body was only broadcasted when it said that your favorite candidate won. In two weeks where I got time to watch TV, I have never seen a survey saying Jokowi lost in Metro tv and Prabowo lost on TV One. Even more ridiculous is when quick count result was finally upped and TV One only showed the result of those who won Prabowo, despite the fact that 7 surveys said otherwise and only 3 see Prabowo won. This is so ridiculous that people even joked “In Tv One, Brazil won against Germany 7-1”.

It’s really shameful in the time people need information the most they steer the information instead. The tendency to side is not exclusive to both tvs, but also to most of the media. However both were the worst that KPI even threaten to revoke their license to broadcast. This made me skeptic to read or listen to the news, and honestly, that’s really frustrating. I can’t read something about Prabowo or Jokowi without questioning the motive behind the news, not only to tv one or metro tv but to any media. I want to look for informations to vote and I need a neutral source to get those, not from people with intent to influence.

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Aburizal Bakrie, Hary Tanoesudibyo and Surya Paloh, three tv owners who are active in politic scene

Now, the channels has partly reaped what they sow. VIVA group, together with MNC group, who owned TV One and RCTI have their stock fell to 3-6 % today because they insist on showing quick count result where Prabowo won, despite the fact that more credible institution has Jokowi won. In a long term, together with Metro TV, I hope their credibility won’t be acknowledged by many people due to their stunts in this year election. In the future I hope KPI (Indonesia Broadcasting Comission) can use sanction with greater deterrant effect to tv station like that. What they did was not only unethical, but also misleading people, even could trigger conflict, definitely not something we should have in our nation.

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