WACC calls for media accountability and transparency
London, May, 4th, 2017 (WACC). In a statement issued at its meeting in London, United Kingdom, WACC’s Officers called for media outlets and news editors to abide by ethical principles of balanced and fair reporting. Marking World Press Freedom Day, May 3, the WACC Officers noted that press freedom requires transparency and impartiality in both traditional and social media. In today’s world, populist leaders are trying to shape and control dominant narratives. There are also serious issues related to truth-telling and fake news that affect both traditional and citizen journalism. In some countries, news reporters are also facing detention without trial, criminal charges for simply doing their jobs, and loss of livelihoods. World Press Freedom Day celebrates fundamental principles of communication ethics. Its theme for 2017 is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just, and inclusive societies”. In response, WACC is currently developing a series of projects called “Voices for Peace” aimed at bringing greater understanding to situations of conflict. The aim is to work with young people in different communities around the world to develop digital platforms and to use techniques of peace journalism. In addition, through its advocacy work, WACC promotes independent and diverse media that can truthfully represent current political and social debates. “Only a free press can contribute to ensuring that people have the knowledge they need to make informed decisions. This is as crucial in times of peace as it is in situations of conflict,” said Revd Dr Samuel W. Meshack, WACC President. On World Press Freedom Day, WACC urges media outlets and editors to abide by ethical principles of balanced and fair news reporting in the spirit of “Critical Minds for Critical Times”. WACC’s Officers comprise Revd Dr Samuel W. Meshack, President; Dr Jose Luis Aguirre, Vice-President; Dr Stephen Brown, Treasurer; Ms Stella Etemesi, Secretary; and Revd Dr Karin Achtelstetter, General Secretary.
Attacks on journalists 'increasing in Indonesia'
Jakarta, May, 4th, 2017 (UCAN). Indonesia should adopt measures to ensure state security forces who physically attack journalists are suspended and appropriately prosecuted, Human Rights Watch has said. Research shows a disturbing increase in assaults on journalists in the past two years, the rights group said. Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which chose Jakarta as global host for its annual World Press Freedom Day commemoration on May 3, should use the occasion to publicly address the increase in assaults on journalists and urge President Joko Widodo to take more decisive action in response, it said. "World Press Freedom Day should be a time to celebrate the role journalists play in society, but in Indonesia the focus too often is on reporters' fears," said Phelim Kine deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. "The Indonesian government should reverse the dangerous deterioration of press freedom in the country and prosecute security force personnel who assault journalists." The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), a nongovernmental union, reported that there were 78 incidents in 2016 of violent attacks on journalists, including by security forces, compared with 42 in 2015, and 40 in 2014. AJI found that the attackers have been brought to justice in only a very few of those 78 incidents. Indonesia's 1999 Press Law provides explicit protection for journalists, including up to two years in prison and fines of 500 million rupiah (US$44,000) for anyone who physically attacks a journalist. The abuses included destruction of journalists' equipment, harassment, intimidation, threats, and assault. These abuses have occurred in all of Indonesia's major islands, typically in provincial capitals and smaller cities. They are less common in Jakarta, where journalists are more aware of their rights and are supported by stronger professional organizations.