In Indonesia by


At Medan

The Asia Foundation

Journalists and media have a pivotal role to maintain harmony among societies. That is one of the commitments of SEJUK media visiting (in-house workshop) in the office of Tribun Medan (10/2/2016). This visiting was a part of a campaign on interfaith harmony week as a collaboration event between The Asia Foundation, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and Journalists Association for Diversity (SEJUK). Veryanto Sitohang, an activist of the Alliance of North Sumatra United (Aliansi Sumut Bersatu/ASB), said: ‘It is not enough for media to just reporting conflict among or intra-religious members, they also should move forward to promote and support harmony, particularly, in North Sumatra.’ Furthermore, based on their monitoring program on freedom of religion and belief in North Sumatra, Very added that his organization, ASB, found a lot of violation and conflict of religion and belief. However, media attention on those cases was in a minimal level. They hope that in the future, media can pay more concerns on it by bringing the peace journalism principle of their news products. In line with that, Agoez Perdana, the chairman of AJI Medan, highlighted that the problem of journalism in North Sumatra is their lack capability to promote harmony due to their concern on reporting the event, instead of conflict. ‘We to build a common platform and cooperation 16 between media and other civil society groups such as ASB who involve in grass root movement to support peace journalism practices,’ he said. Meanwhile, Eti Wahyuni, an editor of Tribun Medan, analyzed the role of sensationalism in media stimulated unbalanced reports on social conflicts. Media, she added, have a chance to be a mediator for mitigating social tensions. “Controlling from all of the layers in media, from journalist to editor, should prioritize sensitive issues particularly related to diversity,’ she added. Moreover, she also suggested that AJI Medan takes a role as a learning center to rise their member’s capacity on diversity and peace journalism A speaker from SEJUK, Andy Budiman, highlighted the key principle of journalism to be the main guide for journalists, especially when they work on diversity issues. Journalists, he said, should use the universal principles of Constitution or human rights, instead of religious belief. The co-founder of KBR 68-H and former journalist of Deutsche Welle also reminded about how resource person selection has an important role in shaping report whether to create harmony or tension. “Journalists have a main role as public enlighten actors to manage diversity. Therefore, do not ever give a chance for haters to broadcast their propaganda message,’ he said.

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