Indonesia a staunch supporter of press freedom

SURABAYA (Bernama) – Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who is expected to defend his seat in the Presidential Election in April, had given his word to uphold press freedom in the country.

“The government guarantees the independence of the press and the freedom of expression that is driven by moral responsibility and ethical privilege,” he said in his speech during the National Press Day (HPN) 2019 yesterday.

The HPN 2019 celebration also saw the presence of the Editor-in-Chief of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama) Datuk Zakaria Abdul

Wahab and Malaysia-Indonesia Journalist Friendship Alliance (Iswami) of Malaysia headed by its President Datuk Zulkefli Salleh.

Zulkefli said that Iswami Malaysia is keeping up with the tradition of participating in HPN – a gesture that is also regarded as a tribute for the Malaysian press.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo. – BERNAMA

“Iswami Malaysia, via cooperation, supports Iswami Indonesia headed by Asro Kamal Rokan as well as other Indonesian media associations and councils,” he said.

HPN 2019 was jointly organised by media practitioners in Indonesia comprising the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI), Indonesian Press Council, Newspaper Publishers’ Association (SPS), Association of Indonesian Private Televisions (ATVSI), Association of Indonesian Local Televisions (ATVLI), The Indonesian National Private Radio Association (PRSSNI) and Indonesian Advertising Companies Association (PPPI).

Asro said HPN is considered as the second largest celebration in Indonesia after Aidilfitri due to the commitment given by the government, media practitioners, corporate and academic figures, and foreign diplomats in Indonesia, as well as the support from private sector and members of the public.

Indonesia’s media development started in 1937 with the establishment of ANTARA news agency on December 13 in the same year. A Dutch-occupied nation at the time, the media evolved into an avenue to channel the aspirations of the citizens in the struggle for the country’s independence.

The date of February 9 in 1985 was announced as National Press Day by Indonesia’s President at that time, Soeharto.