INDONESIA: TV stations warned for graphic footage of bomb victims
Two TV stations admonished for violating broadcasting regulations and journalistic code of ethics
The Jakarta Post
Saturday, July 25, 2009
The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission is set to issue a warning to two TV stations for airing explicit pictures and videos of Jakarta's bombing victims.
"Airing the footage and images of the victims was inhumane and insensitive," commission chairman Sasa Djuarsa Sendjaja told a press conference in Jakarta on Friday.
"We will summon *the management of the stations* as soon as possible," he added without naming which TV stations the commission intended to reprimand.
The bombings that hit two of Jakarta's top hotels last week garnered intense media attention, with TV stations replaying videos of the moments before and after the bombs hit, amateur videos of bleeding victims and many other graphic images.
According to Sasa, the stations have violated regulations from the Broadcasting Program Standards, which limit the images of body parts or pools of blood that can be screened and bans the airing of the dying moments of victims or the close-up of wounds.
He said that if by the third warning the stations continued to air such graphic images, the commission would end the programs that showed them.
Press Council member Abdullah Alamudi said the showing of such pictures or videos was against the journalist code of ethics.
The journalistic code of ethics stipulates that journalists must not report news in a graphic or sadistic manner.
Abdullah also lamented that stations had aired pictures of the head of a decapitated man that was suspected to be the bomber.
"They could have opted to only show sketches, but instead they chose to air explicit images that showed blood and other inappropriate things."
The Head of the public relations division at the National Police, Insp. Gen. Nanan Sukarna, said the press had helped to disseminate information about the bombings, but criticized some of their methods.
He said it was the terrorists' wishes to use the press to publicize terror and sadism.
"And they succeeded in terrorizing people. The constant reports are what they wanted. Does the press want to be a means of spreading terror?" he added.
"There are measures the Police has taken that should not have been exposed, but they went on the news, so we can't catch the perpetrators," Nanan said, adding that he would be reprimanded if any of his members had leaked the confidential news.
However, Press Council member, Leo Batubara, argued the reporting of the bombings did not make the press a tool of the terrorists.
"This does not mean that in order to avoid being used by terrorists, the press must not deliver news. The media have to report what happens, but they must also remember that the goal of reporting is to provide insight to the public," he said.
Date Posted: 7/25/2009