Jakarta, InfoPublik - Indonesian Press Council chairman Yosep Adi Prasetyo called the mass media not to provide the oxygen for terrorism movement by excessive reports or even by violating journalistic ethics code.
Yosep explained that articles about terrorism had been written since the 2000s, especially abroad.The articles are written in the form of journals and IRA of Ireland became the most researched topic. “The reports stated that when a terror attack happened, and the media made a massive coverage on it, other terror attacks will usually follow," Yosep told the media in Forum Merdeka Barat 9. The forum was themed "Prevent and Fight Terrorist Acts" and was held at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Jakarta, Wednesday (5/16).
Yosep quoted former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher that the media provides ‘the oxygen of publicity on which terrorists depend’. "Terrorism, if we take a closer look, is related to the media. The media provides the shocking and thrilling effects. They create a gripping effect on society," he said.
He also explained that television channels are often vying to be the first to broadcast the Breaking News. They want to be the most updated media but they repeatedly broadcast the same footage for the whole day.
"That should not be called Breaking News. One of the principles in broadcasting Breaking News is the prompt broadcasting of the news, usually several minutes after an event occured. While the perpetrator had died, the media continues to announce the terror message," he said.
In his opinion, online media often quote issues circulating in social media without seeking any confirmation or clarification from relevant parties. The media are not allowed to do that anf they should not spread any unconfirmed news. Images of victims or children should also be obscured by the media.
To that end, the Press Council issued a circular on the code of ethics in the form of Guidelines on Coverage of Terrorism in 2015. One out of 13 points set in the guidelines states that journalists should not flock at the scene of a bombing incident to avoid any follow-up attacks.
He reckoned a bombing incident that happened at MH Thamrin, Jakarta in 2016. People flocked when a bomb exploded at the Police Post in front of Sarinah Building. Unfortunately, a terrorist sneaked in the crowd and two policemen was shot to death. (Translator: Erik Limantara)