Envelop Journalism in Indonesia

Envelop Journalism in Indonesia

If you watch Metro TV, the Indonesia’s CNN, you’d find a moving text at the bottom of the screen saying more or less like this:

Metro TV journalists/reporters would never accept nor ask for money to the interviewee.

What does the Metro TV’s notice implicitly mean? Yes. You’re right. Some foot-soldiers reporters who are doing interview to some prominent people are asking for money to the interviewee; in some cases you can invite them to have you interviewed provided you giving them “envelop” or you can make the reporting about you become “less evil” if you give the reporters an amount of money big enough to make them smile.

The money given is usually put in an envelop, hence we call the reporters who do such practices as wartawan amplop (literally, envelop journalist).

Deputy of Indonesia Press Council Sabam Leo Batubara strongly urged government officials, politicians and businessmen to stop doing such practices (i.e. giving “envelop” to journalists) in order to make the effort to eradicate such “corrupt-journalism” possible.

The Root Causes

Just like any other corrupt practices, such as those done by government officials, at least there are two main reasons that cause such bad practices still happens even today. Corruption by need and corruption by greed.

In most cases, corruption by need is what happens in Indonesia journalism. The low salary of foot-soldiers journalists–so low that cannot even meet their daily basic need–is the main factor. A foot-soldier journalist of a big newspaper in East Java told me that he got only IDR 200 to 400 thousand (around USD 20 to 50) a month. An amount which is unlikely for anyone to live modestly, not to say if he has a family to feed.

AM of Kumpulan Catatan wrote that most big newspapers such as Grup Jawa Pos, including Rakyat Merdeka, Koran Tempo, Media Indonesia, Trans TV, or Seputar Indonesia. pay their foot-soldiers very badly. No wonder then if such “envelop journalism” still happens today.

So, the table is on the big boss in the Indonesian media: to get rid of such “envelopism” is impossible unless they raise the foot-soldiers’ salary. Only then can we move to another topic of another root cause of corruption: mindset as is happening in the case of “corruption by greed” done by many (if not all) high level government officials and DPR (MPs) members.

Envelop Journalism in Indonesia
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