House: Press Council Maintains Quality of the Press

The material judicial review hearing of Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press to hear the House virtually, Tuesday (3/15/2022). Photo by Humas MK.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 14:39 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The Press Council is a collection of press organizations, press companies, and journalists who have their respective standards of competency. The regulations of the Press Council are nothing but agreements that have been taken up jointly and apply because of the will of the press organizations, press companies, and journalists who are part of the Council, which is carried out to maintain the quality of the press, said House of Representatives (DPR) Commission III member Supriansa at a material judicial review hearing of Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

“Therefore, the allegation of legal uncertainty in the regulations of the Press Council is unfounded because the Press Council is an organ formed to maintain the professionalism of the press,” he said in response to the case No. 38/PUU-XIX/2021, filed by three journalists and chairpersonss of press companies and organizations—Heintje Grontson Mandagie, Hans M. Kawengian, and Soegiharto Santoso

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Before the nine constitutional justices, Supriansa explained that in an effort to develop freedom of the press, an independent press council was formed in 1999. The Press Law was designed to provide regulations regarding the Press Council—its functions, components of members, election, legitimacy of members inauguration, and sources of financing. As such, the council’s arrangements have provided legal certainty. Furthermore, he added, the council has existed for a long time and runs its organizational mechanism in accordance with existing regulations. Members of the press are also familiar with it.

“The 2019-2022 membership of the Press Council continued the previous board. With the enactment of the law, the organization and its functions have run in accordance with the existing norms and followed the mandate of the Press Law until today,” Supriansa said before the hearing chaired by Chief Justice Anwar Usman.

He also talked about the press congress—a procedure that the Press Council must go through for its election. Based on Article 15 paragraph (5) of the Press Law, the Council facilitates press organizations, press companies, and journalists to improve their competency.

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The Petitioners argue that the Article 15 paragraph (5) of the Press Law was ambiguous. As owners of press companies and legal entities, they feel that their right to form an independent Press Council and to vote for and be elected as Press Council members democratically had been oppressed. In addition, they believe the provision has prevented them from appointing and inaugurating Press Council members. The Petitioners organized a national press congress in 2019, in which its members were appointed. However, due to Article 15 paragraph (5) of the Press Law, the results of the congress were not responded by the president.

The Petitioners also believe Article 15 paragraph (2) letter f of the Press Law must be reviewed because it had led to press organizations losing their right to formulate regulations in press. The Press Council interprets the a quo article that they have the authority to draft and stipulate regulations in press. Therefore, Article 15 paragraph (2) letter f of the Press Law contradicts Article 28, Article 28C paragraph (2), Article 28D paragraph (1), Article 28E paragraph (3), Article 28H paragraph (2), and Article 28I paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution insofar as not interpreted as “in forming regulations in the press by each press organization” as it limits the press organizations’ right to develop freedom of the press and uphold the basic values of democracy, promote the rule of law and human rights, respect diversity, exercise supervision, critique, provide corrections and recommendations on public matters, as well as fight for truth and justice.

At the end of the hearing, Chief Justice Anwar Usman informed the litigants that the hearing would resume on Thursday, March 24, 2022 at 11:00 WIB to hear three experts for the Relevant Party.

Writer        : Sri Pujianti
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Andhini S. F.
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 3/15/2022 15:28 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | 14:39 WIB 64