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The Press Plays an Important Role in Maintaining Unity Ahead of the 2024 Election


 By: Farrell Haroon Jabar )*

One important element that supports a sense of unity during general elections (Pemilu) is the press or media crew. It is this sector that will report everything related to election news.

Ganjar Pranowo, as Governor of Central Java, has asked members of the press to always provide neutral information during the political phase leading up to the 2024 Election. He also asked that the press also have a role in guarding peace from a good news point of view and not triggering divisions between supporters of candidate pairs, as was previously the case. Stop it.

          Ganjar believes that the press in Indonesia will be more mature day by day, for that because he already has quite a long experience. Certainly do not want to repeat the situation that has been, which resulted in bad relations between the nation’s children.

          Especially now that news is circulating from various  social media platforms  whose truth is still being questioned. Of course this is a challenge for the Press to improve.

          For this reason, Ganjar encourages the  mainstream  media in Indonesia to continue to improve. Ganjar hopes that the media will be able to become the foundation of the community to obtain information that is valid, educational and not small change.

          On different occasions, the Press Council has committed to ensuring that media and journalists in Indonesia continue to work professionally and have credibility in the midst of the 2024 Simultaneous Elections.

          This needs to be ensured because the media and journalists in presenting news regarding the 2024 Election must be able to show independence. Election reporting, of course, must not be contaminated by economic, political and media conglomerate interests.

          Of course, if the credibility and independence of the media can be maintained during the General Election, the public can obtain accurate and objective information about the democratic party.

          Janejdri M. Gaffar as Deputy for National Unity at the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs (Kemenkopolhukam) said the press must be the main reference for voters regarding all electoral information in the 2024 elections. Not based on personal or group sentiments.

          Thus, all members of the press in the country will be required to have awareness and ability to play a strategic and central role, such as by acting selectively in selecting competent and responsible sources and choosing constructive news titles and viewpoints.

          So far, the holding of elections is prone to causing conflict or social division because it is filled with incorrect information, aka hoaxes, which have been proven to be at risk of dividing society.

          Reflecting on the 2014 and 2019 elections, where the hoaxes that appeared actually became social defense, so the existence of hoaxes actually thickened the walls between the two camps which were already polarized. Such a situation becomes an obstacle to the administration of the state and the progress of the nation.

          Janejdri also reminded the press and media owners to always be objective voices of public interest and present news that is balanced and based on facts, not interests.

          A good democratic country must of course be supported by civilized political competition. This is where the press has an important role to always work with due regard to the journalistic code of ethics.

          The press also has a vital role in providing election-related education for the public. So it is very important to build healthy, independent reporting and not get caught up in identity politics.

          The press is also asked to avoid using diction that has the potential to divide society. Do not let the press report things in provocative language, because this can worsen social cohesion.

A Sapto Anggoro as a member of the Press council also reminded members of the press to maintain neutrality in reporting in the face of the upcoming 2024 Election.

Neutral attitude in reporting on the Election according to the journalistic code of ethics (KEJ). Article 1 of the KEJ states that Indonesian journalists are independent, produce news that is accurate, balanced and not in bad faith.

The interpretation of the word balanced means that all parties have equal opportunities. Not having bad faith means that there is no intention intentionally and solely to cause harm to other parties. Likewise, the sentence ‘reporting in a balanced way’ in article 3 of the KEJ means giving each party the space and time for reporting proportionally.

This shows that the press has a social control function, which must report on election events in a balanced manner.

As reporters, the press should also be able to filter and sort out which information should be conveyed to the public while maintaining neutrality.

So far, the objectivity of the press cannot be perfectly enforced. Moreover, many media owners are also active in the political field. So that it can be said, the more objective the news, the more credible the news is.

Press neutrality in reporting on elections is not only aimed at maintaining unity and integrity, but also shows that the press has a function as social control so that reporting on elections does not become tendentious news.

)* The author is a contributor to Nusantara Reading Room

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