PADANG (WEST SUMATRA): How does Indonesian President Joko Widodo 'handle' journalists who appear to be more liberal and outspoken during a typical press conference? Simple.
He takes on the role of a journalist and lets the journalist become 'president' for that moment! Speaking at the launch of the Indonesian National Press Day (HPN 2018) today, Jokowi, as he is fondly referred to, as usual, invited guests at the event to interact with him on stage.
This time, however, he gave an opportunity to the editor-in-chief of DOR magazine and newspaper, Yousri Nur Raja Agam to become the 'president' while Jokowi decided to fill in the shoes of a journalist. "As a journalist, I would like to ask ... what is the most annoying about the media?," asked the Indonesian President, which sent the guests into a frenzy of applause while waiting for an answer from the 'president'.
Yousri was smart in his reply: "The most annoying media is a 'free' media". "Why?," asked Jokowi.
Yousri explained that the media should not be too free, because freedom in whatever context, must have certain limits.
Jokowi, who liked the answer, gave a bicycle to Yousri as a present. It has been the norm for the Indonesian president to give away bicycles to guests who correctly answered his questions at public events.
Earlier in his opening remarks, Jokowi expressed appreciation to Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak and the delegation of Malaysian journalists for attending the HPN 2018.
The HPN, which is deemed the second largest celebration in Indonesia after the Aidilfitri celebration, was attended by Indonesian cabinet ministers, provincial governors, ambassadors, corporate figures and over 6,000 media practitioners from throughout Indonesia, and indirect involvement of local people.
Also present were Malaysian Ambassador to Indonesia, Datuk Seri Zahrain Mohamed Hashim and the delegation from Malaysia-Indonesia Journalists Friendship Alliance (Iswami), led by Bernama General Manager Datuk Zulkefli Salleh.
The media industry in Indonesia had its beginnings in 1937, with the setting up of ANTARA news agency on Dec 13, 1937, and the media in the former Dutch colony continued to grow and multiply to channel the aspirations of the people into the struggle for independence.
In appreciation of the media, Feb 9 was announced as 'Hari Pers Nasional' or National Press Day in 1985 by the then-Indonesian president, Soeharto.
Today, there are more than 47,000 media organisations in Indonesia, which is regarded as the country with the most number of media establishments in the world. - Bernama © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd