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Giving the Fifth Estate its Due

Indonesian Police Prepare to Sign MOU with the Indonesia Press.

(12/19/2010) The spokesman of the public relations division of the National Police Headquarters, Inspector General Iskandar Hasan, told Bali Post that the Indonesian police will soon conclude a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the national press council stipulating procedures for handling complaints against the press by the public. "The agreement is still being coordinated and is only awaits the signature of the national chief of police, General Timur Pradopo," explained Hasan.

Hasan spoke to the press at a seminar in Jakarta on controversies surrounding the contents of the press in the era of a free press.

Until now, citizens or corporations who object to items appearing in the mass media could go directly to the police. Hasan explained that the MOU will prevent direct appeals to the police. "There is now a preliminary process requiring mediation and optimizing the right to respond. If these steps do not resolve the problem, only then can the police be asked to handle the matter," said Hasan.

Disputes between the press and members of the public will involve the Press Council as an expert witness. Insisting that a dispute resolution process does exist, Hasan said the people should be confident that conflicts with the press will be resolved.

The MOU is the end product of the work of a small team that examined efforts by the police to preserve press freedom and the proper role of the police in preserving that freedom. The MOU is intended to clarify the role of the police whenever dispute arise involving the press.