Accountability systems

Media accountability in Indonesia is run both internally and externally. Internal accountability is theoretically done by the media by establishing an ombudsman institution, which serves as a link between the audience and the media. Audiences who are dissatisfied with the media, may report media intent to the ombudsman, and the ombudsman will examine alleged ethical violations including a punishment recommendation to journalists. From the side of internal accountability, only Kompas newspaper implemented ombudsman institutions. There has been no awareness among other media to do so.  

The preferred media accountability system that is widely selected by the media is an external one provided by the Press Council. According to the Press Law (UU 40/1999) disputes between audiences and media are mediated by the Press Council. Audiences who feel disadvantaged by media coverage, do not report the case to the police but report to the Press Council, which will examine the case. The Press Council will then recommend the settlement of the case, for example by granting the right of reply, re-announcement, and so on.  

In the period 2010-2015, the total number of complaints to the Press Council amounted to 2,888 cases. This means in an average year there are 300-400 complaints (Amri & Manan, 2017). The settlement of cases through the Press Council avoids the occurrence of media criminalisation, in which media or journalists are incarcerated for writing. Generally cases of public and media disputes can be resolved well by the Press Council.