Acehnese journalists call for decant wage, end to ‘envelope culture’

Tempo Interactive – May 1, 2009
Workers commemorate May Day in Banda Aceh (Star Berita)
Workers commemorate May Day in Banda Aceh (Star Berita)

Adi Warsidi, Banda Aceh – Journalists in the Aceh provincial capital of Banda Aceh also took to the streets to commemorate International Labour Day on Friday May 1.

During the action that was centred on the Banda Aceh Great Mosque and the Simpang Lima roundabout, the journalists called on media companies to provide a decent wage to their employees in carrying out their duties.

“So that the envelope culture [bribes paid to journalists to print favourable reports] can be avoided by most journalists,” said Banda Aceh Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) chairperson Mukhtaruddin Yakob in a speech.

The journalists also brought banners reading “Provide a decent wage: Journalists are also workers” and scores of posters with messages calling on workers to join trade unions and for journalists to resist accepting envelopes.

The journalists holding the action came from a number of different trade unions including AJI Banda Aceh, Movie Maker, the Aceh Association of Journalists (PWA Aceh), the Aceh Association of Indonesian Television Journalists (IJTI Aceh), the Aceh Photographic Journalists (PFA) and the Aceh Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI Aceh).

Coinciding with the journalists’ demonstration, the Aceh branch of the Indonesian Workers Trade Union (SPBI) Aceh also held an action at the Aceh Regional House of Representatives (DPRA) building. “We are demanding that the regional government pay proper attention to workers rights,” said SPBI Aceh chairperson Samsul.

[Translated by James Balowski.]