Mavericks Join Sharing Session on Indonesia & Malaysia Organized by AJI & Yayasan PantauThis entry was posted in English, Media, Video Highlight and tagged ahmad adam, aji, aliansi jurnalis independen, bahasa indonesia, basilius triharyanto, indonesia, kelantan, klaten, malay, malaysia, manohara odelia pinot, melayu, tki, universiti kebangsaan malaysia, yayasan pantau. Bookmark the permalink.
The ever-increasing publications on the conflict between Indonesia and Malaysia in the past few months has encouraged the Alliance of Independent Journalist (AJI), Jakarta chapter to invite fellow journalists for a panel discussion. Hosted by Basilius Triharyanto from Yayasan Pantau and took place on Thursday evening, July 2nd, 2009, the event was highlighted with the presence of the key speaker, a distinguished gentleman with 35 years of experience in studying Indonesian and Malaysian media, Prof. Ahmat Adam from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.
The discussion went in a very relaxed and informal manner, and all attendees were free to asked questions or just exchange thoughts about some of the issues that emerged involving both nations. There was a discussion on Manohara Odelia Pinot (a name so familiar nowadays, at one point there were more news about her than the upcoming general election!), the Ambalat Strait, and the current news on Indonesian migrant workers (TKI) suffering from abuses in Malaysia.
We also discussed topics such as freedom of speech and journalistic practices in Malaysia. Since journalists there are strictly censored and banned from publishing sensitive issues, the number of online publications dwarfed the number of conventional media outlets (newspapers, magazines). This is because online publications enjoy more freedom in expressing opinions, because their servers are mostly located outside of Malaysian borders (in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Australia), and therefore are considerably free from government intervention.
On the contrary, the press in Indonesia enjoyed more freedom, as a result of a more democratic atmosphere.
At some point, the discussion also covered lighter subjects, such Malaysians claims over a number of Indonesian songs. Further investigation revealed that the Malaysians involved were actually Indonesians, whose ancestors migrated to Malaysia the early years when both nations were still categorized by some people with the name ‘Malay’ (Melayu).
Another interesting point raised in the discussion was on language barrier. Although Indonesia and Malaysia share similar vocabularies, it turned out that some of the words in Bahasa Indonesia generate different meanings in Malaysian, to the point that some of them were considered rude. And vice versa. This barrier has generated misleading publications and interpretations from both nations.
Moreover, we found out in the discussion that there are some cultural similarities between Indonesia and some Malaysian states. Some local dishes in these states tasted like the ones in Java, and some of the names there were actually derived from Indonesian lingo. Rumor has it that the name of the state of Kelantan actually came from Klaten, a city in Central Java.
It was a very informative and interesting discussion. Our journalist friends also gained some insights in regards to their profession, as it was agreed during the discussion that Indonesian press should practice a more objective coverage in issues involving both nations, and should focus more on facts, while trying to keep away from judgmental stance. By doing this, Indonesian journalists will increase the credibility of its media organizations and the quality of the press in general.