Freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press are fundamental human rights protected by Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution of Indonesia, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations. The presence of cyber media in Indonesia is also a part of the freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press.

Cyber media has its unique characteristics, requiring guidelines to ensure its management is conducted professionally, fulfills its functions, rights, and obligations in accordance with Law Number 40 of 1999 concerning the Press and the Journalistic Code of Ethics. For this reason, the Press Council, together with press organizations, cyber media managers, and the public, has developed the following Guidelines for Cyber Media Reporting:

  1. Scope

Cyber Media is any form of media that uses the internet platform, engages in journalistic activities, and meets the requirements of the Press Law and the Press Company Standards established by the Press Council. User-Generated Content (UGC) refers to all content created and/or published by cyber media users, including articles, images, comments, audio, video, and various types of posts attached to cyber media, such as blogs, forums, reader or viewer comments, and other forms.

  1. News Verification and Balance

In principle, every news item must undergo verification. News that can harm others requires verification on the same news to meet the principles of accuracy and balance. The provisions in point (a) above are exempted, with the following conditions:

  • The news must genuinely involve urgent public interests.
  • The first news source is clearly identified, credible, and competent.
  • The subject of the news to be confirmed is unknown or cannot be interviewed.
  • The media provides an explanation to the readers that the news still requires further verification, which will be attempted as soon as possible. The explanation is included at the end of the same news, in parentheses and italics.
  • After publishing news according to point (c), the media must continue verification efforts, and after verification is obtained, the results are stated in the updated news with a link to the unverified news.
  1. User-Generated Content (UGC)

Cyber media must include terms and conditions regarding User-Generated Content that do not contradict Law No. 40 of 1999 concerning the Press and the Journalistic Code of Ethics, placed clearly and visibly. Cyber media requires each user to register as a member and log in before publishing any form of User-Generated Content. Details about log-in will be further regulated. During the registration process, cyber media obliges users to provide written consent that the published User-Generated Content:

  • Does not contain false, defamatory, cruel, or obscene content.
  • Does not contain prejudice and hatred related to ethnicity, religion, race, and intergroup (SARA), as well as advocating violent actions.
  • Does not contain discriminatory content based on gender and language, and does not degrade the dignity of vulnerable individuals, the poor, the sick, the mentally disabled, or the physically disabled.
  • Cyber media has the absolute authority to edit or delete User-Generated Content that contradicts point (c).
  • Cyber media must provide a mechanism for reporting User-Generated Content deemed to violate the provisions in point (c). The mechanism must be easily accessible to users.
  • Cyber media must edit, remove, and take corrective action on any reported User-Generated Content that violates the provisions in point (c), as soon as possible, and at the latest within 2 x 24 hours after receiving the complaint.
  • Cyber media that has fulfilled the provisions in points (a), (b), (c), and (f) shall not be held responsible for issues arising from the publication of content that violates the provisions in point (c).
  • Cyber media is responsible for the reported User-Generated Content if they fail to take corrective action within the specified time in point (f).
  1. Corrections, Revisions, and Right of Reply

Corrections, revisions, and the right of reply are subject to the Press Law, the Journalistic Code of Ethics, and the Right of Reply Guidelines set by the Press Council. Corrections, revisions, and/or right of reply must be linked to the news item that is corrected, revised, or to which the right of reply is granted. Each news item with corrections, revisions, or a right of reply must indicate the time of publication of such corrections, revisions, or right of reply. If a news item from a particular cyber media is disseminated by other cyber media, then:

  • The responsibility of the media that created the news is limited to the news published on that cyber media or cyber media under its technical authority.
  • Corrections to the news made by one cyber media must also be made by other cyber media that quoted the news from the corrected cyber media.
  • Media that disseminates news from a cyber media and does not make corrections as done by the media that owns or created the news shall be fully responsible for all legal consequences arising from the uncorrected news.
  • In accordance with the Press Law, cyber media that does not fulfill the right of reply can be subject to criminal sanctions of a fine of up to Rp500,000,000 (Five hundred million rupiahs).
  1. Withdrawal of News

Published news cannot be withdrawn due to external censorship reasons, except for matters related to SARA issues, morality, children’s future, traumatic victim experiences, or other special considerations determined by the Press Council. Other cyber media must follow the withdrawal of quoted news from the original media that has been withdrawn. The withdrawal of news must be accompanied by the reasons for the withdrawal and announced to the public.

  1. Advertisements

Cyber media must clearly distinguish between news content and advertisements. Any news/article/content that constitutes an advertisement and/or sponsored content must include the label “advertorial,” “advertisement,” “ads,” “sponsored,” or other words that explain that the news/article/content is an advertisement.

  1. Copyright

Cyber media must respect copyright as regulated by the applicable laws and regulations.

  1. Inclusion of Guidelines

Cyber media must include these Guidelines for Cyber Media Reporting clearly and visibly in their medium.

  1. Disputes

The final judgment on disputes regarding the implementation of these Guidelines for Cyber Media Reporting shall be resolved by the Press Council.

Jakarta, February 3, 2012 (These guidelines were signed by the Press Council and the press community in Jakarta on February 3, 2012)

Source: Press Council