Organized by the Australian Consortium of In-Country
Question: What aspects are the young Australian journalists learning in this program and how will it help them enhance their understanding of
Answer: Australian students will get a high-profile internship at a placement rarely offered to Australian journalism students. They will learn about Indonesian language, culture and society, and the life of a journalism professional in an overseas setting. We are very keen to encourage Australian journalism students to see
We are doing this program for the benefit of the students. But of course we hope that in the future it will be of benefit to both countries to have maybe hundreds of Australians in the media who have had a strong and positive experience in
How do you see the role of media in shaping relations between
I think that for people who have personal knowledge and experiences of
For the general public, the media can shape attitudes, and these have the potential to sway governments, particularly in difficult times. I'm thinking of the emotions in
What do you think Australian journalists are lacking when reporting on
I think both governments were dishonest in making the press a scapegoat for other things that were wrong.
You are right to see a "politics of fear" at work here; irresponsible stereotyping -- which is itself a tradition in Australian media for at least 150 years. What worries me now is the decreasing role for foreign correspondents in the Australian media. If that continues it will be a serious loss.
What do you think Indonesian journalists are lacking when reporting on
I enjoy reading all Indonesian reporting on
What are the various constraints Australian correspondents have come across in the process of foreign news reporting in
During the Soeharto era, Australian journalists had to be careful about reporting on Indonesia because there was always the threat that their visas would be canceled if they concentrated on "negative" news like human rights abuses, anti-government protests and independence movements in East Timor, Aceh and West Papua. In 1986 all Australian journalists were banned from
Both countries appear to enjoy a certain degree of press freedom. Does this freedom necessarily foster close neighborly ties?
Press freedoms are not meant to foster neighborly ties. That is not what they are for. They are for the health of the societies in which they operate. Neighborly ties are built in other ways. If they are good and strong ties, they have nothing to fear from press freedom. I think that all of us have experienced press freedoms and press restrictions. Even at its worst (rumors, defamation), a free press is better.
Do you think the killing of five Australian journalists in
Yes, this issue still haunts some Australian journalists and also particularly the families of the journalists killed. Not surprisingly. Both governments would like to believe that the problem is behind them. I think that is true. The issue has remained alive for 32 years, and still has potential to disturb in the future. Both governments will try to play it down. But this is an issue with complex legal and moral aspects. It is hard to see what the best option would be. I also think of the large number of journalists killed around the world in 2007. It is always a bad idea to attack journalists.http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2008/02/11/australian-journalists-given-new-insights-indonesia.html