Peaceful Journalism in the Digital Age



By Eddy Suprapto
Member of AJA

JAKARTA: The 21st century is often referred to as the digital age. In this century, the governance of communication and communication production has changed.

Without realizing it, the internet has changed the way the media industry looks and looks. The presence of the convergence media has broken down the barriers of print journalism, television and radio. Converged media offers a multiplatform journalism, blending text, images, sound and audiovisual.

Internet has brought progress in various aspects of human life, politics, economy and social life.

In political life, the internet has become a significant means of communication and political mobilization. In fact, in some areas, state leaders control power and take public policies via twitter.

The 21st century has even shifted the role of journalists in reporting. Thanks to digital technology, the general public is able to produce content, news and broadcast via free channels, namely Youtube.

The advancement of digital technology has made everyone a journalist and everyone can produce content. The presence of robotic technology on the internet further weakens the position of journalists. The role of journalists in producing is fenced off with signs for the journalist’s code of ethics, which is destroyed by digital content produced by the general public.

Because of the importance of the internet for human life, there is a tendency in the world to recognize internet access as a human right. A survey conducted by the BBC and Workscan on March 7, 2010 showed that the majority of earth’s inhabitants want access to the internet as a basic human right.

In a global survey involving 27,000 people from 26 countries, 79% of respondents wanted internet access to be recognized as a human right. This desire seems reasonable, considering that the internet has become a daily part of the lives of the earth’s inhabitants. Still according to the same survey, the internet is the main source of information for humans (47% of respondents), a means of social relations (32%), a source of entertainment (12%) and suggestions for buying goods and services (5%).

So powerful is the internet for human life that people want freedom in cyberspace. According to 78% of respondents, cyberspace is a place where they can feel free. Meanwhile, 90% of the respondents said that the internet is their place of learning and 51% said that the internet is the most comfortable place for social interaction through means such as Facebook or Myspace.

Regarding freedom of expression, the views of the people are divided. As many as 48% of respondents said that the internet is a safe place to express opinions, while 49% thought otherwise. Whatever their opinion of the internet, people want democracy on the internet. As many as 53% of respondents wanted no internet regulation. This shows, self-regulation is an option for the world’s internet citizens.

However, the tendency of people who want democracy on the internet often clashes with the political interests of authoritarian governments.

Democracy VS Fake News

In several countries the desire for democracy on the internet has been asked by one of the country’s leaders because their twitter has received a response from censorship and filters after checking the facts by the owner of the content provider.

The internet has created a number of major changes in the world and is expected to increasingly determine the future of human civilization. The new media has changed our political, economic and social face. The dispute over democratic freedom in the new media is hotly debated. Some world leaders want absolute freedom without filters and without a fact check option.

Meanwhile, hoaxes are the daily consumption of world citizens. The digital era prioritizes the speed and response of a person in carrying out counter attacks in every problem. Because speed is prioritized, sometimes the fallacy of a story is left behind. We have seen recently how provocative issues, fake news (hoaxes), and various other negative content spread, are consumed by the public, so that they often create conflicts that become widespread in society.

Many provocative media have emerged with the mission of only spreading sensations with bombastic titles simply to attract the attention of readers and gain profits and benefits.

When an issue is reported unequally, it provokes the community to judge certain individuals, groups or parties. As a result, society is dragged into a flow of unhealthy perspectives, into hot dark puddles, full of prejudice and hatred for others, which often leads to conflicts, even violence and division.

Seeing this problem, the peaceful journalism approach is very relevant and should be practiced by every media journalist. Jake Lynch (2008) explains that peace journalism is a situation when editors and reporters make choices about what to report and how to report it, which creates opportunities for the wider community to consider and assess non-violent responses to conflict.

The journalism approach formulated by Johan Galtung, Rune Ottosen, Wilhem Kempt, and Maggie O’Kane aims to avoid or prevent violence in society.

This approach has the principle of framing the report of an incident to be broader, more balanced, and more accurate by being based on information about conflicts and changes that occur by directing the delivery of information that has an impact on peace.

The implementation of peaceful journalism is based on the determination and commitment of the press, from editors to journalists, to choose a way to resolve problems peacefully.

But there will be a big problem when fake news full of conspiracies produced by heads of state or political leaders to overthrow political opponents is produced and disseminated through new media amid hopes that there will be no censorship.

When what wins becomes the basis of strength, then the democracy that the world’s citizens want in the new media will not be achieved. The new media is moving to make a revolution. Technology does bring blessings to the 21st century generation, but in the midst of the changing new media revolution, the key remains “content”.

Content is the king, Media magnate Rupert Murdoch said. This means that no matter how powerful the technology is, if the content has no weight, the story is meaningless.

In the midst of the independence of the digital era, people can speak out loud, but fake news becomes an issue for democracy in today’s digital age.

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