Indonesian union calls for increase to minimum wage

The International Federation of Journalists joins its affiliate Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) (Alliance of Independent Journalists, Indonesia) in calling for an increase to the minimum wage for journalists in Indonesia following the outcome of a wage survey that highlighted the dangers of low wages in the media.

The IFJ and AJI have urged Indonesia’s provincial governments and media organisations to ensure journalists are receiving a decent wage as a protection for true media independence.

In 2014, AJI with the Media Workers’ Federation, Indonesia (FSPMI) conducted a wage survey in 60 media companies which found that the majority of media companies employ journalists under the Provincial Minimum Wage (UMP).

AJI said that low wages and the welfare of journalists make the profession increasingly vulnerable to the temptation of bribery which is rife in the country.

AJI and FSPMI said that that single-level reporters with one year’s  work experience and newly appointment permanent employees needed to earn a minimum of 6.5104 million rupiah (US$514) a month to meet the costs of living and needs as a journalist. This included covering costs for food, shelter, clothing and journalistic duties.

In Jakarta, the UMP for 2015 is 2.7 million rupiah (US$ 214) a month, while the minimum decent living standard (KHL) of 2.5 million rupiah (US$ 197) a month. The average wage from the survey was 3 million (US $ 237) rupiah a month.

AJI said: “This is very dangerous for press freedom because a press controlled by the interests of persons will no longer serve the public interest.”

Jane Worthington, acting director of the IFJ Asia Pacific said: “Journalists undertake the difficult job of holding the powerful to account and exposing corruption. If they are routinely underpaid and not adequately recompensed in their wages for the high risks of this job, it leaves them open to the potential of corruption. This must be fought off at every opportunity.”

“We know the myriad challenges journalists face in Indonesia. Journalism’s important role as the watchdogs of society must be valued through decent salary and conditions so journalists can undertake their jobs without being vulnerable to economic pressures to survive. ”

The IFJ join AJI in calling on the local government to ensure that the minimum wage is increased in accordance with the AJI and FSPMI recommendations. 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

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