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The National Commission on Violence against Women (or Komnas Perempuan) advocated ethical reporting on sex crimes (Credit: KomnasPerempuan.or.id)

Indonesia’s press council and National Commission on Violence against Women called for Indonesian media to follow ethics standards in reporting on sex crimes, the Jakarta Post reported.

The National Commission on Violence against Women hosted the Jan. 11 “discussion” on sex crime reporting ethics.  The commission is “an independent agency” set up in 1998 “by presidential decree,” according to its website.

The discussion, “Ethics Protection of Privacy in the Coverage of Sexual Abuse,” also included the Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia, according to the Atjeh Post.

Those ethics guidelines include granting anonymity to any victims and any minors accused, advising “sensitive” use of language in stories and in interviews, and ensuring reports don’t suggest the crime was the victim’s fault, the Jakarta Post noted.

According to the Jakarta Post, press council member Zulfiani Lubis said that sex crime reporting has triggered “an increasing number of complaints on privacy violations” — from one complaint in 2010 to eight in 2011.  As Lubis explained, complaints in 2011 included invasion of privacy and reporting that blamed the victim.

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The National Commission on Violence against Women’s deputy chairperson Masruchah noted that journalists should be careful to not identify people in sex crime stories through details included in reporting, the Jakarta Post reported.

Masruchah also called for journalists to “invite experts when they interview [sexual abuse or rape] victims because the experts know how to best interact with them,” according to the Jakarta Post.

In a Jan. 12 post on the National Commission on Violence against Women’s website, he commission called for the media to provide “public education of the importance of providing support to women victims of sexual violence.”

We have written to the National Commission on Violence against Women and the Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia or more information and will update with any response. We have also written to ANTV asking for more information from Zulfiani Lubis concerning the press council’s role.

UPDATE: 1/17/2011 9:21 AM EST: We heard back from Lubis. Read more about this issue and the Indonesian press council in a follow-up story here.

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Indonesian Discussion Highlights Ethics in Reporting on Sex Abuse, Crime Cases

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