Solo - Abdul Manan and Revolusi Riza were elected by unanimous support to hold the posts of president and general secretary, respectively, of Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) at the organization's tenth congress at Hotel Sunan, Solo, on November 27, 2017. Manan hails from Tempo magazine editorial team while Revo holds the post of CNN Indonesia
chief of reporting. AJI Congress X opened with a conference on journalism in the age of the fourth industrial revolution.
In his address following the appointment, Manan spoke about the three priority programs to be implemented during his term of office in the next three years. The first priority is to build AJI capacity on city level. The organization currently has local representatives in 38 cities across the country. "AJI chapters on the city level is the organization's spearhead," Manan said on Monday, November 27, 2017.
Manan said this capacity building would be achieved through a number of strategies. One of these is training AJI local committees on specific subjects to develop their capacity for fundraising, program organizing, and so forth. Guidelines based on best practices garnered from AJI chapters throughout the country will also be prepared for training purposes.
The second priority program is aimed at developing the competence of the 1700 AJI members. The competence building programs will cater to the specific needs of the members. For reporters working for media outlets, the training will be focused on developing journalistic skills. For media startups, management training will be provided to help develop their businesses.
The third priority is to increase AJI's leverage as an organization. A stronger bargaining position is crucial for ensuring that every campaign for freedom of the press, improved livelihood for journalists, as well as for journalist and media professionalism will yield more significant impact both on policy and regulatory levels. According to Manan, AJI is facing ever-increasing challenges. "Apart from tendencies toward increasing state conservatism and the rise of intolerance, the changing trends in media industry will affect job security for media workers," he added.
Abdul Manan was born in Probolinggo on July 5, 1974. After joining AJI in 1997 he has since been actively involved and appointed to a number posts including: Secretary of AJI Surabaya (1998 - 1999); Coordinator of AJI Indonesia Finance and Business Division (2003
- 2004); AJI Secretary General (2005 - 2008); member of AJI Jakarta Council of Ethics
(2008 - 2011); member of AJI Indonesia Board of Auditors (2008 - 2011); Coordinator of
AJI Indonesia Council of Ethics (2011 - 2014); and Head of AJI Indonesia Education Division
(2014 - 2017).
Revolusi was born in Lumajang on December 16, 1977. A member of AJI since 2005, he has been actively involved and served in numerous posts, namely: staff member of AJI
Surabaya Advocacy Division (2005- 2007); staff member of AJI Jakarta Advocacy Division (2009 - 2011); staff member of AJI Indonesia Advocacy Division (2011 - 2012); staff member if AJI Indonesia Broadcasting Division (2011 - 2014); Head of AJI Indonesia Broadcasting Division (2014 - 2017).
Election of president and general secretary was not the only agenda in the Congress. Of equal importance was the task of revising the organization's Articles of Association. The latest revision stipulates that student journalists can now apply for AJI membership, provided they meet certain criteria. "This is another breakthrough on AJI's part after the
2014 Congress when we decided to accept citizen journalists," Manan said.
Manan went on to say that the inclusion of student journalists as potential members was based on a number of considerations. "One of them is to spread AJI's ideals of what constitutes journalism to future journalists early on," he said. Student journalists, after all, are the mainsprings of human resources for the media industry.
In addition to advance inculcation of journalism values, AJI's breakthrough membership policy serves as an answer to the recent spate of prohibition and intimidation of student journalists and campus publications owing to their journalistic activities. "The Congress decision allows AJI to pay more attention to and advocate more intensively against threats to freedom of expression by student journalists," Manan said.
Apart from addressing the issue of student journalists, the congress also passed the Code of Conduct for members of AJI. The Code of Conduct is a technical guideline based on AJI Code of Ethics. It comprises 54 articles, which are classified on the basis of three major principles: maintaining independence; upholding the truth and public interest; and respect of sources. "The Code of Conduct will serve as guideline for AJI members in conducting themselves and their profession," Manan added.
Drafting of the Code of Conduct was mandated by AJI previous congress in Bukittinggi back in 2014. The preliminary draft had been revised multiple times prior to the final deliberation at the tenth congress on November 26, 2017, followed by its subsequent adoption. The Code of Conduct will be officially enacted starting June 2018. In addition, the congress mandated the new AJI committee to launch an intensive campaign to propagate the Code of Conduct to AJI members across Indonesia.