The Jakarta Post | Readers Forum | Fri, June 14 2013
Paper Edition | Page: 8 June 11, p4
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono criticized a foreign media outlet over its recent broadcast on deforestation in Indonesia in his opening speech at an environmental awards ceremony at the State Palace on Monday.
“Today we observe International Environment Day. Before I discuss the issue, let me share a story. At 3.30 a.m. this morning, I suddenly woke up from my sleep and watched a foreign TV channel with the initial ‘A’,” Yudhoyono said in his speech, which was delivered before Cabinet members, foreign ambassadors and dozens of award recipients at the palace.
“I watched its program covering deforestation in Indonesia. The common belief among the media is that bad news is news while good news is no news. I think that what was broadcast was extreme and only focused on the negative side of our country. Don’t only focus on making a program more interesting by painting a false picture of Indonesia,” Yudhoyono went on.
Please don’t complain all the time, Mr. President.
If you don’t like it, just look at the data on Indonesia’s efforts to handle deforestation, then you can put that data on your website, Facebook page or Twitter, or have your assistant comment on their website.
Rather than being annoyed that the media tell the truth, please be annoyed about our environment, which is still damaged — and then do something about it. You have the power.
The fact is that the highest rate of deforestation in the world presently occurs in Indonesia. Illegal logging is just one aspect of the problem. The planned conversion of primary forests into oil palm plantations concerns millions of hectares.
SBY himself has pushed for the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) project in West Papua, where millions of hectares of pristine forest will be destroyed, and the livelihoods of local tribes will be destroyed as well.
Despite SBY’s hollow gesticulations, we Indonesians should be thankful that foreign journalists are concerned about the fate of Indonesia’s forests.
We are waiting for the Indonesian national channels to do their job and equally report on the alarming rate of environmental damage in this country.