Freedom of opinion, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press are human rights protected by Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN. The existence of cyber media in Indonesia is also part of the freedom of opinion, expression, and the press.

Cyber media has unique characteristics that require guidelines for its professional management, fulfilling its functions, rights, and obligations in accordance with Law Number 40 of 1999 concerning the Press and the Journalistic Code of Ethics. Therefore, the Press Council, together with press organizations, cyber media managers, and the public, has formulated the Guidelines for Cyber Media Reporting as follows:

Scope Cyber Media includes all forms of media that use the Internet platform, engage in journalistic activities, and meet the requirements of the Press Law and the Press Company Standards set by the Press Council. User Generated Content refers to any content created and/or published by cyber media users, including articles, images, comments, audio, videos, and various uploads found on cyber media platforms such as blogs, forums, reader or viewer comments, and other formats.

Verification and News Balance In principle, every news must undergo verification. News that may harm others requires verification in the same news item to fulfill the principles of accuracy and news balance. The provisions in point (a) above are exempted, provided that:

  • The news genuinely contains urgent public interest;
  • The first source of the news is clearly identified, credible, and competent;
  • The subject of the news that needs confirmation is unknown or cannot be interviewed;
  • The media provides an explanation to the readers that the news still requires further verification, which will be attempted as soon as possible. The explanation is included at the end of the same news item, in brackets and using italics. After publishing news in accordance with point (c), the media must continue its verification efforts, and after verification is obtained, the results are stated in the updated news with a link to the unverified news.

User Generated Content Cyber media must include terms and conditions regarding User Generated Content that do not conflict with Law No. 40 of 1999 concerning the Press and the Journalistic Code of Ethics, placed visibly and clearly. Cyber media requires every user to register for membership and log in before being able to publish any form of User Generated Content. The log-in provisions will be further regulated. In the registration, cyber media requires users to provide written consent that the published User Generated Content:

  • Does not contain false, defamatory, sadistic, or obscene content;
  • Does not contain prejudiced and hateful content related to ethnicity, religion, race, and intergroup relations (SARA), and does not advocate violence;
  • Does not contain discriminatory content based on gender and language and does not degrade the dignity of the weak, poor, sick, mentally disabled, or physically disabled people.

Cyber media has absolute authority to edit or delete User Generated Content that violates the provisions in point (c). Cyber media must provide a mechanism for reporting User Generated Content that is deemed to violate the provisions in point (c). The mechanism must be easily accessible to users. Cyber media must edit, delete, and take corrective action on any User Generated Content that has been reported and violates the provisions in point (c), as soon as possible, within a maximum of 2 x 24 hours after receiving the complaint. Cyber media that has fulfilled the provisions in points (a), (b), (c), and (f) is not burdened with responsibility for issues arising from the publication of content that violates the provisions in point (c). Cyber media is responsible for User Generated Content that is reported if no corrective action is taken after the time limit mentioned in point (f).

Corrections, Corrective Actions, and Right of Reply Corrections, corrective actions, and the right of reply refer to the Press Law, the Journalistic Code of Ethics, and the Right of Reply Guidelines set by the Press Council. Corrections, corrective actions, and/or right of reply must be linked to the news item that is being corrected, corrected, or subject to a right of reply. In each corrected news item, corrective action, and right of reply, the time of correction, corrective action, and/or the right of reply must be stated. If a certain news item from one cyber media is disseminated by other cyber media, then:

  • The responsibility of the media that created the news is limited to the news published on that cyber media or the cyber media under its technical authority;
  • The news correction made by one cyber media must also be made by other cyber media that quoted the news from the corrected cyber media;
  • The media that disseminates news from a cyber media and does not make corrections in accordance with those made by the owner and/or creator of the news, is fully responsible for all legal consequences arising from the uncorrected news. According to the Press Law, cyber media that does not respond to the right of reply can be subject to criminal sanctions with a maximum fine of Rp500,000,000 (five hundred million rupiahs).

Withdrawal of News Published news cannot be withdrawn due to external editorial censorship reasons, except for issues related to ethnicity, morality, the future of children, the traumatic experiences of victims, or based on other special considerations determined by the Press Council. Other cyber media must follow the withdrawal of quoted news from the original media that has been withdrawn. News withdrawal must be accompanied by reasons for the withdrawal and announced to the public.

Advertisement Cyber media must clearly distinguish between news products and advertisements. Any news/article/content that is an advertisement and/or paid content must state “advertorial,” “advertisement,” “ads,” “sponsored,” or other words that explain that the news/article/content is an advertisement.

Copyright Cyber media must respect copyright as regulated in the prevailing laws and regulations.

Inclusion of Guidelines Cyber media must include these Guidelines for Cyber Media Reporting on their platform clearly and visibly.

Dispute Resolution The final judgment on disputes regarding the implementation of these Guidelines for Cyber Media Reporting is resolved by the Press Council.

Jakarta, February 3, 2012

(These guidelines were signed by the Press Council and the press community in Jakarta on February 3, 2012).