Four journalists win 2016 Diversity Awards

Haeril Halim, The Jakarta Post, September 1 2016

The Association of Journalists for Diversity (Sejuk) declared on Wednesday four reporters winners of the 2016 Diversity Awards for their efforts in campaigning for peace and pluralism as well as for defending beleaguered minority groups across the country through their publications.

The winners were Furqon Alya Himawan from Media Indonesia daily,Heyder Affan of BBC Indonesia, Jessica Halena Wuysang from Antara news portal and Margie Ernawati from Elshinta radio station in Semarang.

Furqon, who won in the print media outlet category, impressed the panelists with his article “Toleransi Memudar di Kota Pelajar” (Decline of Tolerance in Student City).

In his article, Furqon pointed out how intolerant acts, such as the forceful closures of discussions and film screenings in a number of places in the region, had changed Yogyakarta’s 2011 tagline the “City of Tolerance” to the “City of Intolerance”.

The latest incident to besmirch the image of Yogyakarta took place in April when dozens of Islamic mass organizations, supported by Kasihan Police personnel, disbanded the Lady Fast 2016, an art event held by female artist group Kolektif Betina at Survive Garage, Yogyakarta.

The article also highlighted a controversial act of intolerance by the Islamic Jihad Front (FJI), which pressured local authorities to close Al-Fatah Pesantren Waria (Islamic boarding school for transgender students) in Jagalan subdistrict, Banguntapan district, Yogyakarta, in February. “Like magic, the calls turned into reality, with the village authorities eventually shutting down the pesantren,” Furqon said in his article.

“The reporter supported his article with strong data and the writing exposed various perspectives to understand the case, including seeing it from the side of education,” said Sejuk chairman Ahmad Junaidi, who is also an editor at The Jakarta Post.

Jessica was declared the photography category winner by panel members Andy Budiman of Sejuk, Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) chairman Suwarjono, Junaidi, Gusdurian Network coordinator Alissa Wahid and seasoned photographer Erik Prasetya.

The picture submitted by Jessica depicted the dramatic eviction of and burning of homes belonging to Fajar Nusantara Movement (Gafatar) community members in Kalimantan.

Heyder’s winning piece in the online media outlet category centered around the ongoing discourse on Wahabisme and moderate Islam.

Meanwhile, Margie won in the radio category with her work that the panel said exposed the suffering by Ahmadiyah Al-Kautsar members in Semarang.

Sejuk was established in May 2008 by about 30 journalists from various media outlets and human rights campaigners and writers who were committed to fighting rising conservatism in Indonesia through journalism diversity to campaign for peace and to defend minority groups in their publications.

Sejuk is a participant of the Netherlands-Indonesia Consortium for Muslim-Christian Relations.