KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian media editors and bosses have been told to stop sensationalising the ongoing In donesia-Malaysia spat which has caused tension to escalate between the two countries.
The minister councillor (information, social and culture) to Malaysia, Widyarka Ryananta, said the government had held talks with the local media in the republic to stop highlighting issues which provoked the people and incited hate against Malaysians.
“We have held dialogues with the media and meetings with media bosses in light of the recent events. They have been advised to cool off and not make matters worse by blowing the issue out of proportion.
“We hope the situation has calmed down somewhat, but the media still have to play their part. The Indonesian gov ernment does not have control over the media and they have the right to express their opinion on various matters,” he told the New Straits Times when contacted yesterday.
These are among the measures taken by the Indonesian government to control the escalating tension against Malaysians in the republic after Malaysia was accused of stealing the Balinese traditional pendet dance which was featured in a television documentary early this month.
Last Tuesday, activist group, Relawan Ganyang Malaysia, prowled the streets of central Jakarta, checking everybody’s particulars to see if they were Malaysians.
Widyarka said although the media appeared to have heeded the advice, the government had no control on what was disseminated over the Internet which could irreparably harm relations between the two countries.
He expressed concern over the “Hate Malaysia Facebook” group which had some 1,400 members and which had branded Malaysia as a “nation of thieves”.
“We have no control over the Internet, but what student groups and associations can do to help is to hold regular discussions to explain the situation.”
Widyarka also gave assurances that the 5,900 Malaysians students in universities in Bandung, Yogyakarta and Jakarta were safe and that police have stepped up security at universities in the capital.
There are currently six groups inciting hatred against Malaysians who have been detained by police. However, investigations are still ongoing.
Malaysian students association head Khairul Hafidz Alkhair said that there has been a significant decrease of coverage on the tension by the print and broadcast media.
“Last week, there were daily reports and programmes on the issue. But it has cooled somewhat and the reports are now concentrating on upcoming Hari Raya celebrations.
"But it has cooled somewhat and the reports are now concentrating on upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebrations,"he added. - NST