CNN Indonesia news channel apologised on Monday after it blurred images of a female athlete wearing a swimsuit in its 19th National Games (PON) coverage.
The apology came after it self-censored a report about preparation of swimmer Margaretha Herawati to compete in the games, which is being held in West Java, by blurring her body, although she was wearing a one-piece swimsuit.
The screen captures of Margaretha’s blurred body on the channel’s Saturday sports program went viral on social media, causing netizens to vent their dismay to the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) and accused the broadcasting regulator for being too much on censorship.
“Blurred broadcast of swimming news, which was being debated, didn’t meet the journalistic standards and therefore we apologize,” Titin Rosmasari, CNN Indonesia editor-in-chief said in a statement.
“We take the public concerns and scrutiny as a valuable input to improve our work performance,” she added.
KPI commissioner and coordinator of content monitoring Hardly Stefano Pariela said the commission never told the broadcaster to blur the image of a female athlete clad in a swimsuit.
“It was the broadcaster’s own initiative to blur its broadcast content and the KPI didn’t order it to do so,” Hardly said on Monday.
He said the commission will investigate the context the footage including where it was taken whether at a hotel or a swimming pool used for the competition and if it was during a competition coverage or an interview.
Hardly said the blurring was unethical if the footage was taken during an interview that took place in a hotel swimming pool.
“They could have asked the interviewee to wrap herself with a towel first,” he said, adding that it would be acceptable to broadcast footage of athletes in swimsuits if the broadcaster was covering a swimming competition.
Footage taking could also be arranged by focusing on the game, not the athletes’ bodies, to avoid the impression of exploiting their bodies.
Titin said the debate surrounding the blurred broadcast showed that there was a room for various interpretations of the KPI’s programming standards and broadcasting code of conduct (P3SPS), notably on the ban to exploit female bodies in a broadcast.
“The different interpretations call for KPI and all broadcasters’ concerns, including CNN Indonesia so that blurring broadcasting content would not violate viewers’ rights to have quality and decent content,” Titin said.