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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.
Indonesian legislators have questioned a decision to grant a visa to an Israeli badminton player to compete in the World Championship this week.
Indonesia initially refused to give a visa to Misha Zilberman to play in Jakarta, but relented following intervention from the World Badminton Federation. Zilberman was eliminated in the first round.
“This is a bad precedent,” a member of the House of Representatives, Ahmad Zainuddin, was quoted as saying by Viva.co.id.
“How could it be that an Israeli managed to obtain a visa, while Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel?” he said. “This has to be explained.”
He said he suspected that the decision was made after pressure from Israel and the international pro-Israel lobby.
“If that’s true, it shows how hollow is our stated principle of supporting Palestinian independence and opposing Israel’s colonization,” Zainuddin said.
BWF said it had assisted Zilberman in his visa quest.
“BWF has worked extremely hard with both local and Israeli stakeholders,” it said in a statement on its webiste.
“However, BWF chose not to engage in a public discussion to avoid any distraction while focusing on a solution, as such public attention could have endangered the ultimate objective – to get Misha Zilberman to play in the World Championships,” it said.
Another lawmaker from the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party, Mahfudz Siddiq, said he was informed that the Foreign Ministry was not consulted in the decision.
“It shows that there’s no coordination with the immigration department,” he was quoted as saying by inilah.com.
Indonesia has at least twice refused to play Israel in sports tournaments, and excluded the Jewish state from participating in the 1962 Asian Games hosted by Jakarta.
A Jakarta court has overturned the Sports Ministry’s decision to suspend the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI), in a ruling welcomed by fans who have been unable to enjoy local action for months.
The State Administrative Court’s decision will pave the way for the resumption of league competitions, which were cancelled early in the season after Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi suspended the PSSI in April.
The Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of the PSSI in its lawsuit against the Sports Ministry’s decision. The ministry said it would appeal the ruling.
The PSSI said it plans to restart league and first division competitions in October.
“We will ask the police to issue a permit for the competition,” PSSI chief La Nyalla Mattalitti said.
“PSSI has informed FIFA about the court’s decision. We will ask the sports minister not to interfere because FIFA’s previous letter was clear,” he said. “Let’s sit together but no intervention!”
Football Ahmad Sutisna said he was happy with the ruling.
“I hope the PSSI will be able to improve the game in the future,” he said.
The ministry’s move to freeze PSSI had prompted world football governing body FIFA to suspend Indonesia on the grounds of government interference.
The ministry suspended PSSI for ignoring orders to exclude two clubs from the Indonesian Super League over ownership concerns. The government then appointed its own transitional committee to run the national programme.
The ministry’s order to exclude the two clubs came after they failed a government audit into several aspects of their management, and were embroiled in ownership disputes.
The FIFA suspension prevented Indonesia from taking part in qualifying stages for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup.
Clubs also said they have been unable to pay players after sponsors withdrew support as a result of the halt to competitions.
Indonesian football was until recently bogged down by infighting over control of the sport in the football-mad country.
The national team was unable to field many of the country’s strongest players, who were signed to a rival league not recognized by PSSI.
The dispute with the non-PSSI league was resolved in 2013.
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