President Yudhoyono asks the media to not report inappropriate news stories.
In a speech marking National Press Day on 9th February President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asked journalists and media outlets to exercise self-censorship, given that the time of government control over the press is over.
I really want to see "self censoring" put into practice. I have hope that the Press Board, senior journalists and reporters, and leaders of journalists' associations will employ the principle of determining what is appropriate news and what is not.
Freedom of the press was much valued in Indonesia now, he said, and the country would not go back to the bad old days of active state interference in the media, but freedom had limits:
We are for freedom of the press but [in a way that is] useful, with good character, and responsible.
He mentioned detik the example of the Danish newspaper "Jyllands-Posten", which published cartoons of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in September 2005, and which were also featured by Indonesian newspaper Rakyat Merdeka, on its website. The newspaper's editor, Teguh Santosa, was later prosecuted.
We should learn a lesson from the case.
Other people's rights, freedoms and sensibilities had to be respected, he said, especially when religion was involved:
Religion is very sensitive because it's bound up with beliefs and emotions. Other people's religious beliefs may appear irrational to us but we have to respect them.
The President also said the media should be careful in reporting violent incidents such as demonstrations, should use well-formed language, be idealistic, help in the development of the nation, be uplifting, truthful, and fair and balanced.