To celebrate World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2007, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), a SEAPA founding member, held for the first time a Press Freedom Award in the capital Jakarta “to honour journalists and columnists who improved and fought for press freedom”.
The inaugural winner, Agus Sudibyo, is deputy director for the Science, Aesthetics and Technology Foundation (SET). He stood out among 52 nominees for his articles in various press publications, promoting media freedom, and his activism in the Coalition for Freedom of Information, which is pushing for the House of Representatives to pass the freedom of information legislation.
Agus is also a member of the 2004 Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA) Journalism Fellowship. He was previously attached with the Institute for Studies on the Free Flow of Information (ISAI), another founding member of SEAPA, doing content analysis on media coverage of sectarian conflicts in Ambon and Poso in eastern Indonesia as well as the armed rebellion in Aceh in northern Sumatra.
In a 3 May release, AJI said the award was also to inspire journalists and columnists to protect press freedom from any threats, be they from the state or from groups whose interests are jeopardised by press freedom.
“We believe that a free press is the necessary condition to an open and democratic climate,” said AJI.
Press Council member Bambang Harymurti, “The Jakarta Post” Editor-in-Chief Endy M. Bayuni and Radio 68H Director Santoso comprised the judging panel.