Abbott’s Press Event Shuts Out Local Reporters

Despite Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s push to strengthen ties with Indonesia during a meeting with business and government delegates on Tuesday morning, a press conference following the breakfast was restricted to the Australian media.

Local media, including the Jakarta Globe, were not allowed to attend the press briefing that saw Abbott and Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, speak with Australian media.

Umar Idris, the chairman of the Jakarta branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), said it was the first time he had heard of a case where local journalists had been excluded from a conference, and condemned the move.

“Australia has good press freedom and so they should practice that in Indonesia as well,” Umar told the Globe. “Tony Abbott’s visit is important for the Indonesian media, and journalists should be granted open, equal access.”

The move comes as the Australian government has enforced a media blackout where it will now only hold one press conference a week for Australian media on asylum-seeker issues.

However, following the tragic sinking of an Australia-bound boat off of the coast of West Java on Friday, which resulted in the deaths of at least 36 Middle Eastern asylum seekers, Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison broke the media silence.

He rejected reports from survivors made to the Sydney Morning Herald that a rescue was delayed by 24 hours, issuing a statement on Sunday saying that Australia did “respond to all such events with great professionalism and a keenly felt sense of duty, as they did on this occasion.”

  • Tomo

    is really disappointing. Perhaps he was not confident of handling the
    local perspective, too many wild cards, or perhaps he felt there were
    not enough chairs and was worried about their comfort…sorry just trying to come up with an excuse. Mind you, he could have always
    turned to Bob Menzies example who on his arrival in Jakarta in 1959
    strolled up to the local press and charmed them (see photo). It worked
    quite well for a couple of days but when he decided he didn’t want to
    answer their questions about West Papua anymore and snapped at them they
    replied with the headline “PM Menzies Ngambek” well you can’t be
    charming all the time.

  • Shirley Green

    Abbott would be behind this exclusion of local press because he would not want any contentious issues published which would allow the Australian public to be more informed. I apologise Jakarta Globe.

  • PakMB

    What a strange thing to do…

  • jo

    If this had happened in Australia where the Australian Media were banned from attending a similar Indonesian function – there would be a huge public and Media outcry for sure. Shows the arrogance and pathetic narrowmindedness of this man who would be nothing without the media in the first place.

  • Pat

    Abbott and co are incompetent – and we have to put up with them for another 3 years :( Abbott is one big embarrassment for us Australians.

  • chuzzlenut

    Abbott is on record as saying you can’t believe anything he says unless it’s written down. That explains why he wouldn’t front the Indonesian media and why they wouldn’t be able to trust what he says anyway.

  • Ken

    Oh no how embarrassing

  • Helvetica

    His election was also due because there were nobody else except Kevin Rudd, who has not really impressed the crowd with his two stints at the top job…

    • Hellen

      only because people were never informed about all of the wonderful things that he did and the future that we could have had under Mr Rudd,

  • Bagus Nugroho


  • David Somerfield

    and maybe one day in the future I will understand that comment Big Stu………then again, maybe not.

  • Hellen

    actually the majority of Australians did not vote LNP and they would not have got in without the Nationals. I know without a doubt that I speak for many Australians who are embarrassed by Abbott who is fast becoming a laughing stock not only in Australia but worldwide

    • Dazeddazza

      Dream on, keep denying. It will get you nowhere but further into a funk. Labor lost, get over it!!!!

  • Voxclara

    Hear! Hear! Bloody leftist tree hugging greenies!

  • Voxclara

    So you are inferring that the majority of Aussies are dumb and easy to lie too right? Tsk, tsk, tsk..

  • Jet

    48% is not a majority. Or wasn’t when I went to school.

    • Dazeddazza

      My apologies Jet, but I did mean the majority of voters who voted for the LNP rather than Labor. This may help you to understand, Taken from the Drum.

      On the basis of Saturday night’s count for the House of
      Representatives, the swing after preferences against Labor of 3.5 per cent was less than the last two occasions it lost government – in 1996, when it went backwards by 5.1 per cent and in 1975, when the swing was
      7.4 per cent. While Labor supporters will draw solace wherever they can, this is nothing to boast about, given how much the party’s vote was eroded in the 2010 election.

      The reality is that barely a third of voters on Saturday could bring themselves to give Labor their first preference.

      That is the worst result since the 1931 and 1934 elections, when Jack Lang split the party. If you add the Lang vote to Labor’s, you have to go back even further, to Australia’s second federal election in 1903 for Labor to have polled worse and that is when the party had been in existence for little more than a decade. On the other side, despite Tony Abbott’s convincing victory, the Coalition’s primary vote in the lower house rose by only 1.6 per cent to 45.3 per cent. Again,
      that is partly due to its good showing in 2010, giving it a higher
      starting point than most oppositions.

  • JohnnyCool

    I agree 100%

    Calling Abbott an idioit is too kind.

  • TGIF

    It is the same charade in the US as well. Fox news.

  • lanun

    Most Indonesia papers hijacked by bunch of fool lefties and tree huggers , as what happened on this JG,that would be so much happier to have rest of Indonesians to become vegetarian country. Abbott did hîs homework , his statements would be twisted n screwed by these bunch and labelled as hate speech. This guy made the right statements n moves while in Jakarta , let see how his policies will be translated into right actions on the ground in Australia. Indonesia can grow n learn so much from Australia to improve the country and start ditch ASEAN after decades nothing to show ie; built less quality run way to help these two pretenders airports perform better under Suharto regime for Jakarta airport n paying the price today to help transit useless cities . .., enough of that crap.

  • Jennifer Nash

    can well understand Sandra Siagian’s shock at being denied equal access
    to the media conference in her own country. However, she is sadly
    mistaken; Australia does not have good press freedom. In fact a few
    years ago Reporters Without Borders ranked
    Australia’s press freedom equal to that of the 3rd world African nation
    of Mali in 35th place. The Finkelstein Inquiry Report into Australia’s
    dodgy media (commissioned by the Gillard Labor government) confirms
    there is a very serious problem with Australia’s media and our right to
    know. Tony Abbott clearly does not wish to be confronted with hard
    questions and does not want to be forced to answer suppression issues.
    Where as he trusts the Aussie media to play ball and to not ask him
    anything too difficult!

    Prime Minister Abbott denies politically persecuted Queenslander

    • AngeTKenos

      and you probably believe that A Jones, N whats his name on AW, the bloke found guilty of lying, Murdoch… are all goodies? That ANdrew Bolt is not biased?… gimme a break lassie

  • Lydia M. E.

    My view is PM Tony Abbot did the right thing who he will trust to publish the real talks and the walks. I think it is time to be vigilant with some of the reporters.

    • Randomania

      As the Australian prime minister, he should at least be able to handle local reporters.

    • Snap!

      Don’t you as a citizen want to know the truth what’s behind that closed door meeting? And as a country leader you don’t ditch local journalists when you visit their country. It’s rude and disrespectful to your hosts. We Indonesians deserved to know too because this is about two countries planning on working together in many important issues, not a private wedding.

  • Randomania

    Dude.. the point is without ASEAN, China and US won’t give too much damn about Indonesia.

    • lanun

      Not according to market numbers I said the other way around, ASEAN is waste of time group of countries for Indonesia to grow and expand.

  • Rustynails

    Yes, the Indonesia pollies live in fear of incisive investigative reporters who cannot be bought..

  • Rustynails

    They didn’t win ..the other team just kicked more goals. Labor had the worst result in a 100 years and are rightly reviled as the worst government since world war 2

  • Rustynails

    Laugh, you didn’t really expect the true from the lefties here did you? Are all look at Gillard.

  • Rustynails

    And you certainly don’t speak for Australians Daniel.

  • CintaIndonesia

    Does anyone here know the real story behind the lock-out of the local press? What did/does the PM’s office say was the reason for it. Any budding journalist here want to phone the Australian Embassy in Jakarta to inquire about it? This is surely better than half-assed speculation on show here in the comments below.