A political soap opera involving the Indonesian parliament speaker has covered up the main problem in Indonesia, namely smog disaster caused by plantation land-burning, particularly oil palm plantation. The disater in this year is the biggest one in the last 18 years and has claimed 10 lives. According to National Board for Disaster Management (Badan Nasional Penanggulangan Bencana/BNPB), it has caused 503,874 people suffering from acute respiratory infection.
Toward the appalling condition, photojournalists who are members of Pewarta Foto Indonesia (Photojournalists of Indonesia) or PFI get together in a photo exhibition. Entitled “Republik Asap Incorporated,” the exhibition involves 30 photojournalists who are showcasing 41 photographs depicting the great smog disaster in Sumatera and Kalimantan.
Taking place at Bentara Budaya Jakarta from Monday to next Saturday (12/19), the showcased photos are visual facts resulted from their reportage in order to remind us of the disaster, and especially to remind the government to totally handle the case legally.
“Photojournalism is over when the photographs have been published in various media where the photojournalists work. As a professional organization, however, PFI is obliged to select and rearrange the images of photojournalism to be a manifesto of all Indonesian photojournalists in addressing the smog tragedy which should not happen again,” saya the exhibition’s press release.
Beside the exhibition, there was “Jurnalisme Bencana” (Disaster Journalism) seminar presenting several experts to affirm the importance of preserving the universe for the continuity of civilization. It is also said in the press release that PFI does not only serve to protect its members but also to protect the public memory through photojournalism exhibition, so that “we are not fooled with issue diversion and efforts to put a freeze on such serious environmental cases as smog tragedy.”