Exclusive, Hendry Ch Bangun: The Press Media Must Be Dynamic And Able To Meet Today's Condition

The rapid development of digital technology has also affected the press. According to Hendry Ch Bangun, a senior journalist who is also the Deputy Chair of the Press Council for the period, journalists and those who work in the press sector must adapt, be dynamic, and be able to meet the demands of the times. Those are tips that can be done so as not to be eroded.


After commemorating National Press Day (HPN) on February 9, Indonesian press members met again with the next momentum which also became an important foundation for the development of the press. Namely, Hari Kebebasan Pers Sedunia (HKPS), or World Press Freedom Day, which is commemorated on May 3, 2022.

The Declaration of Windhoek, Namibia, which was held on 3 May 1991 became a milestone in the history of the HKPS. The UN General Assembly based on the recommendation of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) then declared HKPS in December 1993. This is an important affirmation of the international community for press freedom on earth.

In Indonesia, the issue of press freedom is almost the same, but not the same as in other parts of the world. There are several important notes that deserve attention at this year's HKPS anniversary from Hendry Ch Bangun. All of this needs to be a concern for all members of the press as well as partners who have been interacting so far.

According to him, the most underlined thing in commemorating the HKPS is the issue of journalists' competence so that they can compete both domestically and internationally. "The main challenge of the Indonesian press is how to increase the capacity and competence of journalists," he said.

In such an era, apart from increasing competence, journalists must be adaptive and understand what the community wants so as not to be left behind. "The media must not be static, it must meet the demands of the times, technological developments, and the demands of the public who want more and more. Because they also have a lot of choices. So if the media is not able to attract attention, the public will leave us," he said.

The press media where journalists are sheltered must be able to accommodate the works produced by journalists. “The media must be able to accommodate all journalistic products from journalists, both written, audio and audiovisual. In terms of journalists, they must have the competence to do journalistic work on all platforms that are requested by the public, through the media in which they work," he explained to Edy Suherli, Savic Rabos, and Rivai who visited him recently in the Ciputat area, South Tangerang. Here is the full excerpt.

The challenges of the global press, said Hendry Ch Bangun, are slightly different from the press in Indonesia, but they still have relevance. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

World Press Freedom Day is commemorated on May 3, 2022, what are your hopes as a press figure?

The HKPS is actually more global in nature, the challenges are slightly different from those in Indonesia, although there are still relevances such as how our press can survive the development of digital technology and an economy that has deteriorated due to the pandemic. This affects the welfare of journalists. The main challenge of the Indonesian press is how to increase the capacity and competence of journalists, because according to the Press Law, journalists can be held by anyone without going through good education, training, and recruitment. As a result, too many journalists, and too many journalistic products are problematic, making people's trust in the press decline, even though we are at war with social media and the tendency of people to get information for free and quickly.

It is much more important for Indonesia to keep the press alive and for journalism in Indonesia to be of high quality and useful to society. Apart from that, of course, another challenge is how the media can survive with good quality in the midst of the destruction of income so that it is difficult to live normally, especially when operational costs continue to increase.

The development of information technology is growing rapidly, and printed media is starting to be abandoned, how do you see this reality? How does a journalist respond to this situation? What to do?

The media must be able to accommodate all journalistic products from journalists, both written, audio and audiovisual. In terms of journalists, they must have the competence to do journalistic work on all platforms that are requested by the public or customers from the media in which they work. If you want to survive, you have to. The media must not be static, it must meet the demands of the times, technological developments, and the demands of the increasingly demanding public. Because they also have a lot of choices. So if we can't get their attention, they will leave us.

Printed media that were previously prima donna are slowly being shifted, online media are growing rapidly, do you think printed media will really become extinct?

This printed media will survive as a nostalgia. People read the newspaper first because it has depth. But that depth can also be produced by cyber media, television, or other broadcast media. Then the second print media is always considered complete and has many perspectives. And it can also be done by other media.

Of course, later this print media will still be alive, but in terms of quantity, it will not be able to move much. Let's say that if he is the market leader in Jakarta, maybe the 10,000 circulation is not all in the form of physical newspapers, there are also PDF formats that can be downloaded via smartphones, tablets, ebooks, notebooks, etc.

Television media is also experiencing the same thing as printed media, the audience is starting to leave and is turning to broadcast or internet-based content, what should press people working on television media do?

I think television journalists are relatively easy, because they tend to be able to produce themselves. What's left for the container or medium? If the medium is television, of course, if it is as news or a feature, television is no longer interesting. Because now people are searching like that on Youtube, Tiktok, Reels, etc. This means that if a television journalist is no longer able to create content that is in accordance with the public's will, they will lose relevance.

Television in my opinion will also be a twilight industry. He's just a big container. There are news, features, music, movies, and all sorts of things. But as a news platform, it is unable to compete with social media. Why do people bother waiting on television at certain hours, people can watch it anywhere, anytime. Same with the printed media earlier, why are we waiting for tomorrow if it can be read now. This is the challenge for television broadcasting media.

Social media has won the hearts of the public, but said Hendry Ch Bangun, there is a weak side of media that must be optimized by members of the press. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

Based on data from research conducted by the Press Council and the Faculty of Communication, Prof. University. Dr. Moestopo (Religious) 2021, new media such as WhatsApp, Youtube, and Instagram are the top choices for the community, is this a threat to the press media?

Yes, it's a threat to the press. So this is what the people surveyed said if they wanted to find information first, they looked for it on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, or WA groups. As for confirming the truth of information, in the mass media, cyber media (which is credible) will be used as a reference. After that, the television media became the place of confirmation.

This means that the community really has prioritized speed. The exact question is number two. This is a challenge for media people. I think television has often presented Breaking News, but unlike social media, 5 seconds of the incident has already come out. While the press cannot do that, there must be a check and re-check process first. Because it needs completeness before submitting news, social media doesn't care about completeness.

If social media is getting more and more dominant, who will do the monitoring?

So actually this is more about the community, yes, the Press Council does not have the task and function to go there. If there is a complaint, we will investigate. But this is indeed the first surveillance in the community and this has actually been done. Certain media have joined the Fact Check (which is anti-hoax). They provide clarification on whether the news is a hoax or not a hoax. There used to be Media Watch, but because there was no budget, there was a suspended animation. In the future, of course, this is all up to the community. If people have the awareness to get the right information, they will be active.

The most frequent victims of hoaxes include housewives and the general public whose education is still lacking (lack of literacy). As soon as the information is received, they are distributed immediately, in order to be called superior in getting information. Even though ideally, first check and re-check the information received, if it is correct, then share it.

At the peak of the HPN commemoration, President Jokowi asked for the creation of a balanced press industry ecosystem. The press industry ecosystem must be regulated, a more balanced competitive climate must continue to be created. Who will make this happen?

What the Press Council and the Press Society do is make a draft of Quality and Sustainable Journalism. Now the draft has been submitted to the Ministry. Later it will be decided whether the form is a Ministerial Regulation, Government Regulation, or Presidential Decree, or Law. Indeed, there is a short-term pragmatic need, through this regulation, the news picked up by the global platform will be able to drip its sustenance into our media.

For the long term is to create an ecosystem. However, this is my personal view, the government should really step down. The problem is that on several occasions the Ministry of Communication and Informatics does not care about the press. The results of the reforms say that the state does not need to deal with the press. In terms of independence, it's good. All are submitted to the Press Council. But the ability of the Press Council is limited, especially during this pandemic. In a session with the DPR RI, I conveyed that this press is like a person who has drowned in his neck. So the government must step in to help the press. In what form?

The first is to advertise to the press. So far, what the ministry has been doing is building its own social media by cooperating with influencers and famous people to increase awareness. It is true that awareness has increased. But at the same time, it kills the press. If the mass media dies, then the public discourse will be controlled by social media. Even though there is no control over this social media, no editor, no code of ethics, and no laws except ITE.

If the mass media controls the information, when it comes out in the media, it has gone through the stages of editing, curating, and other considerations such as not releasing SARA-related news. On social media, there is no sensor. The role of the government to keep the press media alive is precisely for the public interest.

After giving advertisements to the press media, then what else?

The second is regular education and training. Now very few media are able to provide education and training. The government must provide education and training to upgrade press personnel so that their abilities can increase. That was what happened at the time of the late Rosihan Anwar in the 1970s.

Now foreign media are also reaching remote areas of the country, and conversely, our media is also reaching remote corners of the world. What can local media do to survive and exist?

The local media must be strong and control the events that occur in their area, do not lose to the national media. The power of local media there. Do not lose to other media. Local wisdom, local achievements must be mastered. That will be quoted by the national and even foreign media.

In the current era, domestic online media dominates. But it is not directly proportional to the growth of its business (advertising revenue). Though the fate of the media is very dependent on advertising. How do you face this reality?

The fruits of the reforms made the media grow everywhere, in large numbers. Each district has 100 and 150. The government cannot limit it. Finally allowed to grow but not ideal, less income. The solution should be like this, the solution is to merge several media, rather than die together. But the sectoral ego is still high, let it be poor from the Editor-in-Chief or the Managing Director instead of living decently but being subordinates. This is irony, laughing dead in the style of the Indonesian press. In the end, there are those who ask for money from narcotics, and there are also those who extort drugs.

This is the stowaway of Indonesian press freedom. Their motive for educating the press is solely economic, not idealism to channel public aspirations and control government policies according to the existing code of ethics and journalistic standards.

Makes Sense, This Is Why Hendry Ch Bangun Happy To Walk

For Hendry Ch. Bangun, walking is the most appropriate sport. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

Walking can be done anytime and anywhere. No matter how busy, people can still walk. That's the reason Hendry Ch Bangun chose walking as his favorite sport. Walking is easy, cheap, effective, and can be done anywhere.

"My hobby is walking. Coming home from the morning prayer at the mosque, I walked home. The distance between my house and the mosque in the housing estate is about 600m. Quite a commute in the morning. After that, take a short break, then walk again for 35 to 45 minutes,” he said about his daily busy life in the morning.

If the first session of exercise is only in the housing complex. The second session was carried out outside his housing complex located in the Kampung Sawah area, Ciputat, South Tangerang. Hendry is lucky that the area where he lives is still beautiful. “There are still a lot of trees between people's houses. The air is still fresh. Morning exercise is very conducive,” continued the man who started his journalistic career at Sportif Jakarta Magazine (1982).

About the duration of the walk at least 30 minutes which he did it turned out to have a reason. According to Hendry, walking is only beneficial if it is done for at least 30 minutes. “If you do it constantly for 30 minutes, you will feel the benefits. There has been an aerobic process, the muscles have accelerated, the tense muscles are relaxed. Regular walking can also affect blood sugar as well. Can maintain blood sugar in normal conditions," said Hendry, continuing his career as a journalist at the Jakarta Kompas newspaper until retiring in 2018.

In addition to the scheduled exercise time in the morning around the house, when there are opportunities such as at the office, when going to a shopping center, visiting certain places, as long as he can still walk, he will walk.

“If there is a flight out of town, at the airport I prefer to walk or take the stairs even though there is an escalator. It can be a means to move too, meaning exercise. People who are over 60 years old, he said, must be diligent in moving the muscles of the legs, hands, and other body organs so that they are not stiff, he explained.

Actually, Hendry has been doing other sports besides walking. He did swimming and cycling. However, the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for him to find an open public swimming pool. Even when the situation has sloping, there is not much difference. As for cycling, according to Hendry, sometimes when the bike is moving, the legs are static. In contrast to walking, which is always moving.

One more tip that can be imitated from Hendry Ch Bangun, enjoy doing things, as well as sports activities. "Indeed I have a target in walking. But you don't have to force it," he said, adding that if you wanted to increase the portion of walking, do it gradually.

As a journalist who works in the field of sports, Hendry often interacts with sports doctors. From there he got a lot of information about the right choice of sport. “There are sports that have a high risk of injury, such as running or those that rely on jumping. For those who are young, it's okay. But the old ones should be avoided. Because the risk of injury is high. Because of that, I concluded that the most suitable sport for me was walking,” he said. "Walking is cheap, effective, anytime and anywhere can be done," he added.

Food and Drink

Hendry Ch Bangun did a healthy lifestyle after getting gout during the coverage of the Asian Games in Thailand. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

For food, Hendry Ch Bangun is now reducing the intake of foods that are high in sugar. For example, he replaced rice with potatoes, cassava, or taro. “Besides reducing the portion of rice as a staple food, I also make variations. Rice is replaced with cassava, potatoes, or taro cooked by boiling or steaming," he said.

At first, it was a bit strange to eat side dishes with staple foods other than rice. But gradually everything became normal. All of that, said Hendry, is just a matter of mindset and habits.

One habit that has long been practiced and changed is the matter of drinking sweet tea after meals and on various occasions. "Anyway, if it's not sweet tea, it's not done yet, even though we've eaten a plate of rice. Imagine how much sugar enters the body. One of the doctors advised me to leave the consumption of sweet tea and replace it with water,” he said.

Hendry who avoids foods that trigger gout. "Because I have had gout. Even when I was covering the Asian Games in Thailand, my gout flared up. I can't even walk. Finally returned to Indonesia in a wheelchair," he said.

The incident really left a mark and made him give up. The therapy is to consume lots of water and reduce the intake of foods that contain cholesterol, with that he can recover. "For those who are still early gout can be cured by drinking lots of water. But if you have relapsed many times, you have to take medicine from a doctor," said Hendry, who now avoids peanuts, tofu, tempeh, and foods made from cow or goat innards.

To overcome the various health problems that exist, Hendry prefers to consume boiled herbs rather than taking drugs that have been mixed with chemicals. “I prefer to drink boiled leaves of plants that have many benefits. Such as binahong leaves, bay leaves, betel, mango leaves, and so on. Routinely drinking a decoction of various leaves is effective in making my uric acid levels normal, and high blood pressure can return to a normal position," he continued.

After diligently drinking the herbal concoction, he feels the benefits. In one working visit to the area, he had eaten seafood three days in a row. Hendry was worried that his cholesterol would increase, but that concern was not proven. "Thank God my cholesterol is normal, I also don't get gout," he said.

Personal Target

The habit of working with deadlines while still active as a news hunter, was continued by Hendry Ch Bangun in his next activity. (Photo: Savic Rabos, DI: Raga/VOI)

The habit of doing reports with tight deadlines is ingrained for Hendry Ch Bangun. That's what happened to him at Kompas newspaper, where he worked until he retired.

“We used to making news from the reports we do. I happen to work as a sports journalist. The match ends at 10.30 western Indonesia time, and at 11.00 western Indonesia time, the news must be finished. No haggling for deadlines. Anyway, there is no time to relax before all the tasks are completed," he said.

The habit of working with deadlines is used to be done even though he is no longer on duty in the field as a news hunter. “Now even though I'm no longer looking for news, I'm used to doing any task with a deadline. I have to meet personal deadlines that I set myself. The problem is that if it is violated, it can have an impact on other jobs. It's like a domino effect," said the man who was the secretary-general of the Central Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI) for the period 2008-2013 and 2013-2018.

Retirement from the media that raised his name does not mean he is retiring, he serves as Deputy Chairman of the 2019-2022 Press Council. What is being done in the Press Council is not far from the previous scope of work. Still dwelling on the issue of the press and the press personnel who carry out their activities.

Almost every day he received calls from various parties. From members of the press and also from outside parties who interact with members of the press. Because of this task at the Press Council, Hendry also sometimes has to visit various areas scattered throughout Indonesia. All done with dedication.


“I often go out of town, but I never enjoy holidays. Work, work, work, that's what I do. Hopefully, when I retire (from the Press Council) I will have more time. But I also doubt it, because if I hold my laptop I keep writing too. Not to mention that now there are so many WA or incoming calls," said Hendry Ch Bangun, whose cell phone never stopped for 24 hours.

“The media must be able to accommodate all journalistic products from journalists, both written, audio and audio and visual. From a journalist's perspective, they must have the competence to carry out journalistic work on all platforms that are requested by the public, through the media in which they work.”

Henry Ch Bangun