By: Aubertha Jane Michaella (04120090136)

external image 20090320233407.jpgMeutya Hafid was born in Bandung, West Java, 3May 1978. Always been interested being an anchor and start her career as a radio announcer in Australia she then became one of the most talented news anchor in Indonesian news oriented channel, Metro TV. She has hosted programs such as “Top Nine News,” “Today’s Dialogue” and “Metro Hari Ini.” Not only an anchor, she also has to be a reporter for big news such as military operations in Aceh (2004), second terrorist bombing in Bali (2005), and she also went to Iraq to cover a story following the fall of Saddam Hussein (2005).
While being a journalist, looking for news to report is her main priority. But she never has predicted that one day she will be the news. 18th February 2005, Meutia and her colleague Budiyanto was kidnapped and kept hostage for at least 8 days. Her last contact with the station was 3 days earlier, when they just arrived in Baghdad. This incident then right away became the top news nation wide and even worldwide. Indonesian government tried their best to negotiate with her kidnapper to get these journalists free unharmed. Kept in the cave in middle of a dessert between Ramadi City and Falujjah, she then described her adventure in the book she wrote; 168 Jam dalam Sandera: Memoar Seorang Jurnalis yang Disandera di Irak, published in 2007.
After all the dramatic come back from hostage and how she came back home safely to the country, then in the year of 2007 she received Elizabeth O'Neill Journalism Award from Australia. Meutia then followed the program in Australia to understand, appreciate and be more sensitive about contemporary issues that Indonesia and Australia faced. According to Ambassador Farmer (2007), “Meutya who was a leading presenter of Metro TV news and talk shows like Top Nine News, Today's Dialogue and Metro Today, it is the ‘most appropriate’ as a hardworking, professional and dedicated journalist with great experience.” In more recent time, 9 February 2012, Meutia became one of five most inspirational journalists together with Tirto Adhi Soerjo, Gunawan Mohamad, Rosihan Anwar and Andy F. Noya. She is the youngest to receive the award and this showed how her career and life experience has made her one of the most inspirational journalists in Indonesian media industry.
Being a journalist after the Soeharto era, Meutya Hafid then felt the press freedom that many journalists didn’t get in the era. Indonesia was and still is adapting to its democratic era where the positions of journalists shifted not to support the government, but to be the watchdog and the eye for Indonesian people. Meutia then did the same while doing her job; she became one of the most popular news anchor and report on to the world, being the watchdog to tell the truth to Indonesian citizens so that many then actually learn the truth about the country situation. If we then compare Indonesia before and after the Soeharto era, we will find that Indonesia seem to be in a stable condition within the economical growth and corruption problem. Yet what many Indonesian doesn’t realize is back in the Seoharto era, Indonesia was in semi-authoritarian press system. Every media were control by the government, they have to be supportive of government acts. If any of the media violate this rule, the media will loose their right to spread news to people. With this press system, many truths were hidden out away from the citizens, which were why Indonesia seems more stable if we compare with today’s situations. Pandji Pragiwaksono. (2012, June 12). Mem-Bieber: There is no news about corruptions; it does not mean there is no corruption. As written above, the ancient regime of Soeharto controlled the news. Reported, then they are gone.
external image 168+jam+dalam+sandera.jpgMoving away from the authoritarian press system to a more liberal press system, Indonesia is still struggling to practice a proper liberal press system. Meutya Hafid is one amongst many that try to do the best she could in being the watchdog to the government and how a journalist should always seek for the truth. Her experience being kidnapped in Iraq then became an eye opener to her and to many journalists, that in searching for news sometimes they do always have to make spontaneous decisions that could determine being dead or alive.
168 Jam dalam Sandera: Memoar Seorang Jurnalis yang Disandera di Irak (2007) was not only her description of the situation while being kidnapped, but also of how she see the world of journalism and how while searching for news sometimes they always have to be the news itself. Once she said “Only God that could fix this kind of destruction in Iraq. Their life conditions are as hopeless.”

Technology does not play a big part in her journalism career lately, as she is now a member of parliament of the Republic Indonesia. Her political career begun in 2010, when Meutya and H. Dhani Setiawan Isma become candidates for mayor and vice mayor of Binjai the period 2010-2015 carried by the Golkar Party, Democrats, Hanura, PAN, Patriot, P3I, PDS and 16 non-party's parliament faction Binjai. In August 2010, she was appointed a Member of Parliament of the Golkar Party to replace the deceased Burhanudin Napitupulu. Since then onwards her journalism career seems to be on a stagnant positions. She doesn’t write as much and she is no longer a news anchor at Metro TV as she doesn’t want to join the new party that her ex-boss Surya Paloh created, National Democrats.
Reading on her journalism career and how she is now a member of the Indonesian parliament that still struggle to fight for journalists right and how journalists should be treated equally and should always be supported while doing their job, this has become an encouragement for me as future journalist. Her experienced might not be written down in many national medias and she might quit from being a journalist now, but how her heart always struggle to give the best for fellow journalists made many other realized that are many people that are trying to give the best and to be the best in this industry.

Sources:
http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meutya_Hafid
http://meutyahafid.com/
http://www.indonesia.embassy.gov.au/jakt/MR07_071.html

To download Meutya Hafid book:
http://www.ideelok.com/file-lainnya/download-buku-168-jam-dalam-sandera