The Yogyakarta branch of Aliansi Jurnalis Indepen (AJI) released survey findings that a living wage for journalists in Yogyakarta would be Rp 3,147,980 (US$346) per month, over three times the 2011 provincial minimum wage of 808,000 (US$89) per month. They also found that while many journalists receive monthly wages, often journalists are paid by the story, with a rates below Rp. 25,000 (US$2.76) per story.
AJI is also calling for a sector-based minimum wage system. This is the first time I have heard of such a proposal and would be interested to know where unions in other sectors stand on this issue.
Finally, the AJI made an argument for higher wages for journalists based the important role they play in a democratic political system:
“This is very concerning especially because as the fourth pillar of democracy, journalists play an important role in maintaining press freedom that we have been enjoying for the last few years,” said Bambang who himself is a Yogyakarta-based freelance journalist. When journalists do not receive a decent salary, he said, they would be easily tempted to do something that might endanger their independence and the quality of their reporting. This could be a serious threat to the people’s rights to receive true information as guaranteed by laws.