Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information

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The Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information (ISAI) "is a non-profit non-governmental organization established in 1994 and dedicated to journalism training and media research.

"Journalists Goenawan Mohamad, Fikri Jufri, Aristides Katoppo, radio broadcaster Muhammad Sunjaya as well as scholars Mochtar Pabottingi and Ashadi Siregar set up the Jakarta-based organization to enhance the development of independent and free media in Indonesia. A few months earlier the Indonesian government had closed down three news weeklies to silence the most critical parts of the mainstream media. The closure prompted thousands of people to protest the action. Goenawan, the chief editor of the long-established Tempo magazine, believed that the struggle should be institutionalized for a long-term fight.

"But ISAI is not involved directly in advocacy work. It prefers to train students and younger journalists about professional journalism. It annually holds the widely known "ISAI AWARD" competition among alternative media organizations in Indonesia. The top ten winners of the award are invited to participate in a one-week technical training in Jakarta before joining several mainstream newspapers such as The Jakarta Post, the leading English-language newspaper in Indonesia, for a three-week internship.

"ISAI also monitors media development in Indonesia, recording the day-to-day affairs of Indonesian journalism from the closure of a newspaper to the killing of journalists. It also has published books on current and media-related issues. With the opening of the media in May 1998 following the ouster of President Soeharto, ISAI formed a separate radio division, Radio 68H, to produce and distribute news programs via the Internet and by satellite to a network of radio stations throughout the country.

"Goenawan is now the director of ISAI. He is helped by a number of young journalists and staffers. Altogether ISAI employs 23 people. Its office is located in the Theater Utan Kayu complex in eastern Jakarta, a popular meeting place for journalists, artists and scholars. The complex also hosts an art gallery, a theater, a bookshop, Cafe Tempo and other cultural and art-related organizations." [1]