EngageMedia Blog

Serba Tak Pasti: Keamanan Digital Wartawan di Indonesia dan Filipina

by EM News December 18, 2017

Menurut Committee to Protect Journalists (CIJ), sebuah organisasi global yang mengadvokasi kebebasan pers, Filipina dinilai sebagai salah satu negara paling berbahaya bagi nyawa wartawan. Beberapa bulan lalu saja, seorang wartawan di Mindanao meregang nyawa setelah peluru menembus kepalanya. Di Indonesia, menjadi wartawan juga sama mencekamnya. Kasus demi kasus penyerangan terlaporkan dan menurut Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI), sebuah lembaga swadaya masyarakat, kasus kekerasan terhadap wartawan tengah meningkat. Sudah jelas, wartawan-wartawan di kedua negara ini dalam bahaya oleh karenanya mereka harus berupaya memproteksi diri mereka lebih baik lagi.

EngageMedia, sebagai bagian dari Cyber Steward Networks, melakukan serangkaian penelitian mengenai kondisi keamanan digital bagi wartawan di Indonesia dan Filipina. Dalam empat puluh wawancara, para wartawan mendiskusikan tingkat kesadaran mereka mengenai isu keamanan digital dan, jika ada, langkah-langkah dalam menanganinya.

Kami sebelumnya telah mempublikasikan hasil dari wawancara-wawancara kami di situs EngageMedia dalam dua unggahan blog: satu fokus pada kasus di Indonesia dan satu lagi di Filipina. Pembaca juga bisa menyaksikan video pendek yang kami buat untuk menjelaskan konteks Indonesia. Riset di dua negara ini memberikan peluang bagi studi komparasi. Di tulisan ini, kami akan menguraikan dan menganalisis beberapa isu terpenting mengenai keamanan digital yang tengah mencuat. Kami berharap tulisan ini memberikan wawasan lebih mengenai bagaimana wartawan mempersepsi dan mempraktikan keamanan digital.

Penyimpanan Data Online

Di era ini, wartawan umumnya menggunakan telepon genggam dan alat perekam digital untuk merekam wawancara. Semua foto, klip video, dan data audio menuntut tersedianya ruang penyimpanan data yang besar. Belum lagi data-data itu harus dijaga keamanannya, terutama dari pihak luar yang bisa punya niat jahat. Jika data-data kita simpan dengan melampirkannya dalam email, hal itu juga rawan karena email kita mudah diretas. Jika kita memilih ruang penyimpanan data cloud yang kini popular seperti Dropbox, Google Drive, atau Onedrive, data kita cenderung lebih aman. Data kita terenkripsi dan kita bisa membuat kata kunci yang berbeda bagi tiap aplikasi.

Meski demikian, tak ada satu pun dari alat penyimpanan data di atas yang menjamin keamanan data kita. Pemerintah dan industri hiburan (yang memproduksi komoditas yang ber-hak cipta) memberikan tekanan pada provider cloud untuk bisa mengakses sistem cloud untuk mencari apapun yang dianggap “illegal.” Edward Snowden bahkan menyatakan bahwa “Dropbox itu memusuhi privasi” dan ia juga menganjurkan kita untuk “menjauhi Google” dan pindah ke jasa penyimpanan data cloud lain seperti Spideroak yang mengenkripsi semua data dan menggaransi bahwa pihak Spideroak tak akan mampu mengakses data pelanggan mereka. Akhirnya, wartawan harus memahami aturan negara masing-masing mengenai jasa penyimpan data cloud.

Kami mendapati kenyataan yang mengejutkan bahwa wartawan di Indonesia sebagian besar tidak memahami masalah keamanan online (online safety) terutama berkenaan dengan keamanan jasa penyimpanan data. Dari sekian banyak wartawan yang kami wawancarai, hanya satu yang berupaya memproteksi data yang ia kumpulkan. Sebagian besar wartawan bekerja menggunakan laptop pribadi atau telepon pintar dan mereka menggunakan memori internal di laptop atau telepon pintar mereka untuk menyimpan data. Beberapa wartawan menyimpan informasi dengan memasukannya ke dalam arsip aplikasi percakapan seperti Whatsapp atau Line. Seorang wartawan mengatakan bahwa kantornya sering meminta wartawannya untuk menyimpan data atau mem-back up data di komputer kantor.

Ternyata, perusahaan media tempat para wartawan yang kami wawancarai bekerja tidak memiliki standar atau sistem baku mengenai penyimpanan data dan arsip. Lebih jauh lagi, wartawan yang menyimpan data di kantor umumnya tidak paham apakah data yang ia simpan di sana akan aman, dan apa yang terjadi jika data-data itu tidak tersimpan aman di sana. Di sebuah kantor media, kata kunci sebuah komputer bahkan dibagikan ke sesama karyawan di sana, hal ini berarti data bisa diakses, digunakan dan dihilangkan oleh banyak pihak. Berbagai wartawan mengonfirmasi bahwa membagi kata kunci adalah hal yang lumrah di kantor mereka.

Sementara itu, wartawan-wartawan senior di Filipina tidak membiasakan diri menyimpan informasi dalam perangkat elektronik mereka untuk menghindari peretas dan penyalahgunaan informasi. Ada beberapa wartawan yang kami wawancarai yang mengerti cara mengenkripsi data, namun mereka tidak secara konsisten mengenkripsi seluruh file mereka. Umumnya, wartawan di Filipina menganggap upaya mengamankan data dan mendalami sistem penyimpanan data online sebagai hal yang menantang. Butuh waktu banyak dan dukungan peralatan yang memadai dan biasanya mereka tak memiliki itu.

Enkripsi Data

Satu dari beberapa cara terbaik untuk mengamankan data adalah dengan enkripsi. Di Indonesia kita tidak banyak menemukan wartawan yang secara aktif mengenkripsi data, meski pengetahuan dasar mengenai enkripsi mudah didapat. Keengganan mengenkripsi biasanya dikarenakan kurangnya pengetahuan mengenai apa itu enkripsi dan bagaimana ia bekerja. Realita di mana wartawan-wartawan di Indonesia mempraktikan data enkripsi sehari-hari sepertinya tidak akan terjadi dalam waktu dekat. Terlebih, tak satupun dari perusahaan media tempat wartawan yang kami wawancarai bekerja mempromosikan penggunaan enkripsi data.

Di Filipina, kami menemukan beberapa wartawan yang menggunakan alat enkripsi data. Namun, mereka tidak menggunakannya dengan konsisten dan praktik enkripsi tidak terintegrasi dengan budaya kerja sehari-hari. Setidaknya, wartawan di Filipina memiliki kesadaran lebih untuk melindungi data mereka dengan tidak menyimpan data yang sensitif secara digital.

Pengawasan Digital

Wartawan-wartawan di Indonesia dan Filipina umumnya tidak menyadari cakupan dari pengawasan digital (digital surveillance). Pengawasan biasanya dipersepsi sebagai pengawasan fisik, seperti dibuntuti oleh aparat pemerintah atau aparat sebuah perusahaan. Sebuah contoh dari kasus pengawasan digital terjadi di kawasan terpencil di Indonesia timur. Karena takut diancam dan diintimidasi seorang wartawan di sana mematikan telpon genggam ketika harus mendatangi kawasan tertentu, ia menghidupkan kembali telpon genggamnya setelah kembali ke daerah yang ia rasa aman. Dengan demikian, wartawan itu yakin bahwa pemerintah dan aparat militer tahu posisi keberadaanya. Wartawan lain yang bertugas di Jakarta mengatakan bahwa ia berhenti menggunakan akun sosial media agar aman dari intimidasi atau ancaman dari politisi dan atau pendukung sang politisi. Di Filipina, beberapa wartawan lebih memilih bertemu secara tatap muka dengan narasumber yang memiliki informasi sensitif dan menghindari penggunaan alat rekam karena mereka tahu ada resiko penyadapan.

Dari kasus di Indonesia dan Filipina, menjadi jelas bahwa wartawan di kedua negara ini sebagian besar masih tidak paham bagaimana internet bekerja, sehingga mereka tidak paham bagaimana pengawasan digital bekerja dan dampak dari internet yang mereka gunakan bagi keamanan digital mereka. Meskipun wartawan sadar bahwa pemerintah melakukan pengawasan, mereka tidak memahami level kecanggihan metode pengawasan yang sekarang bisa dilakukan negara.

Komunikasi antara Wartawan dan Narasumber

Kepraktisan adalah kualitas paling penting yang dicari oleh wartawan di Indonesia dalam berkomunikasi dengan narasumber mereka. Wartawan harus bisa menghubungi narasumber mereka dengan mudah dan cepat. Oleh karenanya mereka menggunakan platform yang sudah dikenal dan mudah untuk digunakan (seperti Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Line) untuk berkomunikasi. Hampir semua wartawan merekam wawancara-wawancara mereka dalam telpon genggam yang juga merupakan telpon pribadi mereka. Meskipun mereka sadar ada resiko yang mengancam, kepraktisan penggunaan telpon genggam mereka nilai lebih penting. Semua wartawan yang kami wawancarai mengatakan bahwa mereka mau mengganti perangkat mereka dengan yang lebih aman, asalkan praktis digunakan. Akhir-akhir ini, perusahaan media di Indonesia justru mendorong wartawan mereka untuk aktif menggunakan sosial media dan saluran komunikasi yang tidak aman lainnya, jadi hanya sedikit motivasi bagi para wartawan di Indonesia untuk beralih ke platform yang lebih aman.

Di Filipina, para wartawan lebih peka terhadap praktik komunikasi yang aman, namun tidak berarti mereka menggunakan saluran komunikasi yang terenkripsi. Keluhan yang sering terdengar adalah bahwa mereka tidak bisa memaksa narasumber mereka untuk berkomunikasi dengan cara yang mereka kehendaki. Justru biasanya sang narasumber yang berinisiatif untuk mengubah protokol atau cara berkomunikasi ke yang lebih aman. Dan jika narasumbernya tidak berinisiatif untuk mengubah cara berkomunikasi ke yang lebih aman, sang wartawan biasanya tidak proaktif mengusulkan cara yang lebih aman.

Secara keseluruhan, kami mengobservasi bahwa kepraktisan sangatlah penting. Jika sebuah sarana atau platform tidak secara masif digunakan dan tidak praktis, wartawan tidak akan tertarik menggunakannya, meskipun sarana itu lebih aman.

Komunikasi antar Wartawan dan dengan Perusahaan Media

Di samping menerima informasi langsung (seperti tatap muka atau panggilan telpon) dari kantor mereka (agensi media/perusahaan media), wartawan di Indonesia juga menerima dalam jumlah besar informasi dari grup-grup Whatsapp. Grup-grup Whatsapp ini memiliki jumlah yang sangat banyak, sebagian besar adalah wartawan, dan grup ini menjadi ruang berdiskusi mengenai apa saja. Di Indonesia, banyak wartawan mengatakan bahwa mereka banyak belajar dari grup-grup ini. Kebanyakan percakapan penting antar wartawan terjadi di media sosial dan grup-grup Whatsap.

Beberapa perusahaan media di Indonesia menggunakan Whatsapp untuk berkoordinasi dengan reporter mereka di lapangan. Lagi-lagi hal ini dikarenakan saluran ini adalah yang paling praktis dan cepat untuk berkomunikasi. Penggunaan email semakin terasa usang. Email semakin dianggap tidak bisa diandalkan di dalam era live chat dan streaming. Para wartawan di Indonesia mengeluh bahwa email seringkali tidak dibalas atau mereka menunggu balasan terlalu lama.

Ada perdebatan yang tengah berlangsung mengenai keamanan penggunaan Whatsapp. Konsensus umum menyatakan bahwa sejak Facebook, sebagai pemilik Whatsapp, memperkenalkan end-to-end encryption pada Whatsapp di tahun 2016, aplikasi ini semakin aman. Untuk pemahanan sederhana mengenai perbedaan antara enkripsi dan enkripsi end-to-end dan juga sebagai saran praktis mengenai bagaimana agar percakapan online kita aman, silakan baca artikel mengenai NetAlert. Seperti wartawan yang kami wawancarai, pengembang alat komunikasi online harus menyeimbangkan antara kegunaan dan keamanan. Untungnya perubahan tengah terus digenjot. Setidaknya, para wartawan terus up-to-date terhadap syarat dan kebijakan privasi (terms and privacy policies) dalam aplikasi komunikasi online yang mereka gunakan.

Sementara itu di Filipina, kebanyakan wartawan yang kami wawancarai menggunakan Facebook untuk berkomunikasi. Ada cukup banyak perusahaan media yang menggunakan Grup-grup Facebook sebagai sarana penugasan reportase. Kebanyakan dari wartawan di sana menggunakan satu akun Facebook untuk urusan pekerjaan dan urusan pribadi. Bagi mereka, Facebook mempermudah dan mempercepat urusan mereka.

Wartawan Paruh Waktu versus Wartawan Tetap

Beberapa agensi berita di Filipina menentukan standar bagi wartawannya dalam penggunaan sosial media. Meski demikian, sulit ditemukan standar dalam urusan keamanan digital. Berbagi perangkat digital masih sangat umum dilakukan di tempat kerja mereka dan tidak banyak yang mereka lakukan untuk mengamankan data mereka. Selama acara forum publik yang kami gelar di Manila, ada rekomendasi bahwa agensi-agensi media semestinya mulai fokus pada keamanan digital. Menurut seorang peserta forum, agensi media saat ini tidak memiliki mekanisme akuntabilitas. Oleh karenanya, agensi-agensi besar seharusnya mulai menerapkan standar keamanan kerja terhadap wartawan-wartawannya dan menjadi yang terdepan dalam penerapan kebijakan keamanan digital.

Keadaan di Indonesia tidak berbeda, agensi-agensi media tidak memiliki kebijakan keamanan digital bahkan aturan minimal mengenai keamanan digital juga tak mampu mereka tegakkan. Para wartawan saling berbagi kata kunci komputer, sebuah perangkat digital digunakan baik untuk keperluan professional maupun personal. Kami bahkan mendengar lebih dari sekali bahwa transkrip wawancara dan dokumentasi milik narasumber disimpan di aplikasi percakapan Whatsapp. Para wartawan yang kami wawancarai tidak menganggap hal-hal itu sebagai masalah.

Di Filipina, wartawan paruh waktu tidak memiliki standar keamanan digital sama sekali. Keamanan dinilai atas dasar pengetahuan dan pengalaman pribadi belaka tanpa standar yang jelas. Di Indonesia, wartawan paruh waktu tidak kami wawancarai.

Pelatihan

Di Filipina, semua wartawan menyatakan bahwa mereka ingin memperketat keamanan digital mereka. Hasil wawancara memperlihatkan bahwa para wartawan punya keinginan untuk mengikuti pelatihan keamanan digital. Baru-baru ini pihak yang menawarkan pelatihan biasanya adalah kelompok-kelompok pembela hak-hak digital (digital rights) secara umum yang tidak menekankan isu-isu keamanan digital dalam kehidupan sehari-hari terutama untuk wartawan.

Pelatihan keamanan digital harus sampai menyentuh ranah praktik dan mulai fokus pada realita pekerjaan wartawan. Contohnya, dalam situasi di mana seorang wartawan baru menyelesaikan sebuah wawancara dan merekamnya dalam telpon pintar, apa yang harus ia lakukan terlebih dulu sebelum ia mengakses internet lagi dengan telpon yang sama? Atau, bagaimana data ini harus ditransfer dengan aman ke kantor? Seorang jurnalis senior yang kami wawancara bahkan menyarankan bahwa perusahaan media yang lebih besar dan juga universitas harus menetapkan standar dan menawarkan pelatihan keamanan dan keselamatan digital kepada wartawan-wartawan dan mahasiswa jurnalistik.

Di Indonesia, tak satupun wartawan ditawari pelatihan keamanan digital selama mereka bekerja. Mereka langsung dikirim ke lapangan tanpa dibekali pengetahuan keamanan digital telebih dulu. Para wartawan mempelajari keamanan digital biasanya dari teman-temannya, mereka berbagi pengalaman dan tips. Yang mengejutkan, hanya sebagian kecil saja dari mereka memiliki ketertarikan untuk mempelajari lebih lanjut keamanan digital. Wartawan di Indonesia umumnya merasa keadaan aman-aman saja. Terlebih, para wartawan di Indonesia umumnya tidak tahu bahwa pelatihan keamanan digital itu sebetulnya ada. Situasi di Indonesia sungguh kontras dengan tingginya keinginan untuk mempelajari keamanan digital dalam diri para wartawan yang kami wawancarai di Filipina.

Di kedua negara, kami tidak mendapati wartawan yang aktif mempelajari keamanan digital. Kebanyakan wartawan bahkan terkejut bahwa internet menyediakan pengetahuan yang amat banyak tentang keamanan digital.

Edukasi

Di Filipina, sekitar 50 persen wartawan tidak memiliki latar belakang pendidikan di bidang jurnalistik. Mereka rata-rata masuk ke ranah jurnalistik melalui keaktifan mereka di kampus sebagai wartawan majalah atau koran kampus. Di Filipina, keamanan digital bukan bagian dari kurikulum pendidikan jurnalistik. Hanya program pasca sarjana di University of the Philippines yang menawarkan kelas mengenai media dan teknologi, kelas ini mendiskusikan keamanan digital meski tidak terlalu terstruktur.

Di Indonesia, 90 persen wartawan mengecap pendidikan jurnalistik atau berkuliah di program studi jurnalistik. Meski demikian, materi perkuliahan mengenai keamanan digital absen dari kurikulum jurusan jurnalistik di Indonesia. Kami melakukan penelusuran mengenai kurikulum program studi jurnalisme di Indonesia dan hingga hari ini tidak ada satupun kampus jurnalistik yang memberikan perhatian kepada keamanan digital. Seorang wartawan mengatakan bahwa peningkatan keterampilan jurnalistik bisa didapat dengan mengikuti workshop atau dengan bergabung dengan pers mahasiswa di masing-masing kampus.

Oleh karenanya, untuk menjadi seorang wartawan seseorang tidak mutlak memerlukan ijazah jurnalistik. Melainkan lebih ditentukan oleh pola pikir dan gairah untuk menulis berita. Materi pengetahuan dan keterampilan mengenai keamanan digital oleh karenanya lebih cocok diberikan kepada wartawan yang sudah aktif di lapangan.

Kesimpulan

Kami bisa menyimpulkan bahwa baik di Indonesia maupun di Filipina, kesadaran wartawan terhadap keamanan digital itu rendah. Situasi ini tercermin dari praktik bekerja mereka yang tidak aman. Di Filipina, kesadaran wartawan tentang keamanan digital lebih baik dibandingkan dengan wartawan di Indonesia.

Wartawan itu rentan mendapatkan ancaman dan intimidasi di dunia maya, meski demikian mereka tidak dapat banyak dukungan dari perusahaan media tempat mereka bekerja untuk mengantisipasi ancaman dan intimidasi itu. Kesempatan untuk mempelajari keamanan digital tersedia dan sangat mudah didapat di internet, namun para wartawan tidak banyak yang mengetahuinya, atau enggan mengaksesnya. Karena materi keamanan digital di internet kebanyakan berbahasa Inggris, kendala bahasa juga bisa menjadi sebuah faktor penghambat.

Wartawan ada dalam kondisi sulit untuk membuat perubahan. Agensi-agensi media tidak punya kebijakan keamanan digital dan tidak memiliki tanggung jawab untuk mulai mendorong praktik pengamanan data digital dalam organisasi mereka. Pilihan untuk menggunakan sarana komunikasi dan sarana penyimpanan data digital umumnya dipicu oleh tawaran dari narasumber dan jejaring komunikasi yang ada.

Sarana komunikasi yang popular tidak serta merta memiilki protokol keamanan yang memadai. Sejak Whatsapp memperkenalkan enkripsi end-to-end, aplikasi percakapan ini memang menjadi lebih aman. Ini merupakan hal penting karena Whatsapp sangat popular digunakan oleh wartawan, terutama di Indonesia, sebagai alat rekam wawancarai dan untuk menjalin komunikasi dengan narasumber atau dengan kolega.

State of Uncertainty: Digital Security of Journalists in Indonesia and the Philippines

by EM News December 22, 2017

In August, a Filipino journalist was shot to death as he rode his motorcycle in Mindanao. It’s the latest death in a country that the Committee to Protect Journalists (CIJ), a global advocate for press freedom, ranks as one of the deadliest countries in the world for journalists.

Nor is Indonesia far behind. Regular cases of assault are reported in this country and violence against journalists is on the rise, according to the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), a nongovernmental union.

It is clear that journalists in both these countries are at risk and need to better protect themselves, so EngageMedia conducted research to better understand the current status of digital security for Indonesian and Philippine journalists, and to compare the difference between these countries.

This work was done as part of the Cyber Stewards Network and involved interviewing over 40 Indonesian and Philippine journalists about their awareness of digital security issues, and what they were doing to keep safe.

We have shared the results of these interviews in two previous blog posts: one on Indonesia and the other one on the Philippines. You can also watch our short video that explains the Indonesian context.

In this new blog post, we will outline and comment on some of the most important issues that came up, and provide more insight on how journalists perceive and practise digital security.

Online Data Storage

Today, journalists predominantly use mobile phones and digital recording devices to record interviews. All these photographs, video clips and audio files require a considerable amount of storage space, and that data storage needs to be secure so that people can’t access these files without permission.

If a journalist saves data by attaching it to an email, anyone hacking his or her email account can access those files. Stored data is slightly safer when journalists use popular cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Google Drive or Onedrive. The data is encrypted and separate passwords are needed.

However, none of these cloud storage providers can guarantee the safety of your data. Governments and the entertainment industry are also putting increasing pressure on these companies to search for anything deemed “illegal”, which means there are certain provider employees that can access the stored data.

Edward Snowden has even stated that “Dropbox is hostile to privacy” and he also urges users to “avoid Google” and switch to cloud storage services like Spideroak, which encrypts all data and guarantees that it can’t access the files of its users.

Finally, journalists should be aware of the laws in their respective countries regarding cloud storage.

Strikingly, Indonesian journalists are generally unaware about the online safety of their data storage. Only one of the interviewed journalists put some effort into protecting their collected data.

Most journalists work on their personal laptops or mobile phones and use the internal phone and/or laptop memory to store data. Others save information by storing it inside the archives of chat applications like WhatsApp or Line.

A journalist working for a media company told us that employers often ask journalists to save their data at the office and/or back it up on an internal computer. However, these media companies have no standards or systems for storage and archives. Furthermore, the journalists who stored data at the office didn’t really know what happened to it or whether it was stored safely.

At one particular office, computer passwords are also shared amongst colleagues, which means stored data can easily be accessed, used and/or altered. Other journalists confirmed that sharing passwords is a common practice at their workplaces.

Overall, Philippine journalists were more aware of data security and took better care of their data than their Indonesian counterparts although they still struggled with the day-to-day challenges of ensuring secure data storage.

Most veteran journalists in the Philippines do not keep any sensitive information on electronic devices, because they feel they might be hacked. In general, journalists in the Philippines find it challenging to ensure better filing and storage systems, as it requires more time and resources, which they usually do not have.

Data Encryption

One of the best ways to secure data is through encryption. In Indonesia, we didn’t find any journalists encrypting data although they had some basic knowledge of encryption. Their reluctance to encrypt is usually due to a lack of understanding about what encryption actually is and how it works. And none of their employers are encouraging the practice.

It’s seems unlikely that Indonesian journalists will incorporate data encryption practices into their everyday working habits, anytime soon.

In the Philippines, we found some journalists using data encryption tools. However, they didn’t do it consistently and these processes were not integrated into their working practices.

Digital Surveillance

Journalists in both countries are generally unaware of what digital surveillance entails. Surveillance is mostly perceived as physical surveillance i.e. government officials or company security officials following them around.

An example of digital surveillance awareness was found in a remote area of Indonesia. One interviewed journalist in the Eastern part of Indonesia reported turning off his mobile phone when he was heading to a certain region because he was afraid of being harassed or intimidated. He would only turn it back on after returning. By doing so, the journalist tried to make sure the government and the military were not aware of his whereabouts.

Another journalist in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, reportedly stopped using all social media accounts to protect himself from intimidation or threats by politicians and/or their followers.

In the Philippines, some journalists prefer to meet face to face with sensitive sources, and they don’t use any devices when meeting them, as they know they are vulnerable to being compromised.

However, it is clear that journalists in both countries are still hugely unaware of how the internet works, and so they don’t understand how digital surveillance works or the impact of their own internet usage on their digital security.

Although journalists are aware that governments conduct surveillance, they are not aware of the sophisticated surveillance methods and tools that states have at their disposal.

Communication Between Journalists and Sources

In Indonesia, practicality is the most important quality for journalists when it comes to communicating with sources. Journalists need to contact their sources quickly and easily, so they use existing easy-to-use, well-known platforms (e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Line) to communicate.

Almost all Indonesian journalists record interviews on mobile phones, which are also for personal use. Even though they are aware of the security risks, ease of use is deemed more important. All the interviewed journalists said they would be willing to use safer communication channels so long as they were simple to use.

Currently, media companies in Indonesia encourage their journalists to use social media and insecure channels to communicate, so there is little incentive for Indonesian journalists to switch to safer platforms.

In the Philippines, journalists are more conscious of safer communication practices, but do not generally use encrypted communication channels. An often-heard complaint is that they cannot force their sources to use certain kinds of communication channels.

If the journalists use different protocols or safer ways of communication, the sources have generally initiated their use. And if the source does not suggest a secure manner of communicating, the journalist does not usually offer safer measures.

Overall, practicality is pivotal for journalists in both countries. If a tool or platform does not have a large user base and is not easy to use, journalists will not be interested in using it, even if it supports more secure communication.

Communication Among Journalists and With Their Agencies

Apart from receiving information directly (e.g. in person or through a phone call) from their employers (agencies/media companies), Indonesian journalists get the bulk of their information through WhatsApp groups.

These WhatsApp groups have a large number of members and they're mostly journalists who discuss just about anything. In Indonesia, many journalists said they learned a lot through these groups. Most of the important conversations between journalists take place through social media and WhatsApp groups.

Some Indonesian media companies are using WhatsApp to coordinate with reporters on the ground, and journalists told us it is the fastest and most practical way to communicate. Emails are also becoming obsolete because they are generally regarded as unreliable in the era of live chat and streaming. Indonesian journalists complain that emails often receive no response or they have to wait too long for an answer.

But there’s ongoing debate about the safety of WhatsApp. Since the platform’s owner, Facebook, introduced end-to-end encryption to WhatsApp in 2016, the general consensus is that the product has become a lot safer.

For a simple overview of the differences between encryption and end-to-end encryption, as well as valuable practical advice on how to keep your chats secure, read this NetAlert article.

Just like the journalists we interviewed, developers of online communication tools must strike a balance between usability and security, and thankfully changes are constantly being made. At best, journalists stay up to date on the terms and privacy policies of the online communication services they are using.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, most of the interviewed reporters primarily use Facebook to communicate. There is even a media outlet that uses Facebook Groups to send reporting assignments to their teams. Most of the journalists use the same account on Facebook to communicate for both work and personal reasons. For them, it’s easier to use Facebook as it’s faster.

Freelance Journalists Versus Agency-based

Several news agencies in the Philippines impose standards on their journalists for social media use. However, we found hardly any standards on digital security. Sharing of devices is still commonplace and little is done to safely manage the data stored on them.

During our public event in Manila, a strong recommendation was made for major news agencies to start focusing on digital security. According to participants in the forum, news agencies currently have no accountability mechanisms. They argue that bigger agencies should start imposing safe working standards on their journalists and become the front-runners of digital security policies.

The situation in Indonesia is similar. Agencies have no digital security policy in place, and they are not enforcing the few rules relating to digital security. Journalists share passwords to computers, devices are used both personally and professionally, and more than once we heard of interview transcripts and the documentation of sources being saved in WhatsApp chats. Interviewed journalists did not see this as a problem.

In the Philippines, freelance journalists did not have any standards at all. They just try to stay safe according to their own judgement. In Indonesia, we did not interview any freelance journalists.

Training

In the Philippines, all interviewed journalists said they wanted to strengthen their digital security. Our interview results show there is interest among journalists to undergo digital security training. Currently, the organisations offering training are digital rights advocacy groups who address digital security issues in ways that do not relate to the everyday reality of journalists.

Digital security trainings should therefore be more practical and focus on the working reality of journalists. For instance, in a situation where a journalist has just finished an interview and recorded it on his/her phone, what should they do before going online again with that device? Or how should this data be transmitted safely to the office?

A veteran journalist we interviewed suggested that bigger media companies and universities should set the trend and offer digital safety and security trainings to reporters and aspiring journalism students.

In Indonesia, none of the journalists were offered training before or during their employment. They were simply sent into the field to start working. These journalists usually learn by sharing experiences and tips with their peers.

Surprisingly, few journalists were actually interested in learning more about digital security. The general feeling is that things are safe. Moreover, journalists in Indonesia were largely unaware of the possibility of training themselves in digital security and that such trainings existed.

In both countries, we found no journalists educating themselves. Many were surprised to learn that there is a wealth of information available online about digital security.

Education

In the Philippines, around 50 percent of journalists have not received any formal education in journalism. Instead, they entered the field through their activities as writers for university newspapers and magazines.

Digital security is not part of journalistic education although a new post-grad course on media and technology at the University of the Philippines does discuss digital security issues, albeit not in any structured form.

In Indonesia, almost 90 percent of the interviewed journalists received formal education that focused on journalism or they attended journalism schools. However,  information and teaching on digital security was absent in all programs.

Our desktop research in Indonesia also shows that there is no attention given to digital security at the major higher education institutions offering degrees in journalism. One journalist also told us that more advanced journalistic skills were gained by attending workshops or by joining student press clubs in university.

In general, a degree in journalism is not always required to become a journalist in both these countries; it’s more about the mindset and passion for writing stories. It is therefore best to give any additional education to journalists already in the field.

Conclusion

Journalists’ awareness of digital security is low in both Indonesia and the Philippines. This situation is reflected in their often-unsafe working practices - although awareness of digital security issues is better among journalists in the Philippines than among Indonesian journalists.

Journalists are vulnerable and do not receive much support from their agencies. There is online information on how to digitally protect yourself, but journalists are generally unaware of these opportunities or don’t make use of them. Most of the online resources are in English so the language barrier could also be a factor.

Journalists are also in a difficult position to make changes. Agencies have no digital security policies and do not feel obliged to start pushing for better digital security practices within their organisations.

Sources and networks influence journalists’ choice of communication and storage tools, but these popular tools may not have secure communication protocols. WhatsApp, a popular tool, has become safer to use since end-to-end encryption was introduced in 2016. This is especially important for Indonesia where the majority of interviewed journalists are highly dependent on WhatsApp for communication and storage.

Besides training, more effort should be put into raising awareness of digital security, and we hope our research is a step in the right direction. Please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below with your thoughts, as we are keen to continue this important conversation.

Pocket Power: A Mobile Video Production Workshop at COCONET

by EM News January 08, 2018

As part of EngageMedia’s syllabus on using video for social change, our Communications and Outreach Coordinator conducted a number of related sessions at COCONET, the Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp.

One of these was the workshop on mobile video production, with was held with a group of participants from across the region, working in various fields such as journalism, human rights activism and digital security. The goal of the workshop was to explain the usefulness of mobile devices to document and advocate critical social issues, the social impact that effective video content can have, and teach participants how to produce short videos themselves.

The session began with a sharing of statistics and examples of how mobile video is used and consumed, after which participants were taken through a detailed list of best practices for recording on mobile devices. These included technical considerations such as stability, lighting, sound, quality settings and memory, but also ethical considerations such as privacy and security for both documenters and subjects. Co-facilitator Prakkash from WITNESS also shared some tools and tips for recording video as evidence.

We then conducted an exercise, where the facilitators interviewed each other and all participants were asked to record the scene as if they were journalists live at the scene. This spontaneous segment was useful to practice and reflect on the technical aspects that were shared earlier and how to maximize the somewhat limited capabilities of mobile devices. Here, Prakkash also showed some gadgets that could be purchased to help improve the quality of footage recorded on mobile phones, such as mobile tripods and portable microphones.

The second half of the workshop involved taking participants through the essentials of recording preplanned video interviews. To make their footage look as professional as possible, they were shown how to frame their shots using the rule of thirds and enhancing them by looking more closely at location, lighting and context. Other topics that were touched on included the 5 basic shots in videography, cutaways, storyboarding, mobile and desktop editing tools, and online sharing platforms.

After a demonstration on how to position their crew, the participants were then put into groups of four where they assigned each other as interviewers, interviewees, videographers and directors. Using all the principles they had learned so far, they were assigned to produce one minute video interviews. The groups came with a great four videos, which were shared to entire group and evaluated collectively, with comments made on the content and technical quality.

We concluded the session by looking at measuring the qualitative and quantitative impact of online video. We also reiterated the importance for civil society to use online video in their work, sharing a statistic that states that, “By 2021, internet video traffic will account for over 80% of all consumer Internet traffic.” Video is the medium of the future, and we’re all able to harness it’s power using the tool in our pockets.

Find out more about COCONET, the Southeast Asia Digital Rights Camp here.