Australian Embassy

Meutya Hafid Wins Australian Press Award

Media Release

11 October 2007

Meutya Hafid Wins Australian Press Award

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia Bill Farmer said he was delighted that local TV journalist, Meutya Hafid, had been selected as inaugural winner of the Elizabeth O'Neill Journalism Award.

The Award, to be conferred each year on one Australian and one Indonesian journalist, is in memory of former Embassy Press Attaché Liz O’Neill, who tragically died in service on 7 March 2007 in a plane crash in Yogyakarta.

Under the Award, Meutya Hafid, a news reporter and anchor with Metro TV, and the Australian winner Joanna McCarthy, a journalist with ABC’s Radio Australia, will undertake a three week program in-country to build a stronger understanding and appreciation of the issues facing contemporary Indonesia and Australia. The program will commence in Australia and Indonesia in the coming months.

Ambassador Farmer said Ms Hafid, the anchor for Metro TV’s prime time news and talk shows Top Nine News, Today's Dialogue and Metro Hari Ini, was a “highly appropriate” choice as a hard-working, professional and dedicated journalist with an excellent record.

Farmer said Liz O’Neill would have been “extremely proud” that a young reporter of Ms Hafid’s qualities would be the inaugural winner of a professional award in her name.

“As someone who worked tirelessly to support and build links with the Indonesian media, Liz would also have been delighted with the very strong field of quality young journalists who were among the leading nominees for this year’s award,” Farmer said.

These included RCTI news presenter and reporter Isyana Bagoes Oka, ANTV reporter and presenter Muhammad Faried Hasan, Metro TV news reporter and anchor Tommy Tjokro, Rakyat Merdeka Executive Editor for International Affairs Kartika Sari, Jakarta Post international reporter Abdul Khalik, Metro TV news anchor Frida Lidwina and Kompas international reporter Luki Aulia.

“The fact that Indonesia’s burgeoning news media is blessed with so many journalists of this quality is a real positive for the Indonesian people and democracy in this country,” Farmer said. “A quality news media plays such a critical role in ensuring public accountability and in informing broader public debate.”

The Ambassador said that as Public Affairs Counsellor at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Liz had worked extensively with both the Australian and Indonesian media to foster a better understanding of both countries through accurate and informed media coverage.

He hoped the Elizabeth O'Neill Journalism Award would “help ensure that Liz’s work to strengthen the ties of friendship between Indonesia and Australia will not be forgotten”.

The Award is sponsored by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australia-Indonesia Institute (AII), and is open to print, radio, television and internet journalists. Each year, the program will be tailored to the journalist’s areas of expertise and reporting responsibilities in such areas as foreign and trade policy, development assistance, culture, people-to-people links, and education.

The Australian winner, Ms McCarthy, one of Radio Australia’s most promising young journalists, has extensive experience with current affairs programs such as Connect Asia, Asia Pacific and Pacific Beat.

The Asia Pacific program is broadcast in Indonesia on Radio Australia and across Australia on Radio National and News Radio, giving Ms McCarthy a unique audience in both countries.

Further information:
John Williams (Counsellor, Public Affairs) Tel. (021) 2550 5290 mob. 0812 1053 989