Thursday, July 19, 2018
An investigative report by Tempo and Free Press Unlimited exposed an organised network of human trafficking between Indonesia and Malaysia. On June 13th 2018, almost a year after the publication, the report received honourable mention at the 'SOPA 2018 Awards for Editorial Excellence in the category Excellence in Investigative Reporting'.

Journalistic quality

The investigation unveils the illegal maid trade between Indonesia en Malaysia. Since the start of their investigation in September 2016, the report exposed an organised network of human trackers spanning between Malaysia and certain parts of Indonesia. The report is a collaboration between Tempo and Free Press Unlimited and part of the Investigative Fellowships programme. For the investigation in this specific story, Tempo joined hands and collaborated with the online news portal Malaysiakini.

Impressive journalistic collaboration

The jury's comment on this investigative journalistic report was: "Impressive cross-border collaboration, bolstered by careful documentation and tenacious work tracking down all the players and convincing them to speak".

Tempo is very happy with this recognition. Mardiyah Chamin, head of the organisation says: "For me, this is a rewarding process. Especially these days when corruption knows no boundaries, the  stories* are a great example of journalistic work and collaboration." "We should share this achievement with our readers, it proves that investigative reporting is more and more relevant these days,” says Arif Zulkifli, Chief Editor at Tempo, who already initiated an article about this achievement in the July edition of the Tempo Magazine.

Printing press of Tempo Magazine
The Tempo Magazine on the printing press, Indonesia.

Enhance the role of the media

With the Investigative Fellowship programme, Tempo and Free Press Unlimited strive to enhance the role of media in investigating and exposing corruption, human rights abuse and environmental degradation to reach wider impact and prompt responsive action. Since the start of the project ten high-quality investigations were conducted by investigative journalists. The investigation into the illegal maid trade was one of them. 

Ruth de Vries, team leader at Free Press Unlimited: "We are proud that this honourable mention was awarded, it is well deserved. Our aim was to create a culture of investigative journalism in Indonesia. Investigative journalism can be a very effective way to increase transparency and to hold powers to account. We partnered with Tempo because of the long track record they have in the country and the shared goal to create a new generation of investigative reporters throughout the country."

About the SOPA Awards

'The Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) 2018 Awards for Editorial Excellence' is the biggest association of publishers in Asia. Their mission is to recognize and celebrate the highest standards of journalistic quality and integrity. The 'SOPA Awards for Editorial Excellence' are regarded as the golden standard against which Asia’s best journalists and publishers are measured. 

The jury members are 90 high-standing journalists, editors and publishers from Asia, among others: Bloomberg Asia, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The New York Times, China Morning Post, The Guardian, The Associated Press, ABC News Australia, CNN and The Economist Group.

Thumbnail Tempo article Trafficking humans to Malaysia SOPA
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*The second story that was awarded by SOPA is the one about Indonesian slaves on Taiwanese ships. Read all about this story and Tempo's investigation.