In the period 16-20 October 2017, thirty-nine judges from courts of the Maluku and Papua regions received training for press judges* as part of the Judicial Sector Support Program (JSSP). This was the first training of its kind to be delivered in Indonesia, and it was organised in collaboration with the Dutch Studiecentrum Rechtspleging (SSR) and the Indonesian Judicial Training Centre (JTC).
*The press judge is the spokesperson who answers to the media on behalf of the court.
The training was the result of a needs assessment conducted jointly by SSR and JTC in November 2016, which revealed that Indonesian press judges did not receive training prior to their appointment. It was however acknowledged that it would be important for them to have the public communication skills required to allow a better understanding of the courts.
This was also the first attempt by JTC to try out blended learning in the form of combining an e-learning module with in-class training. Knowledge materials were shared via the e-learning platform and participants were expected to consult the materials prior to the in-class training. This created opportunities for more time dedicated to practical sessions in class, while also offering participants preparatory access to the theory.
The training curriculum and materials were developed through a series of workshops taking place between November 2016 and June 2017. In the period 10-14 July 2017, SSR trainers offered a training-of-trainers (ToT) to fifteen JTC candidate trainers. The ToT was very practical and focused on the three main skills needed by press judges: press release; key message; and how to be comfortable in front of a camera.
After the ToT, the training materials were customised to the specific Indonesian needs. In their final form they addressed seven main topics:
1) Principle of public relations given through e-learning; 2) Public communication technique; 3) Types and functions of media; 4) Code of ethics for judges; 5) Education technique for the general public; 6) Practical role of the press judge in a court; and 7) Crisis management.
Imelda Indah, judge with the Waimena General Court, who had just been appointed as a court spokesperson before she joined the training, explained: “The training is not monotone, not tiring and we are encouraged to participate. It also provides guidance on how I should work in my new appointment as press judge, something that I did not have previous experience with”. Abdurrahman, judge with the Waimena Islamic Court, appointed as court spokesperson three years ago, noted that “the trainers are using tricks that make the class relaxed and comfortable, which makes it easy for me to understand the training materials… These are very relevant to our work and I am happy to have been in this training, as I have not received training on being a spokesperson before now”. Sarwo Edy, senior judge trainer with the JTC, added that “this is very different and lively in terms of the teaching methods we use. We will certainly apply these methods in other trainings in the future”.