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Widodo Yohanes - Citizen Journalism and Media Pluralism in Indonesia

Widodo Yohanes - Citizen Journalism and Media Pluralism in Indonesia

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My paper titled "Citizen Journalism and Media Pluralism in Indonesia" has been published in Conners, Thomas J., Frank Dhont, Mason C. Hoadley, and Adam D. Tyson, eds. 2011. Social Justice and Rule of Law: Addressing the Growth of a Pluralist Indonesian Democracy. Diponegoro University Press: Semarang.
My paper titled "Citizen Journalism and Media Pluralism in Indonesia" has been published in Conners, Thomas J., Frank Dhont, Mason C. Hoadley, and Adam D. Tyson, eds. 2011. Social Justice and Rule of Law: Addressing the Growth of a Pluralist Indonesian Democracy. Diponegoro University Press: Semarang.

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Published by: Yohanes Masboi Widodo on Jun 30, 2011
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Citizen Journalism and Media Pluralism in Indonesia
Yohanes Widodo, S.Sos, M.Sc
Atma Jaya Yogyakarta University
Published inConners, Thomas J., Frank Dhont, Mason C. Hoadley, and Adam D. Tyson, eds.2011.
Social Justice and Rule of Law: Addressingthe Growth of a Pluralist Indonesian Democracy.
Diponegoro University Press:Semarang.
This paper focuses on the contribution of citizen journalism to media pluralism in Indonesia through case studies of two citizen journalism projects, namely
 Kompasiana
initiated by the
 Kompas
newspaper and
 Panyingkul 
initiated bycitizens in Makassar, South Sulawesi.The main challenge to media pluralism is concentration of ownership viaacquisitions and mergers. Such are considered dangerous for democracy because they limit the number of actors inthe media industry, thereby concentrating influence in the hands of a small group of businessmen. Manyconglomerates control or have substantial interestin the media, which can lead to conflicts of interest. Concentrationof ownership also leads to homogenization of content and a decline of journalistic quality. To counter this problemsince the 2000s there has emerged a citizen movement for alternative media facilitated by the Internet. Examples of these are the citizen journalism portals
 Kompasiana
and
 Panyingkul.
As found in two the cases studies, citizen journalism contributes to media pluralism in that it: (1) enables citizens to take part in the democratic process and toform opinions on the basis of information about political, social and cultural developments, (2) publishesunderreported issues and invites citizen reporters to write on things not covered by mainstream media, (3) providesvarious topics, different points of view and a pluralistic choice of voices and access, (4) opens opportunities for  passive readers to become active news providers, (5) offers a broad range of participation by various social groups,including minorities, and provides access to them, (6) accommodates content from diverse cultural backgrounds,hobbies, professions, and competence, and finally (7) opens space for citizens to participate in the exchange of information by reading, commenting on and writing opinions. Large scale citizen involvement is expected toaccelerate the flow of information and strengthen the foundations of democracy in national and state life.
1.Introduction
Rapid change in thesocio-politicaldynamics ofIndonesia have altered themedia landscape. Before the 1998reforms,the media was authoritarian andmonopolistic.State domination of the mediais attested to by the numberof media bannedthrough revocation or cancelationofthePress Publication Business License(
Surat  Ijin Usaha Penerbitan Pers,
SIUPP).
1
 
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At least thirty-twomedia experienced bans andgovernment warnings during the New Order regime.These include
 Harian Kami
and
 Duta Masyarakat 
in1971,
Sinar Harapan
in 1973,
 Nusantara, Abadi, Indonesia Raya, Kami, Jakarta Times, Suluh Berita, Express, Wenang 
and
Mahasiswa Indonesia
in 1974,
 Newsweek 
in 1976,
 Koran Mahasiswa UI Salemba
in1977,
Tabloid Monitor, Kompas, Sinar Harapan,Merdeka, Pelita, The Indonesian Times, Sinar Pagi
and
 Pop Sore
in 1978,
Tempo
and
 Pelita
in1982,
Lukas Luwarso (2000) observes that thehistory of the press in Indonesia down to1998 was oneof pressure, intimidation,and banning. Year afteryearthe Indonesian press wasovershadowed by authorities andlaws, media owners, communities,and lawenforcers who could terminate the press anytime and imprisonjournalists(Astraatmaja2009).A similarsituation prevailed within broadcasing. Through
Televisi Republik  Indonesia
(TVRI) and
 Radio Republik  Indonesia
(RRI) the Indonesian statedominated public information with programsof a propaganda nature. Both governmentaland private enterprises had becomeand
 
 Jurnal Ekuin
in 1983,
Topik 
and
 Fokus
in 1984,
Matahari
in1979,
Yaumul AlQuds
in 1983,
 Expo
in1984,
 Prioritas
in 1987,
 Editor 
in 1989,
Tempo, Detik,
and
 Editor 
in 1994(Haryadi2010).
 
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instrumentsof authoritarian and repressive
 
government. Supporting President Suharto’sinterestsatthat time, the fiveprivatetelevision stations wereowned andcontrolled by the Soeharto famly or Soehartomen asBambang Triatmodjo, SitiHardiyanti Rukmana, Sudwikatmono,
 
Sudono Salim, and Peter Gontha(Widiyanto2006).The1998 era reform (
era reformasi
)was to give new directionsfor democratization and decentralizationof theIndonesian mass media.The Press Law(No. 40/1999)
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was bornin this era and wasfollowed by Broadcasting Act(No.32/2002). Both makeimportant
 
contributionsto the advancement of Indonesian democratization process.Throughthese lawstheIndonesian mediahasbeen able to leave the authoritarian eraand enjoy freedom. At the same time it hasenteredan industrial era characterized byclear tendencies toward monopoly andconcentration of media ownership.Thus in the post-1998 era statedominance has been displaced by a newcentralization bytheprivate sector with afew owners of capital (Siregar 2008). Thishas taken place through expansion of thedominant media players vianew forms of concentration, mergers, synergies,andalliances, a phenomenon which becomesanew challenge to media pluralisminIndonesia (Justini Djioogo-Dja 2010).
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Press Law No. 40/1999 guaranteesthat: (1) presscensorshipor banning and/orcancelling SIUPPis prohibited, (2) every Indonesian citizen may establish press publications,(3) journalists and employees of the press can receivea share ofnet profit distribution,and (4) foreign capital can engage in the Indonesian press industrythrough the capital market(
Tempo
10/01/2000).
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Ten of Jakartanational televisionstationsnow onthe air are dominated by three groups of mediaconglomerates: (1) PT Media Nusantara Citra Tbk (MNC) owned by Hary Tanoesoedibjo whosupervises RCTI (PT Rajawali Citra Televisi
Transformation of arepressive state systeminto a new system of authoritarianism viamonopoly by private groups is asdangerousas state domination (Siregar 2008). The
 
implications can be seen throughthedominant position ofJakarta-based nationaltelevision. These include:(1) dictating
 
 program content toaccordto theirtastes,rendering the referencedvalue of televisionscontent aJakarta culturestandard,(2)thefact that local people cannot take advantageof television as a means of informationabout their ownregions,and(3) that the profitsacruing can only be enjoyed byJakarta television enterprises, with the resultthat they cannotgenerate jobs and supportindustries in outside Jakarta. These becomea concern of the Broadcasting Act(Armando2007).Why isthe media business, especiallythat of television, so tempting forcapitalowners? According to Ishadi SK, acommissioner of Trans Corporation, inaddition to economic motives the businessof television also provides politicaladvantages.…no other business has such power of television, which has
 
economic and politicalinfluence. [It is]recognized onot, television is like a double-edged knife: it can be used to provide information to public, but also can be used to polish or 
 
tarnish somebody’s image.
Indonesia), TPI (PT Cipta Televisi PendidikanIndonesia) and Global TV (PT Global InformasiBermutu); (2) the Bakrie group under PT BakrieBrothers led by Anindya N. Bakrie, including ANTV(PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi, which is now joinwith STAR TV) and Lativi (PT Lativi Media Karyais now TV One);and (3) PT Trans Corpora (GroupPara), which supervises Trans TV (Pt TelevisiTransformasi Indonesia) and Trans-7 (PT DutaVisual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh)(cf. Arismunandar et.al.2001).
 
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Television is very effective in
 
influencingpublic opinion(Harto et.al. 2006).Despite the tight competition is tight,
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‘the promised cake’of television business isquite attractive. Nielsen Media Research hasrecordedtotal of advertisement in IndonesiaasRp 23 trillion. Television devouredaround Rp 16 trillion, ca. 70%with theremaining 30% divided betweenother media.To counter the influenceof mainstreammedia,which are powerful, monopolistic,concentratedand difficult to break awayfrom interwoven interests, there hasemerged since the 2000sa movementof citizen resistance based on alternativemedia facilitated by advancesof theInternet. Citizen
 
 journalism portalsinitiated by media (
 Kompasiana.com, Blogdetik.com,etc)
and citizens (
 Politikana.com, Panyingkul.com, Kabarindoneasia.com,etc.)
carrynews from citizenswithin their own perspectives as typical ordinary people.This paper explores the contribution of citizen journalism to media pluralisminIndonesia using case studies of twoIndonesia citizen journalism projects:
 Kompasiana
(http://www.kompasiana.com
 
)initiated by
 Kompas
, and
 Panyingkul 
(http://www.panyingkul.com
 
)fromMakassar, South Sulawesi.
2.Media Pluralism
Media pluralism is one of the basicconditions for public sphere formation(Klimkiewicz 2005). It refers toheterogeneity on the level of contents,outlets, ownership or any other aspect of the
4
Even an astute entrepreneuras Jakob Oetamam,known as a visionary and professional person in themedia industry, finally had to give up his majoritystake in TV7intothe hands of TransTV.
media deemed relevant (Karppinen2006).It alsorefers to the presence of a variety of media within the public sphere (Habermas1995). Public sphere is definedas a societalspace where exchange of information andviews of common concerntakes place sothat public opinion can be formed to shapethe political will. Media ideally becomemarket places of ideas(Yusuf 2009).Media pluralism can beapproached atthree layers: (1) Macro level of mediasystem (media ownership and servicestructures, entry costsand conditions)inwhich pluralism depends on lawsand political, cultural,and economic institutions(structural prerequisites). (2) Medium levelof media institutions (media performance, professional practices, user access and theway the user interacts with the content andservices)depends on media ownership, themedium and its concept, including targetgroups, thematic choices, and the role of theinterest groups –be it political, religious,economic or other and the organizationand decision-making processes within themedia companies; and(3) Micro level of media content, which dependson how journalist defines his or her professional roleand the quality of journalistic skills to fulfillthis role(Klimkiewicz 2009).Most authors equate media pluralismwitheithe
external 
 pluralism,meaningdiversity of autonomous media (ownership)or 
internal 
 pluralism,meaningpolitical andcultural diversity of content (Doyle 2002).
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 The distinction between external and
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According to DavidWard (2002),
external 
 pluralism is related to the private and commercialmedia sector (including ownership structure,concentration of ownership, local and regional mediastructure, access, and market entry)and creation of new media outlets, while
internal 
 pluralism isassociated with the public one (including editorialindependence, employment strategies, productionstrategies, information source, content production andrecycling, etc).
 

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Mas Yohannes, saya baca-baca yah tulisan ini.. Makasih ya
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