Title: REPORTING THE MALUKU SECTARIAN CONFLICT: THE POLITICS OF EDITORSHIP IN KOMPAS AND REPUBLIKA DAILIES
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Author: Yani, Buni
Degree: Master of Arts - Southeast Asia Studies, 2002.
Advisor: Elizabeth Fuller Collins
This research explores the politics of editorship in the Kompas and Republika dailies in covering conflict between Muslims and Christians in Maluku. It is attempting to answer why the two most prominent Indonesian newspapers cover the same event differently. As a Catholic-affiliated newspaper, Kompas defended the Christian interests; and as a Muslim newspaper, Republika efended the Muslim interests. Two approaches are employed here to understand the two newspapers’ difference in reporting. The first approach is philosophical framework underpinning the theory of interpretation, known as hermeneutics, and the second one is the political economy which shaped the two newspapers in their current characteristics. Any text or event is open for interpretation, and an interpretation depends on the interpreter’s worldview and attitudes. This factor has made Kompas’s and Republika’s difference in reporting. The political economy, or specifically, the power behind the press contributed to the difference in policies of the two newspapers’ editorship. In the wider context of Indonesia, the repressive New Order regime shaped the "infant" characteristics of Indonesian journalism. Transition from authoritarian regime to a democratic one is also reflected in the press life. The Indonesian press now should reconsider its role along with the democratic reform. Previously repressed to be the mouthpiece of the government, today the Indonesian press becomes a critical watchdog which is crucial in shaping the new Indonesia. The changing role of the Indonesian press now has its momentum, but it depends on the press workers to determine the press role for the future.
Indonesia; Press; Maluku; Conflict; Kompas - Republika
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