Indonesia Government and Media
Government Type: Presidential System
Leader: President Joko Widodo (both head of state and head of government)
Political Party: PDI-P (Partai Demokrasi Indonesia Perjuangan)
Political Position: Center-Left, secular-nationalist, populist
World Press Freedom Rank: Indonesia 119/180
Reporters Without Borders says president Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo did not keep his campaign promises during his first five-year term, and “His presidency has been marked by drastic restrictions on media access to West Papua (the Indonesian half of the island of New Guinea), where violence against local journalists continues to grow.” Since the 1960s, The Indonesian government has restricted access to foreign journalists due to the ongoing conflict between Indonesia and Western New Guinea’s Free Papua Movement. As of 2020, Freedom House reports “Foreign journalists visiting Papua and West Papua continue to report bureaucratic obstacles and deportations.” For example, in 2020, an American journalist who covered stories related to environmental destruction in Indonesia was arrested on visa violation charges and faced 5 years in prison, however, he was later deported from Indonesia
Government Influence on Media: Indonesian Media consists of a mix of corporately owned media outlets as well as state-owned TV and radio stations. These are, Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI) which operates two networks and Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) which operates national, regional, and local stations. State-owned radio and TV is regulated by the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI), Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (Badan) “BRTI”, as well as the Ministry of Communications and Informatics. The Ministry of Communications and Informatics has the authority to issue and revoke permits, therefore the government ultimately controls public broadcasting.
There are also corporately owned media outlets. These are Kompas Gramedia Group owned by Jakob Oetama, Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) Group owned by Hary Tanoesoedibjo, and Viva Group (ANTV and TVOne) owned by Aburizal Bakrie and his family. These conglomerates have the owner’s political backgrounds in common, for example, Aburizal Bakrie is also the chairman of the Golkar Party, the center-right rival of the ruling party. Hary Tanoesoedibjo also formed the Partai Perindo (Indonesian Unity Party) inspired by USA President Donald Trump’s ideas and said he “may try to run for president.’” In general, private media in Indonesia is dominated by businessmen-turned-politicians.
In conclusion, the Government has direct control over public broadcasting, whereas private media is controlled by politicians and serves as a publicity tool.
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