Broadcasting Paradox? A Study of Content Diversity and Ownership in Contemporary Indonesian Television
AuthorSouisa, Hellena Yoranita
Document TypePhD thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Hellena Yoranita Souisa
Independent media in a democracy is an arena where the exchange of a diverse range of information and views facilitates the formation of public opinion. It took the fall of the almost 32-year-long authoritarian regime before Indonesians finally experienced democracy in 1998. The spirit of democracy was reflected in the implementation of new regulations, which are more liberal and freer from government control. Departing from the principle of diversity of ownership and diversity of content, the implementation of the new laws resulted in a growing number of media outlets. Diversity of content is commonly accepted as a founding principle in communication policy. Discussion on programme diversity as a performance goal has been particularly lively and relevant in the case of television, as is well documented, for example, by Blumler (1991) and Napoli (1999). Accordingly, the principle of a wide range of programme options is typically included in national broadcasting legislation, and both public and commercial broadcasters have faced the requirement of diversity, set by the various regulatory bodies. But previous research in the Indonesian context has shown that this diversity of media outlets and content as an essential aspect of Indonesia’s new democracy has been threatened by various developments. The first threat concerns the issue of media ownership and conglomeration. The second threat to media diversity is political: Half of the media owners also serve as the leaders of political parties. This study examines the diversity of market structure and programme content of Indonesian television in the context of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections. Using a Critical Political Economy approach, it addresses two key questions: 1) Does ownership have an impact on television structure and content?; and 2) Do corporate connections to politics have an impact on television journalism? One of the findings is that television owners only endorse the idea of diversity if it can bring them profit, or further their political interests.
Keywordsmedia diversity, diversity of content, political economy of media, media ownership, diversity of ownership, Indonesian television, Indonesia general election 2014, broadcast journalism, media convergence, media conglomeration, Indonesian media conglomerates
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