The Mission of Indonesian Journalism: Balancing Democracy, Development, and Islamic Values (Int’l Journal of Press/Politics)

Vol. 16 No. 2 April 2011 — Indonesia, the world’s third largest democracy, has been called a template for Muslim political reform and has the potential to serve as a bridge between the United States and the Islamic world. Indonesian journalists play a vital role. Since the  collapse of the Suharto regime in the late 1990s, the Indonesian media sector has experienced its own revolution. A nationwide  survey of 600 Indonesian journalists finds that while the influence of Islam in the newsroom is increasing, journalists support  the separation of mosque and state and reject militant Islam. Their attitude toward the United States has improved under Obama  and, while skeptical of American motives, they support continued American aid. Although most reject Suharto-era government-mouthpiece  media functions, they have not yet fully embraced the role of watchdog. They say that the industry as a whole, and they as  individuals, are still not free, but cite their own lack of professionalism and poor ethics as the greatest threat to their  industry. The echo of the development journalism model that prevailed in the Suharto years can be seen in the top priorities of Indonesian journalists.

April 2011 (16) 2

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