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Citizen Journalism and Media Pluralism in Indonesia

Yohanes Widodo, S.Sos, M.Sc

Atma Jaya Yogyakarta University

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.
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 by citizens in Makassar, South Sulawesi. The main challenge to media pluralism is concentration of ownership via acquisitions and mergers. Such are considered dangerous for democracy because they limit the number of actors in the media industry, thereby concentrating influence in the hands of a small group of businessmen. Many conglomerates control or have substantial interest in the media, which can lead to conflicts of interest. Concentration of ownership also leads to homogenization of content and a decline of journalistic quality. To counter this problem since 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 to form opinions on the basis of information about political, social and cultural developments, (2) publishes underreported issues and invites citizen reporters to write on things not covered by mainstream media, (3) provides various 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 to accelerate the flow of information and strengthen the foundations of democracy in national and state life.

1. Introduction Rapid change in the socio-political dynamics of Indonesia have altered the media landscape. Before the 1998 reforms, the media was authoritarian and monopolistic. State domination of the media is attested to by the number of media banned through revocation or cancelation of the Press Publication Business License (Surat Ijin Usaha Penerbitan Pers, SIUPP).1
At least thirty-two media experienced bans and government warnings during the New Order regime. These include Harian Kami and Duta Masyarakat in 1971, 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 in 1977, 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 the history of the press in Indonesia down to 1998 was one of pressure, intimidation, and banning. Year after year the Indonesian press was overshadowed by authorities and laws, media owners, communities, and law enforcers who could terminate the press any time and imprison journalists (Astraatmaja 2009). A similar situation prevailed within broadcasing. Through Televisi Republik Indonesia (TVRI) and Radio Republik Indonesia (RRI) the Indonesian state dominated public information with programs of a propaganda nature. Both governmental and private enterprises had become and
Jurnal Ekuin in 1983, Topik and Fokus in 1984, Matahari in 1979, Yaumul Al Quds in 1983, Expo in 1984, Prioritas in 1987, Editor in 1989, Tempo, Detik, and Editor in 1994 (Haryadi 2010).

instruments of authoritarian and repressive government. Supporting President Suhartos interests at that time, the five private television stations were owned and controlled by the Soeharto famly or Soeharto men as Bambang Triatmodjo, Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, Sudwikatmono, Sudono Salim, and Peter Gontha (Widiyanto 2006). The 1998 era reform (era reformasi) was to give new directions for democratization and decentralization of the Indonesian mass media. The Press Law (No. 40/1999)2 was born in this era and was followed by Broadcasting Act (No. 32/2002). Both make important contributions to the advancement of Indonesian democratization process. Through these laws the Indonesian media has been able to leave the authoritarian era and enjoy freedom. At the same time it has entered an industrial era characterized by clear tendencies toward monopoly and concentration of media ownership. Thus in the post-1998 era state dominance has been displaced by a new centralization by the private sector with a few owners of capital (Siregar 2008). This has taken place through expansion of the dominant media players via new forms of concentration, mergers, synergies, and alliances, a phenomenon which becomes a new challenge to media pluralism in Indonesia (Justini Djioogo-Dja 2010).3
Press Law No. 40/1999 guarantees that: (1) press censorship or banning and/or cancelling SIUPP is prohibited, (2) every Indonesian citizen may establish press publications, (3) journalists and employees of the press can receive a share of net profit distribution, and (4) foreign capital can engage in the Indonesian press industry through the capital market (Tempo 10/01/2000). 3 Ten of Jakarta national television stations now on the air are dominated by three groups of media conglomerates: (1) PT Media Nusantara Citra Tbk (MNC) owned by Hary Tanoesoedibjo who supervises RCTI (PT Rajawali Citra Televisi

Transformation of a repressive state system into a new system of authoritarianism via monopoly by private groups is as dangerous as state domination (Siregar 2008). The implications can be seen through the dominant position of Jakarta-based national television. These include: (1) dictating program content to accord to their tastes, rendering the referenced value of televisions content a Jakarta culture standard, (2) the fact that local people cannot take advantage of television as a means of information about their own regions, and (3) that the profits acruing can only be enjoyed by Jakarta television enterprises, with the result that they cannot generate jobs and support industries in outside Jakarta. These become a concern of the Broadcasting Act (Armando 2007). Why is the media business, especially that of television, so tempting for capital owners? According to Ishadi SK, a commissioner of Trans Corporation, in addition to economic motives the business of television also provides political advantages. no other business has such power of television, which has economic and political influence. [It is] recognized or not, television is like a doubleedged knife: it can be used to provide information to public, but also can be used to polish or tarnish somebodys image.

Indonesia), TPI (PT Cipta Televisi Pendidikan Indonesia) and Global TV (PT Global Informasi Bermutu); (2) the Bakrie group under PT Bakrie Brothers led by Anindya N. Bakrie, including ANTV (PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi, which is now join with STAR TV) and Lativi (PT Lativi Media Karya is now TV One); and (3) PT Trans Corpora (Group Para), which supervises Trans TV (Pt Televisi Transformasi Indonesia) and Trans-7 (PT Duta Visual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh) (cf. Arismunandar 2001).

Television is very effective in influencing public opinion (Harto 2006). Despite the tight competition is tight,4 the promised cake of television business is quite attractive. Nielsen Media Research has recorded total of advertisement in Indonesia as Rp 23 trillion. Television devoured around Rp 16 trillion, ca. 70% with the remaining 30% divided between other media. To counter the influence of mainstream media, which are powerful, monopolistic, concentrated and difficult to break away from interwoven interests, there has emerged since the 2000s a movement of citizen resistance based on alternative media facilitated by advances of the Internet. Citizen journalism portals initiated by media (,, etc) and citizens (,,, etc.) carry news from citizens within their own perspectives as typical ordinary people. This paper explores the contribution of citizen journalism to media pluralism in Indonesia using case studies of two Indonesia citizen journalism projects: Kompasiana ( initiated by Kompas, and Panyingkul ( from Makassar, South Sulawesi. 2. Media Pluralism Media pluralism is one of the basic conditions for public sphere formation (Klimkiewicz 2005). It refers to heterogeneity on the level of contents, outlets, ownership or any other aspect of the

media deemed relevant (Karppinen 2006). It also refers to the presence of a variety of media within the public sphere (Habermas 1995). Public sphere is defined as a societal space where exchange of information and views of common concern takes place so that public opinion can be formed to shape the political will. Media ideally become market places of ideas (Yusuf 2009). Media pluralism can be approached at three layers: (1) Macro level of media system (media ownership and service structures, entry costs and conditions) in which pluralism depends on laws and political, cultural, and economic institutions (structural prerequisites). (2) Medium level of media institutions (media performance, professional practices, user access and the way the user interacts with the content and services) depends on media ownership, the medium and its concept, including target groups, thematic choices, and the role of the interest groups be it political, religious, economic or other and the organization and decision-making processes within the media companies; and (3) Micro level of media content, which depends on how journalist defines his or her professional role and the quality of journalistic skills to fulfill this role (Klimkiewicz 2009). Most authors equate media pluralism with either external pluralism, meaning diversity of autonomous media (ownership) or internal pluralism, meaning political and cultural diversity of content (Doyle 2002).5 The distinction between external and

Even an astute entrepreneur as Jakob Oetamam, known as a visionary and professional person in the media industry, finally had to give up his majority stake in TV7into the hands of TransTV.

According to David Ward (2002), external pluralism is related to the private and commercial media sector (including ownership structure, concentration of ownership, local and regional media structure, access, and market entry) and creation of new media outlets, while internal pluralism is associated with the public one (including editorial independence, employment strategies, production strategies, information source, content production and recycling, etc).

internal pluralism reduces the notion of pluralism to two selected aspects: ownership and content. The potential of media pluralism depends on the quality of socialization accompanied and strengthened by media literacy skills, such as the competence to distribute ideas in different media formats, an ability to critically read media contents and to oppose, when necessary, biased and harmful media representations. Media pluralism is also often described as the capacity of recognition and representation of multiple, often conflicting, values which do not lead to fragmentation and ghettoization. Finally, full exploitation of media pluralism potential depends on choices made among multiple forms of interactions with the media (Klimkiewicz 2009, 49). 3. Why Concentration Matters? A very common approach to studying media pluralism is to concentrate on media ownership (Balcytiene 2009). As claimed by many, media concentration becomes serious threat. First, the process of media concentration leads to an enormous opinionforming power and its outcome may be dangerous for democracy. Media concentration may result in a skewed public discourse where only certain viewpoints are represented and others silenced. The consequences of such a process may be rather severe. A few strong media players become very powerful and control the majority of newspaper, TV stations and Internet news portals. As a result, diversity of content (voices and opinions represented) vanishes. Very often readers come across the same articles in different dailies, TV viewers watch the same news report on different TV stations and the Internet media readers find the same breaking news across different online news portals (Czepek et. al., 2009). Second, private entrepreneurs will always tend to monopolize the marketplace

of ideas in the name of economic efficiency and private profit (Melody 2002). The belief that ownership ultimately determines the nature of media is summed up in Altschulls (1984) second law of journalism: the content of the media always reflect the interest of those who finance them (McQuail 2000). The main issue of the diversity of ownership is corporate media merger. On the one hand, merger is seen as a step concerning economic considerations of efficiency. On the other hand, merger could be viewed as a political move, especially because of the involvement of political figures and media in the industrial system of decision-making (Haryanto 2004). There are several possibly impacts of conglomeration and acquisition/merger. First, fewer become actors in the industry because media are more concentrated in the hands of conglomerates. Second, many conglomerates own, control or have substantial interest within the media and non-media companies. This often leads to conflicts of interest. Third, media homogenization occurs. Because the owner is only one, all media have a similar content. Fourth, the quality journalism declines. News, current affairs and investigative journalism change to entertainment, populism and infotainment, which is low cost but high profit. Fifth, monopoly of information occurs. It is controlled by a few owners of capital for economic or political interests. It is even more dangerous when these few owners also belong to political elite circles which have power to dictate the flow of information. Media pluralism aims at reducing the bias of media owners interests. More pluralistic media ownership will encourage more pluralistic media content. So, we need the guarantee of plurality of ownership and of maintaining plurality from the concentrations, namely avoiding a

horizontal monopoly (single ownership of various media types) or vertical monopoly (media ownership from upstream to downstream) (Faisal 2009). In the context of media ownership media pluralism, both content and agenda, is important for a dynamic and healthy media sphere. It also reflects the growing complexity of issues in the society (Farid, interview 20/06/2010). 4. Media Conglomeration in Indonesia Currently there are at least eight media conglomerates in Indonesia: (1) Kompas Gramedia Group (KGG), (2) Jawa Pos Group, (3) Mahaka Media, (4) Para Group (Trans Corp), (5) MNC Group (6) Media Indonesia Group, (7) Surya Cipta Televisi (SCTV), (8) Bakrie Group (VIVA Media Group). 1. Kompas Gramedia Group (KGG) is the leading media company in Indonesia. KGG publishes Kompas, the largest daily newspaper in Indonesia, and also owns local papers, magazines, book publishers, hundreds of bookstores, a radio station, and the television station TV7 recently acquired by Trans Corp. The KGG also operates the largest printing plants in Indonesia. The Group also runs other businesses in the education, hotels, tourism and real estate markets.6

2. Jawa Pos Group is the second largest press empire in Indonesia (Sen & Hill 2000). This publishing company is situated in Surabaya, the capital of East Java. Jawa Pos was established as a family concern in 1949. When the provincial press was about to collapse in the early 1980s, Dahlan Iskan, who used to be a journalist of the leading news magazine Tempo, was assigned to manage this daily. Within a decade, Iskan had changed the company into one of the top twenty businesses in Indonesia. Jawa Pos has demonstrated the capacity of large city papers to survive and expand into national commercial enterprises (Sen & Hill 2000). At present, Iskan controls more than 140 companies spanning the archipelago under the holding company PT. Jawa Pos Group, known as Jawa Pos News Network (JPNN). 7

The Kompas Gramedia Group is divided into several groups, namely: (1) Media General: Kompas, Pers Daerah, National Geographic, Bobo, Hai, Kawanku, Nova; (2) Specific Media: CHIP, Info Komputer, Angkasa, Kontan, What Hi-Fi?, PC Plus, HotGame, Saji, Sedap, Bola, Soccer, Motorplus, Otomotif, Idea; (3) Electroci Media /Online:, Kompas e-paper(4) Radio: Otomotion, Sonora; (5) Printing Network: PT Gramedia Printing Group: (Palmerah, Cikarang, Bandung, Bali); PT Bawen Media Tama (Semarang); PT Medan Media Grafika Tama (Medan); PT Rambang (Palembang); PT Antar Surya Jaya (Surabaya); (6) Bookstore Network : at least 50 Gramedia bookstore in

Indonesia; (7) Book Pubsliher Nettwork: Gramedia Pustaka, Elex Media Komputindo, Penerbit Buku Kompas, Kepustakaan Populer Gramedia, Gramedia Widiasarana Indonesia; (7) Event Organizer : Dyandra Promosindo; (8) Hotel Network: PT Grahawita Santika di Jakarta, Bandung, Denpasar, Malang, Manado, dan Surabaya; (9) Industry : PT Graha Kerindo Utama; (10) Education: Universitas Multimedia Nusantara. Source: media 7 Java Pos National Network (JPNN) is the second largest media network in Indonesia, a market leader in local newspapers from Aceh to Papua. In total there are now 134 publishers (August 2008 data), comprised of daily newspapers, tabloids and magazines published and circulated in all parts of the archipelago. After successfully developing print media across Indonesia, in 2002 Java Post Group established a local television station JTV in Surabaya, which was followed TV Batam in Batam, Riau; in Pekanbaru TV; FMTV in Makassar; PTV in Palembang and TV Padjadjaran in Bandung. The group holds more than twenty provincial dailies, thirty district (kabupaten) dailies, tabloids, magazines, printing companies, paper factory, book

3. Mahaka Media is a media group owned by Erick Tohir. Along with the development of a multiplatform media business. In 2010 PT. Abdi Bangsa Tbk changed to PT. Mahaka Media Tbk., which oversees six business units such as: Newspapers, Magazines, Radio, Book Publishing, Media Outdoor (Billboard), On-line and Animation Production House. It was rumored that the company was interested in shares of PT Indosiar Karya Media Tbk (IDKM), the Indosiar television station owner. President of PT Mahaka Media, Rudi Setia Laksana said that the company has stated interest in acquiring PT Indosiar Karya Mandiri Tbk and it plans to increase its capital to realize the acquisition (Harian Ekonomi Neraca, 05/05/2010). 8 4. Para Group or TransCorp is a group company owned by tycoon Chairul Tanjung. The use of CT on some company's name stands for his initials. This group owns PT Televisi Transformasi Indonesia (Trans TV) and PT Duta Visual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh (Trans 7) which has become the rising broadcasting industry. 9
publication, and non-press companies in the fields as diverse as hotels, tours travel, real estate and banking. 8 This group owns Golf Digest Indonesia magazine (licensed from US Golf Digest), Parents Indonesia magazine (licensed from Parents US), a+ magazine and Arena magazine. Mahaka Media also owns Harian Indonesia (Tionghoa-language newspapers) and Harian Republika. In the field of electronic media, Mahaka Media has JakFM Radio (formerly Radio One), Delta FM Radio, Gen FM Radio and JakTV station. 9 This group consists of 20 corporations: (1) Mega Corpora: Banking: Bank Mega, Bank Mega Syariah Indonesia; Insurance: Mega Life, Mega Insurance; Capital Market: Mega Capital Indonesia; Multifinance: Para Multifinance, Mega Auto Finance and Mega Central Finance. (2) Trans Corpora: Trans Media Corpora: PT Televisi Transformasi Indonesia (Trans TV) PT Duta Visual Nusantara Tivi Tujuh

5. MNC Group or PT Media Nusantara Cipta Tbk is one of the largest media conglomerate in Indonesia. This company has businesses in the areas of program production, program distribution, terrestrial television channel, channel television programs, newspapers, tabloids and radio networks. This company may be regarded as an integrated media company of giants. Domination Media Nusantara Citra (MNC) which controls Indonesian broadcasting sky in through its shareholding in RCTI, TPI and Global TV.10 6. Media Indonesia Group began with the publication of Media Indonesia from 19 January 1970 by Warta Indonesia Foundation. In 1988 Teuku Yousli Shah, the founder of Media Indonesia in cooperation with Surya Paloh, the former chairman of Prioritas newspaper, established Media Indonesia with new management under PT. Citra Media Nusa Purnama. Surya Paloh as President, Teuku Yousli Shah as Superior General and Lestary Luhur as Head of the Company. In 1999, Media Group, headed by Surya Paloh
(Trans7) (3) Trans Life Style: Anta Tour, Trans Food and Beveage, Trans Fashion (4) Trans Property: Bandung Supermall, Batam Indah Investindo and Mega Indah Realty Development, PT. Para Bali Propertindo (5) Trans Studio: Trans Studio Resorts (6) CT. Global Resources: Energy, mining, plantations, and infrastructure, palm oil, rubber, and sugar plantations. Source: 10 RCTI and TPI are television companies built in the New Order era. They received facilities from the government. TPI, for example, in the beginning used TVRI transmission channel, which is a government television channel. This company has a lobby and a huge positive impact on Indonesian political process. In 1996-1997, the companies reject a bill that would restrict national transmission for television. The Broadcasting Bill was eventually passed in 1997 by eliminating the prohibition of transmission of national (Kusuma 2007).

established Metro TV under PT Television Media Indonesia. In November 25. 2000, Metro TV went on air for the first time in a trial series of broadcasts to seven cities. At first it broadcast for only twelve hours a day until April 1, 2001, when 24 hour broadcasting day began as a news television channel. Media Group also has the Lampung Post, the first and largest newspaper in Lampung, since 1974. 7. PT Surya Citra Televisi (SCTV) has been managed since 2001by a trio of entrepreneurs from the Sariaatmadja family: Eddy, Fofo and Darwin. SCTV was previously dominated by those with close connectins with the Cendana family: Sudwikatmono, Peter F. Gontha, Henry Pribadi, Halimah Bambang Trihatmodjo and Azis Mochtar. In August 2004 the family of Sariaatmadja took over PT Mugi Rekso Abadi (MRA) flying the flag of PT Omni Intivisual, which aired O Channel with 50/50 share holding. In the beginning of 2007, the MRA gave up all his shares to the Sariaatmadja family, so this one station was 100% held by them (Banirestu, 2007). 8. Bakrie Group is led by Anindya Novyan Bakrie. Anindya Bakrie is a president director of PT Visi Media Asia (VIVA Media Group), which oversees VIVAnews, AN TV and TV One (previously named Lativi). ANTV (PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi) is now shared stocks with STAR TV (News Corp., controlled 20% share). 5. Media: Among Bussiness Interests, Politics, and Power From a legal standpoint, Indonesia has the Broadcasting Act No. 32/2002, whose contents concern the network stations. The

spirit of this system is for the state to ensure media pluralism, namely, diversity of ownership and diversity of content. The Broadcasting Act sets conditions for local television aimed at ensuring local media development and providing room for the growing of media pluralism (Farid, interview 06/26/2010). However, in practice, media tycoons can easily take advantage of the networked stations for commercial and personal interests (Dhyatmika and Herawatmo 2006). The capital owners use television stations for business interests, politics and the exercise of power. This phenomenon can be seen from a number of cases: (1) Competition between Surya Paloh and Aburizal Bakrie for chairmanship of the Golkar Party. Surya Paloh used Media Indonesia and Metro TV (Media Group) to compete with Aburizal Bakrie, who used ANTV and TVOne. Business interests and the influence of media owners renderss the control function of media regulation ineffective. For example, in Media Indonesia and Metro TV owned by Golkar Party Chairman Surya Paloh, it is impossible to find stories that criticize the leadership of the party's Vice President Jusuf Kalla (Farid, interview 06/26/2010). (2) Blank Negotiable Certificate of Deposit (NCDs) worth U.S. $ 28 million from Unibank to PT Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada in favor of Harry Tanoesoedibjo. Here, the owner of PT Media Nusantara Citra (RCTI management) prepares a special program to combat 'black propaganda' on their boss. Program masked as a talk show is designed to defend Harry Tanoe. The selected speakers all sides with Harry Tanoe (Dhyatmika and Herawatmo 2006; Siregar 2008; Windyaningrum 2007). (3) Bakrie Group on the Lapindo mud flow. ANTV and TVOne use framing in accordance with the interests of owners by using the term Porong mud flow or Sidoarjo mud flow as a substitute for

Lapindo mud flow (Cipasang 2008). It is clear that monopoly can be seen as quantitative or qualitative (latent or ideological). Television often becomes an extension of owners promoting their products. For example, we can see Bank Mega ad appears regularly on Trans TV. Esia ad is often appears on ANTV. RCTI, TPI, Global TV intensively push the ads of Trijaya Radio Network, Trust magazine, the tabloid Genie and Seputar Indonesia newspaper. Indosiar had a routine night weekly program Gebyar BCA referring to the Salim-owned bank. Persons from the mainstream media are not worried about media ownership issues. Pepih Nugraha (2010), a journalist on Kompas and editor of, maintains that cross-ownership is very important because of the possible occurrence of cross-ownership in media convergence. Almost all media conglomerates want to have a variety of media types. Neither is he too worried about media monopoly, as long as the media maintains its independence. This is similar to the former commissioner of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI), Bimo Nugroho, who said that the ownership of one businessman over a variety of media is not a problem as long as there is no control of information for influencing public opinion. If a media owner uses his own media for political or economic interest, that is a problem (Windyaningrum et al. 2007). Media ownership, then, needs to be restricted in order to ensure the basic foundation of media pluralism. Without a plurality of voices and opinions, the media can not fulfill their duties in a democratic life. Be restricted here, departing from a concern that the centering of media industry to just a handful of owners will lead to unhealthy conditions and are undemocratic, because it

tends to ignore the plurality of opinions that exist. This restriction itself is healthy for the media industry itself, government authority, and healthy society (Haryanto 2004) 6. Diversity of Content vs Homogenization There are crucial issues in journalism associated with monopoly of ownership and its influence on media content. First, at a certain level, mainstream media cannot meet people's needs because of limited space, the interests of industry, business, etc. In performing journalistic tasks, the journalist should bow to the agendas that run in the company where he/she works. A journalist is not totally free to raise the perspective that he/she wants to emphasis, he/she must comply with the rules of the company, and the need to compromise on media business interests. Promotion of a shopping center continues to get broad space in the media, is an example of how business interests make a pro populist economics journalist, for example, and cannot do much. " (Farid 2006) Second, many public issues are not well accommodated in the mainstream media. Mainstream media has experienced a crisis situation, in which official journalism has lost its philosophical foundation of dictating what should be known or not be known by the public. Editorial space is difficult to avoid the routine: trying to unbiased, objective, impartial, continuously, from day to day, when the public has had access to a same event. At this point,

people easily disappointed, for example, after easily and, once again, very cheap cost, can detect inaccuracies in mass media. The speed and ease of information has become extraordinary challenges for mainstream media elitism (Farid, interview 20/06/2010). Third, there is a trend of mainstream media in Indonesia to promote capitalism, globalization, and western imperialism and in the process brain wash the public. According to Lily Yulianti Farid, there are two major challenges for media pluralism in Indonesia in this regard. First, the current globalized news is too huge to be resisted. Second, media management can no longer be differed with the management of other types of businesses. This makes the element of idealism and attention to the news that the audience really wants do not get a place. News today is produced with the command: This is information that we consider (as owners of capital) is important for the audience (Farid, interview 06/02/2010). Fourth, there is a tendency for people to become fed up with mainstream media because of its self censorship motivated by political and business considerations. Moreover, mainstream media instills journalists with an ideal set of values, ethical norms and restrictions for performing their journalistic duties, but, unfortunately, in practice journalists more often than notfail to meet expectations. The reason is there is a strong influence in press industry so that there is certain business interest or groups that cannot be reported by media. In addition, the increasing level of dependence on media companies to create advertising revenue, which makes news value category, is determined to the extent to which certain news lures advertising revenue. As a result, sensational approaches in reporting are

preferred to attract the readers. " (Farid, interview 06/02/2010) With a decrease in media ownership, a logical consequence is efficiency in the newsroom. This is a global trend that makes news more uniform. Th[os]e most severely affected by uniform news are the local people. Although they have local media, but some of the contents, both print and electronic, are supplied from Jakarta. Print media is somewhat decent, but still apprehensive because local news also has undergone a fundamental shift. The recipe, quoting Dan Gillmor, when it bleeds, it leads: if the news is sensational, it will be headlines. Sensational in here is not far from crime and provocative news, not investigative news. Local newspaper sports pages are filled with Champions League, Italian League, and others, while local sports news are in small columns. " (Farid, interview 20/06/2010) Under these conditions, the visible result is content homogenization. Through its commercial considerations, the media, particularly television presents uniform contents. There is a latah process to see the success of one show or program, which is then to be followed and imitated.11

For instance, when crime is making a deep impression, almost all televisions are bleeding. When comedy shows get good ratings, television stations present comedy shows. When the trend shifts to the reality shows and religion, almost every television offers reality shows and religious programs. So what is offered is what is up to date. This uniformity is a form of conformity, namely the similarity in favor program that may increase the

7. Internet and Citizen Journalism as an Alternative As a response to the shortcomings of mainstream media (uniform, instant, not providing enough context, emphasizing sensation instead of the essence, not representing citizens aspiration, etc), individuals concerned about media ownership concentration have utilized Internet technology to create and distribute information they believe is not properly reported in mainstream news media. Internet power as new media through Web 2.0 technologies offers an alternative. Citizen journalism makes it possible for practically everybody to be a media creator, owner and actor, instead of just a passive user. Citizens are able to publish news of events and affairs around them. It then compensates for the lack of news material from mainstream media giving priority to big issues, which lay people cannot be considered as key informants with the result that their public issues are forgotten. Internet dramatically reduces barriers to entry. The technology is easy to use by virtually everybody, hance it can mobilize a citizen journalism movement. It enables greater empowerment of users/audiences through interactivity and choice, as well as the potential to become more personal, thus furthering the creation of user networks and communities. Internet has caused a massive diversification of media, which has materialized through millions of websites, forums, blogs and wikis. Internet contributes to a greater diversity of choice for the audience (Fle, 2009) changing rooms and a constellation of media and journalism by promoting journalism initiated by citizens,

known as citizen journalism (citizen journalism). Citizen journalism12 is an activity in which ordinary people take an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information. It also can be described as activities that included add-on reporting, blogging, online forums and anything else open to public commentary (Aini 2009). It constitutes a resistance to hegemony in the formulation and meaning of truth and domination by the elite of an information society. It has challenged the existence of the mainstream media who practice journalism in one direction, i.e. one way journalisic practice. Citizen journalism has several important characteristics: (1) Citizen Journalism produces news, reportage, news analysis, comment or opinion, which is regularly updated by providing links and readers can post comments. (2) News from citizen which is published as transparent news following journalistic values of fairness, accuracy, balance and objectivity. (3) The approach is less formal, but not personal. (4) Citizen journalism is done in spare time, both by professionals and non-professionals, i.e. ordinary people. (5) Citizen journalism has gatekeepers (editors) and focuses on basic topics, in addition to using material from the people, which is filtered in a flexible manner. (6) The boundary between new and old news is not sharp. (7) Participants rely on their own perspective (subjective) in telling their own stories. From this we can conclude that citizen

interest of the community to watch the program. The main consideration is money: the success would give great advantage. This is in accordance with the idea of capitalism (Buwana 2009).

Another name for citizen journalism is grassroots journalism, participatory journalism, or Netizen. The history or the embryo of citizen journalism is a community-based media because this kind of journalism is not one by professional journalist. Citizen journalism is a euphemism for journalism by a non journalist, but having the same function (Keen 2007).


journalism is a combination or intersection between blog journalism and traditional journalism. According to Farid (interview 10/04/2006), the emergence of citizen journalism is encouraged by several factors. First, widespread use of the Internet, especially the existence of Weblogs making possible publication activities formerly dominated by the mass media, means that this type of journalism can now be done by anyone with Internet access. Second, citizen journalism stimulates active participation of the community to voice their opinions, which are more flexible, structured and accessible publicly as an alternative reference. Third, the spreading democracy movement has resulted in an increasing number of people who want to contribute to the civic process, no matter how small the contribution. One form participation is writing in the mass media. 13 Thanks to citizen journalism readers, viewers, and listeners are no longer objects of mass medias (selected) information, but subjects capable of planning, reporting and publishing their own media via text, images and video. Proponents of citizen journalism have a philosophy: If you are not satisfied with what you read in the mainstream media, you might also produce your own news based on interests as citizens. Lets create our own media (Farid 2007). Citizen journalism becomes a site for information on what is happening in society and thus conntributes to overcoming public dissatisfaction with the media as it exists

today. It presents spontaneous and subjective reports; people see that there are colors not visible in the mainstream media (Putra 2006). Many stories and photos that are not published in newspapers appear on blogs or citizen journalism sites.14 Sometimes these have strong referrals. Unique experiences and perspectives can be transformed into news initiated by citizens for sharing with others. A passion to tell, a passion to share, according to Bentley (Farid 2006a), is an increasingly visible characteristic of a democratic society. The concept of citizen journalism refers back to the idea of journalism that has both purpose and public responsibility. The Internet allows re-inventing news in a manner that the conditions, lives and views of ordinary people become part of journalism (Hauben 2007). This is not amateur journalism replacing professional journalism, but a question of who contributes to what counts as news. The Internet allows their voice to be heard. Gillmor (2006) argues that while conventional media treat news as a lecture, citizen journalism with Web 2.0 treats it as conversation or seminars: the line between producers and consumers will be blurred, which changed the roles of both. Anyone can write his views and offer a conversation whether in criticism, feedback, comments or support (Mansur &Awondatu 2006). How can citizen journalism further develop media pluralism? First, the rise of

Clyde H. Bentley, associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism U.S., argues that while most people do not want to be journalists, they want to contribute by writing their thoughts or opinions on various issues (Farid, interview 10/04/2006).

For example, when former Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad was drenched with water, news and photos first appeared on the blog. Likewise photographs of the tragic Australian Embassy bombing in Jakarta first appeared on Flickr before the big news agencies reported on it (Mansour and Awondatu 2006).


citizen journalism is mostly due to the fact that popular topics are ignored by the conventional newspapers. This points to a need for a place to voice perspectives held by the public that are not taken into account by the media (Vivijanti 2007). Second, this model channels citizens voices and promotes involvement in the public arena via an independent media from the public and for the public (Farid 2007a). Citizen journalism can be used to change traditional journalism, to find and create a new type of journalism and to change the world (OConnor 2007). Third, the increase of citizen journalism in Indonesia could complement the media, as journalists can seek out public views and obtain news directly from the sources. The rise of citizen journalism could make a great change in thaat people will have access to a wider spectrum of viewpoints. As an example, citizen journalism will compel local newspapers and local government to focus on issues that have been neglected. Fourth, citizen journalism develops a writing culture. Studies revealed that Indonesians are closer to verbal culture than writing culture (Vivijanti 2007b). Thus citizen journalism contributes to media pluralism by: (1) Enabling citizens to take part in the democratic process and to form opinions on the basis of sufficient knowledge concerning politics, social conditions and cultural events. (2) By inviting citizen participation in writing news, information and opinions, citizen journalism will thereby provide various topics and points of view differing from the mainstream media. (3) It offers a pluralistic choice of topics, views, voices and access, especially for the minorities. (4) It taking audiences out of the hands of the traditional media and weakens the role of information professionals. (5) It bridges the gap between citizens and media. In the mainstream media structure there are considerable gaps

between media (editors) and citizens. With the emergence of citizen journalism, people are easily able to create there own publications and articles within the mass media. (6) And finally, it terminates editor control. Mainstream media reporters are limited in their reporting on events and/or issues differing from the accepted points of view. Even if journalist could or did so, the mass media where he or she works would not necessarily appreciate alternative perspectives, much less publish them. Diverse perspectives and experiences of direct involvement in the events are the two main assets for citizen reporters. 8. Citizen Journalism in Indonesia Old style and limited participation of citizen journalism can be found already in television and radio broadcasts in the form of a dialogue between viewers or listeners and a key informant (Kurniawan 2006). Citizen journalism in Indonesia, in fact, originated from radio stations, such as Sonora Jakarta, Suara Surabaya and Elshinta Jakarta.15 The same phenomenon can be found in the printed media, as in the letters-to-the editor section, frequently asked questions and readers opinions. Citizen journalism has found fertile soil on the Internet as expressed in many different types and variations. The ideal practice of citizen journalism in Indonesia is organized by alternative and independent forces in the form of a community (komunitas), which introduce activities of citizen journalism with different variations (Farid 2006b).16 The existence of citizen

During the riots in May 1998, listeners reported what they saw and experienced to Sonora Jakarta. In 2000, Elshinta built a news radio. Now, Elshinta radio has 100 000 citizen reporter. 16 For example, Wikimu (, Kompasiana (, Politikana (, Kabar Indonesia


journalism in Indonesia has been developed with each differentiation, taking form of online portals, radio and television. Moreover, it has shifted power of information authority from media institutions to individuals or communities, replacing replacing traditional media with resultant attention from citizens. Traditional media (television, printed media and websites) have begun to adopt citizen journalism and to accept the existence of citizen journalists and incorporate facts obtained by them. The involvement of citizens to deliver news has started to get a room in mainstream media, such as tsunami in Aceh, JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton bombing and, earthquake in West Sumatra as well as several other major incidents.17 Citizen journalism has been growing rapidly in Indonesia due to the existence of supporting conditions. First, the growth of Internet users in Indonesia has been considerable,18 rendering the appearance of the new media as important, even by the mainstream media. Now, almost all traditional media in Indonesia have raced to develop online journalism and citizen journalism. Second, Internet connection cost is becoming affordable, athough there is still limited infrastructure, especially in eastern

Indonesia. Internet connections are almost ubiquitous via the multitude of Warung Internet (Warnet) or Internet kiosk.19 The Internet has come even to the village by Internet Desa (Internet for village) and Internet untuk Warga (RT-RWnet).20 It is also influenced by the advances in technology and mobile internet, through which one can write, take a picture or footage, record, and upload news to the Internet. It is real time news that makes citizen journalism exist (Aini 2009). Third, the increase of social networking sites is impressive. Indonesia is, in fact, a prominent country in the global map of social networks. It shows that Indonesians has a large group of devoted people who regularly engage in networking via the Internet.21

(, Halaman Satu ( ) etc. 17 The most popular example is the work of Cut Putri, an amateur video about Aceh tsunami, which was then handed over to Metro TV. Major media, such as Metro TVs I-Witness program and TV Ones Kabar dari Anda (News from You), even held a special program to accommodate the latest news and videos from citizens. 18 Internet World Statistics of January 2007 shows that the number of Internet users in Indonesia were 2 million in 2000 and increased to 18 million in 2007 (900 percent growth). According to APJII (Association of Indonesian Internet Service Provider) the number of Internet users in Indonesia was 30 million (September 2009) or 12.5% penetration.

Warung Internet is one of the solutions created by citizens to provide Internet access for people and to reduce digital divide. Although it cannot yet cover all Indonesians, it offers lower costs for Internet connections. Without owning a Ps or ISP, everybody can use the Internet through Warung Internet. According to APJII survey (2007) more than 42% Internet users in Indonesia access the Internet from Warung Internet. 20 In some community without radios, the Internet is not only used to fill that need but also provides Internet connections for communities. An example is Internet for village program called Kusir Angkringan in Timbulharjo village, Bantul, Yogyakarta. 21 According to Google Trends (26/06/2009), Indonesia ranks as number three in terms of the most traffic, while Facebook (26/06/2010) ranks Indonesia as number one. Facebook usage in Indonesia is increasing rapidly. In March 2009, the number of Facebookers was 2,325,840; in March 2010, it had grown to 20,775,320 (+793%); in July 2008, the number was 209,760; in July 2009, 496,960. A years growth is 2997.2% (see A survey of Mobile Guide magazine (No. 23/2009) showed that 36% of Internet users in Indonesia use the Internet for browsing and 29% for social networking. We can see this tendency by comparing to data from Alexa (26/06/2010) concerning the top ten favorite sites for Indonesian users, namely: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)



Facebook, Friendster, YouTube and Kaskus are very popular because through these sites people build social relationship using the Internet (Satvika 2009). They also provide a tool for citizen journalists to report events as a compliment to what the mainstream media lacks, namely sharing expressions and a room for amateur journalist. 9. Kompasiana and Panyingkul a. Kompasiana: Share and Interact Site Kompasiana ( is a citizens media, established on 22 October 22 2008. The presence of Kompasiana contributes significantly to the media in terms of content. According to Taufik H. Mihardja, Director of, Kompasiana with 17.000 registered members and visitors reaching 1.7 million/month, it has surpassed the Kompas printed version. Just imagine, Kompas has 150 articles sent to compete for four plots of opinion every day, which do not necessarily fit in, while Kompasiana has some 200 articles submitted daily and all of them fully published. This is a remarkable achievement (Gobel 2010). In Kompasiana, anyone can publish informaion on any events and express opinions, ideas and aspirations in the form of writing, pictures, audio or video recordings. The vision and mission is to engage virtual citizens (Netizen) concerning events going on around them and to record them on the Internet. Lily Yulianti Farid (interview 06/20/2010) notes that Kompasiana does not impose editing restrictions, hence it can be called a social or citizen media in a networked platform blog. Participation in Kompasiana is still dominated by opening citizen conversation (6) Kaskus Komunitas Indonesia (7) (8) (9) and (10)

about hot topic news in mainstream media or concerning popular events. To ensure the representation of all kinds of opinion, Kompasiana provides access to various groups and let citizens write responsibly. There is no limitation on ethnicity or groups membership, including minorities. Kompasiana implements pluralism in the news with by providing a variety of rubrics, such as economics, politics and security law, media, entertainment and others. It accommodates a varied content, which is interesting, useful and reliable from citizens with diverse cultural backgrounds, hobbies, professions and competences. Massive citizen involvement is expected to accelerate the flow of information and strengthen the foundations of democracy. Kompasiana also involves Kompas Gramedia journalists and community leaders, observers and experts from various fields, expertise and disciplines to participate in sharing information, opinions and ideas. Everyone is encouraged to become a citizen reporter who, on behalf of himself/herself, report events that have happened or are happening around them. All articles can be published in Kompasiana, as long as it does not go against the rules of SARA (agitation on the grounds of ethnic, religious, racial, and inter-group I identy), advocate separatism, blasphemy or insulting individuals or institutions. Hence Kompasianers are given freedom to express ideas, opinions, reviews and responses as long as they do not violated existing regulations. The contents of Kompasiana are the responsibility of Kompasianer. In addition, Kompasiana provides space for interaction and inter-member communication. Kompasianers are able to make friends with other Kompasianer. They can also communicate via e-mail and other interactive media. With a variety of interactive features and facilities Kompasiana, has brought a spirit of sharing

and connecting with one another and thereby has become a form of social media which is informative, interactive, communicative and enlightening for everyone. b. Panyingkul!: Ordinary People Journalism Panyingkul! ( is a public online journal based in Makassar. It was launched in April 2006 by seven citizen journalists, students, housewives and workers. In July 2010, the Panyingkul mailing list members numbered some 377. Farid notes that Panyingkul means junction, bookmark or cross from all directions. The site wants to view events, which have also been aired by mainstream media, but from the angle of ordinary people. For instance, it was on the edge of the road as a procession of labor demonstration passed. At other times it may be in the midst of the work place itself. It could suddenly be in the house of a mayor or a governor and then turn up in a private room of clerks. It has developed a passion to relate, not just report on events. For example, it delves deeply into impressions of poverty rather than just telling about how many people are categorized as poor, where and when. In describing Panyingkul, Farid puts forth the thesis that: in the hands of citizens, another face of Makassar will appear (Farid, 2006a). It proves that the people can spread various and typical things about the town. The citizen reporters and initiators of Panyingkul start from the understanding that the mainstream media in Makassar is elitist, devoted to business interests to mold consumer attitudes and advocates hedonism in most of their reports. Mass Media vs Mass Reality is an issue that tries to be emerge by focusing on initiatives to dealing with the realities of lower class society and by voicing the diversity of citizen views on politics, economics and social and cultural events.

If you're in Panyingkul you will celebrate ordinary people journalism; the people who have regained their rights who are no longer have any place in the mainstream media, claims the editor of Panyingkul on the website. Ordinary people journalism could also be called grass-roots media, community media, alternative media, Netizen or citizen journalism. The spirit of Panyingkul is to be part of the media ecosystem as a whole and expect a dynamic dialogue with the ordinary people involved in the process of news making. Ordinary people is defined as citizens who care about surrounding circumstances, people who become critical consumers of media and hence are motivated to write about events and spread or respond to phenomenon with their own initiatives and points of view. In short, they are citizens who learn to practice civil rights through writing. The Panyingkul project has been realized in cooperation with The Private Editors (Tokyo), Nesia Inc. (Kanagawa), Dekat Rumah Project (Jakarta), Cafe Baca Bibliocholic (Makassar), Ininnawa Publisher (Makassar), Esso Wenni (Amsterdam), Script Intermedia (Makassar). The Private Editors is a non-profit media organization aimed at providing assistance and training for Indonesian writers, focusing on community media.22 These organizations were able to provide funds for the sites


Panyingkul production teams are Lily Yulianti Farid, Mochamad Hasymi Ibrahim, Farid Ma`ruf Ibrahim, Nesia Andriana, M Aan Mansyur and Rahmat Hidayat. Editorial process is in the hands of The Private Editors and Dekat Rumah Project. The editors, who also update the Web site, perform the standard procedures in professional journalism in assessing each story, checking facts, media research and sometimes requiring additional information and revision from reporters.


activities, supplemented by donations from writers and professionals committed to the idea. There are plenty of stories on the street that are not regarded by professional journalists or mainstream media as newsy due to the latters highly business-oriented standards, limited media space and tight deadlines. As a result, there are many issues important to citizens remain underreported or even dismissed by professional journalists. This is where citizen journalists can make a difference. Panyingkul intensifies ongoing discussions, conducts routine training for citizen journalists on the standard rules, as well as giving and tips on writing through online conferences and mailing lists. It also offers writing scholarships.23 In principle, Panyingkul invites everyone to write news reports or articles by registering themselves as citizen reporters and submitting personal details and valid contact data. This is done for confirmation, communication and checking the accuracy of reports as an important part in the process of news making. Panyingkuls organization is kept as slim as possible by relying on the editorial teams, who play an important role in polishing news from citizens and maintaining high journalistic standards. Public participation is opened widely. However, because the model chosen is citizen journalism, the editor selects articles. Editor has the right to edit, provide input, refine the context, etc. Through this they want to prove that the passion of citizens to report and the contribution of professional

editor in applying journalistic knowledge will contribute to media content diversity of media spheres. According to Farid (interview, 3/14/2008), the interface between editorial team, ie. managers/professionals, and citizens writers ensures that first-hand reports are up to journalistic standards, thereby avioding citizen euphoria containing tendendious opinions, copy-pasting and news summary. The initiative emphasizes more process over outcome. I believe when consciousness is growing, people could exercise his/her civic rights through citizen journalism. He/she will keep writing. He/she will become critical media consumers and a responsible information provider. If there is a movement like that, at the ends the practice of democracy find its expression in the form of media like this (Farid, interview, 11/02/2007). Panyingkul becomes a place to practice citizen journalism by experimenting with publishing what can be called underreported issues. It invites citizen reporters to write on topics not reported by mainstream media, especially concerning Makassar, or take a different perspective when looking at local events. The real contribution is shown by citizen reporters who go against the flow, who write in a comprehensive manner of topics that do not get proper news coverage. Criteria of news worthiness or writing that can be published are: (1) first-hand reporting, since Panyingkuls main vision is to introduce opportunities for passive readers to become active news providers through the practice of citizen journalism; (2) unique and distinctive content and (3) differences from mainstream media reporting (Farid, interview 20/06/2010).

Every article receives an honorarium of 50,000 to 100,000 rupiah per article. However the involvement of citizen reporters is not motivated by financial gain. Because they are citizen reporters they can depart from standard discourse, introduce new standards in the news and spread diverse points of view. Of course they hope that their articles can bring change for the better.

Panyingkul provides access to various social groups and space for minorities. For example, it has just completed reportage about disabled people and Internet.24 10. Conclusion Media pluralism is one of the basic conditions for public information in democratic societies. It concerns heterogeneity on the level of content, distribution, ownership or any other relevant aspect of the media. The main challenge of media pluralism is concentration of ownership via acquisitions, take-overs and mergers. It is considered threatenting to democracy because it limits the number of actors in the media industry, thus tending to become concentrated in the hands of a small group of businessmen. Many of Indonesias conglomerates control or have substantial holding in the media industry, which can lead to conflict of interests. Concentration of media ownership also leads to homogenization of content and decreases the quality of journalism. Citizen journalism (CJ) contributes to media pluralism as follows: (1) CJ enables citizens to take part in the democratic process and to form opinions on the basis of being well-informed concerning politics, social circumstances and cultural events, (2) CJ publishes under-reported issues and invites citizen reporters to contribute topics

and issues taken into account by mainstream media, (3) CJ provides diveerse topics, different points of view, and a pluralistic choice of voices and access, (4) CJ opens opportunities for passive readers into active news providers, (5) CJ offers a broad range of participation for and access to social groups, including minorities, (6) CJ accommodates diverse content from a variety of cultural backgrounds, hobbies, professions and competence and (7) CJ opens space for citizens to participate in the exchange of information by reading, commenting and writing opinions. Active involvement of citizens is expected to accelerate the flow of information and strengthen the foundations of democracy in national life.***


Two years ago, an invitation was extended to people of Ambon-Christian background living in Makassar to write in Panyingkul! To ensure representation of all kinds of opinions, Panyingkul actively invited those who were voiceless or not represented. However, this cannot always be guaranteed because Panyingkuls contents are user generated. If someone writes, it must represent that voice. But if the group was just verbally criticizing policy and is too lazy to write it, then how can one ensure that the voice is represented? Note that Panyingkul! has no professional journalists as in the traditional media.


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