A user identified only as “aqbastian” posted an article title “Citizen Journalism in Indonesia Today” on 7 April 2011. Here are a few excerpts:
“Tracing back, the 2004 Tsunami disaster in Aceh instigated citizen journalism in Indonesia. The tragedy highlighted participatory journalism’s ability to cover breaking news in places without regular reporters. Tourists and residents with digital cameras (and camera phones) quickly transmitted images of the disaster to mass media. Without naming any particular media corporation, print and online media nowadays have launched websites that feature participatory journalism.”
Perhaps the author is very young — I think there were many examples of citizen journalism in 1997 and 1998 (the days of Reformasi). Even though we did not have the same Internet culture then that we have today, people were communicating via e-mail and discussion forums and chat rooms as Suharto’s regime collapsed.
“Q! Film Festival (QFF) is the first and the biggest LGBT film festival organized in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country. The festival that sparked controversies was held late last year in six major cities. Being able to screen independent films that are different from ones offered in mainstream media is risky business, especially in a country ruled by a newly adapted democracy where the nation system is still somewhat vague. As most of us knew, QFF was subjected to threats and wraths from Front Pembela Islam (FPI), translated to Islamic Defenders Front. The festival initially expected low-key due to stigma against gay communities in conservative Muslim population. Though in reality, incessant promotions on Twitter created a buzz and proliferated the words to wider Indonesian demographics.”
This is the first time I have heard of the Q! Film Festival (Twitter: @QFilmFestival).
“New, online media provide in-depth local coverage that big media do not always provide. However, the credibility of these writers is questioned.”
This is true EVERYWHERE. I do not think this is really a valid criticism. Of course people who are not trained — who are not reporting news as part of their paid job — will spread rumors and make errors. So what? In countries where press freedom is restricted, there is ALWAYS a hyperactive rumor mill. This was not invented online!
“Citizen journalism, thus, is not without drawbacks. Various critics argued that what these amateur journalists write and upload are merely good, thoughtful opinions and are often presented as facts, nothing more. Apart from being one-sided, these bloggers’ articles, in comparison to mass media ones, seem to be shorter in length and shallower in analysis.”
Again, I am not disturbed by this. People must take responsibility for what they choose to believe. If you think the sky is falling, and you go and hide in a cave because of that, it is your own decision. The public must be assumed to be responsible and intelligent. In developing countries, often the government rejects this idea — they want to treat the public like children, to act like a protective parent by censoring information.
But that tactic only KEEPS the public in ignorance, in a childish condition. It is a kind of repression. It reduces human potential.