Political Communication in Indonesia
Political communication includes the relation between politics, media and the government that specifically is reflected in the freedom of the press. However, in an undemocratic political system, where the ruler puts tight control into practice, the freedom of the press does not constitute the commitment of the government. The reason is that the freedom of the press even gives the room for the media, and also various parties, to take control or monitor the government. This study looks at how a nation, which was undergoing a political system from the authoritarian to the democratic system, made changes by establishing the law regulating the freedom of the press. By using the unstable democracy theory, the freedom of the press, and the political communication, this study analyzes the cases happening in Indonesia. Even though there were important changes, especially with the removal of the ruling authoritarian regime, Indonesia had not fully executed the democratic system. This nation was building a consolidated democracy, where the political elites possessed the commitment through the coordination mechanism over the constitution, political institution, and building the agreement to support the state authority. The commitment was realized by the political elites of the new government by ratifying the draft of the press law that was sufficiently liberal. The president through the Minister of Information and the members of the legislative from the political parties, and also the media representatives, were involved in the discussion of the crucial issues such as the freedom of the press, legal protection for the journalists, the press publication registration, and the independent press council. The discussion of this draft is an interesting case study especially how the media communicated the ideas of the political actors who were involved in it. This study also reveals how the media made use of the freedom that was obtained from the new press law to have critical attitude to the government, especially to the president. In the new government, under Presidents BJ Habibie, Abdurrahman Wahid, and Megawati Soekarnoputri, the freedom of the press had generated tense relationship, pressing one to each other. The political transition constitutes an arena for the establishment of the “new” press system. Keywords: political communication, democracy, freedom of the press, transition, press system. The dissertation has been defended on December 10, 2008 at the Institute of Media and Communication Science, Ilmenau University of Technology, Germany. Assesors: Prof.Dr.Loeffelholz (Ilmenau University of Technology), Prof.Dr.Jens Wolling (Ilmenau University of Technology), Dr.Dedy N.Hidayat (University of Indonesia).