Professional journalism and political affiliation of the media : examining the influence of media ownership on Indonesian daily newspapers
Date of Issue2015
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information
Past literature has been long noted media ownership as a potential source of influence in the newsroom. The impact of political affiliation on journalism practice is frequently studied, most of which in the Western context with well-established democratic background. This study aims to fill the gap by explicating the impact of political affiliation of the media on professional journalism in Indonesia, which experienced major transition from an authoritarian to a democratic society. Press liberation resulted from the collapse of authoritarian regime has shifted the control over media from the state to the media owners. The increase in corporate control alongside a decrease in government control entails potentially negative repercussions to the professional journalism, such as intervention practices. Main objective of this study is to investigate the impact of political affiliation of the media on the practice of professional values in journalism, including the prevalence of intervention practices in the newsroom. In addition, it endeavours to map journalists working at major newspapers in Indonesia and serves as an update on newspaper journalists in Indonesia. A cross-sectional survey to 225 journalists working in six major newspapers in Indonesia was conducted from October to December 2014. Quantitative data collected were analysed using statistical tools and interpreted accordingly. Results from hierarchical multiple regression show that political affiliation of the media brings forth serious consequences on journalism practice, as it significantly increases perceived intervention practices in the newsroom (ß = .408, p < .001) and supports statistically significant final model, F (6, 218) = 9.849, p < .001, with 21.3% of total variance explained in the perceived intervention practices. Nevertheless, the influence of political affiliation of the media on the practice of professional values is rather indirect. While the results display perceived intervention practices significantly increases perceived difficulties in practising professional values (ß = .199, p = .004) and contributes to significant final model, F (6, 218) = 2.238, p = .041, direct relationship between political affiliation of the media and perceived difficulties in practising professional values is not statistically significant. In other words, the influence of political affiliation of the media is exercised through the intervention practices in the newsroom, which in turn affects how journalists perceive difficulties in practising professional values. Besides verifying the implications of political affiliation of the media on the news making practices in Indonesia, this study sheds light on how political affiliation of the media indirectly affect the practice of professional values through routinely structured intervention practices. In the Indonesian context, the results of this study bring forth insights about the thriving democracy. While press freedom is celebrated as an indicator of democratisation, Indonesian journalists may not always enjoy total autonomy in their day-to-day news reporting activities. Some media owners may interfere in the process of news making to have their economic and political interests maintained.
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Communication theories and models
Nanyang Technological University