Está en la página 1de 12



By Emeraldy Chatra


Kejatuhan rezim Suharto tidak lepas dari kekeliruannya dalam
memandan ke!e!asan pers" karena denan mene!iri ke!e!asan pers
rezim Suharto menjadi kehilanan kontrol# Tulisan ini mem!ahas
kekeliruan$kekeliruan pandanan rezim ts!# serta implikasinya terhadap
!er!aai penyele%enan dan derajat kejujuran masyarakat#

During the protest of Indonesian university students
addressed to the regime of Suharto (or the New Order Regime)
etween !ar"h and !ay #$$%& the ministry of information Dr 'lwi
Dahlan instru"ted any private television to rely two news programs
road"ast y ()RI& a state owned television station* (he first one
was "alled Info +agi& and another one was Berita #,* (he Info
+agi was road"ast from -.// to -.0/ a*m*, while the Berita #,
was at 1.// p*m* 's a result& all Indonesian television presented
same news at same moment*
(hose news programs all together were "alled ()2+ool* (he
()RI produ"ed the ()2+ool& as stated y 'lwi Dahlan& in a "o2
operation with reporters of private televisions su"h as Surya Citra
(elevisi (SC())& Ra3awali Citra (elevisi Indonesia (RC(I)& 'N
(eve& and Indosiar* 4owever& the news presenters were from the
()RI and the news presentation style was su3e"t to the ()RI5s
stiff and monotonous appearan"e* (he private televisions6
reporters 3ust "ontriute a few numers of report to the
'lwi Dahlan5s poli"y raises many "riti"isms from 3ournalists
and television audien"es* (he +uli" Relations !anager of the
SC() Dr Edward Depari evaluates the programs as a new form of
Indonesian government "ontrol over the press*
a""ording to Edward Depari& the ()2+ool did not rea7 the law
e"ause (he Broad"asting '"t #$$8 allows the ()RI re9uires
private televisions to rely its programs* (he Indonesian Institute of
:egal 'id ;oundation (<:B4I) stated in its press relations that the
poli"y will ring aout self2"ensorship and shareholder6s
intervention toward editorial poli"ies& in"luding firing some
television 3ournalists who e=posed the military violen"e*

Suharto stepped down on 1# !ay& and 'lwi Dahlan lost his
authority* (he Info +agi disappears from private televisions ever
sin"e* (he Berita #, is still on air& ut it is not relied y private
televisions any longer* (hat "hange indi"ates the de"rease of a
regime5s "ontrol over the press& ut it "an not e regarded as the
eginning era of the freedom of press in Indonesia* It is e"ause
the "hange 3ust happened at the level of offi"ial poli"y& while
legislation (i*e* '"t no* 1#>#$%1 "on"erning the Basi" +rin"iples of
the +ress) that allows the su"h a poli"y is still maintained* (hus&
without "hanging the legislation and its asi" assumption on press

'nter(ie% %ith a )orein radio announ*er" ++ May &,,-
.T/ 0ool 0er!uruk Citra 'ndonesia1" Singgalang" +2 May &,,-
roles& 'lwi Dahlan5s poli"y2li7e might e produ"ed again y the
ne=t regime*
(he ()2+ool story is only a starting point for a wide2range
dis"ussion of Indonesian press* (he main purpose of this essay is
to e=amine the politi"al a"7ground of the miserale "ondition of
press freedom in Indonesia& parti"ularly under Suharto5s
di"tatorship* Besides& the essay analyses the various impa"ts of
the regime5s poli"y in aout 1/ years to the press* 's I am writing
this essay& Suharto 3ust #1 days retired* (herefore& I "annot argue
mu"h on the poli"ies and treatments of the su""essor to the

Th Victi! o" Nationa# Stabi#it$
's Suharto "ame to the offi"e in #$--& he showed his
personal outloo7 for the freedom of press y "losing some +?I
(the Communist +arty of Indonesia) affiliated newspapers su"h as
4arian Ra7yat& Bintang (imur& and @arta Bha7ti* (he vast
ma3ority of Indonesian people supported su"h an a"tion due to
their hatred to "ommunism* Suharto regime5s poli"y to an
"ommunism oriented press was in line with its strong effort to
erase "ommunism in Indonesia*
;or Suharto& "ontrol over press seems to e a strategi" point
to "ontrol people5s mind* 4e stated in the 1
Seminar of Infantry
(Seminar Angkatan Darat II)&
In developing the New Order& it should e realiAed that easy to get rid
of a tyrant or to destroy its "on"entration "amp rather than destroying
and eliminating dreams or ideas that produ"e and give power for it*
(he physi"al vi"tory on it is asolutely important& ut it is not enough*
Be"ause we destroy dreams& while that we must win is also
dreams***('idin and :opa& #$-$.0//)*

Suharto5s statements point that he was not only rea"t
strongly into tangile a"tions of his politi"al rivals& ut he was also
tend to re3e"t the differen"es of ideas* In #$%,& he arrived on the
top of his desire to "ontrol people5s ideas as he de"reed all so"io2
politi"al organisations& in"luding "ivilian politi"al parties& to de"lare
+an"asila as their sole ideology* 4e strongly eager everyody
su3e"t to his ideas and applies in daily life terms that he li7es
su"h as azas tunggal (sole ideology)& pembangunan
(development)& UUD 1945 (#$,B Constitution)& stabilitas nasional
(national staility) or pers bebas dan bertanggung jawab (free and
responsile press)* ;or many state6s offi"ials& repeating those
terms in their spee"hes symolises their self2identifi"ation even
loyalty to Suharto5s regime*
Controlling national press or information flows is a way to
"ontrol people5s ideas "onsistently pra"tised y the regime* (he
"ontrol poli"y was not only aimed to prevent the spread of
"ommunism& ut also for disagreement or "riti"ism to Suharto5s
and his family5s a"tions
* +ress reports aout riots or military
violen"e& for instan"e& "ould e regarded as efforts to spread
hatred out to Suharto or his regime and to sha7e national staility*
In #$8,& Suharto5s regime "losed eleven newspapers and a
magaAine e"ause they reported a ig riot in Ca7arta "alled Malari

't has !roadly kno%n that all Suharto1s sons and dauhters are por*h and *ontrol many kinds o)
industries and lare s*ale de(elopment a*ti(ities# His son Hutomo Mandalaputra" )or instan*e" o!tained
monopoly riht to import South Korean *ars and *lo(e distri!ution# His elder dauhter" Siti Hardianti
Rukmana" is )amous )or her hih%ay proje*ts#
((he ;ifteen Canuary Disaster) ('tma7usumah& #$%#)* Ideas
ehind the ()2+ool seem not too different with those used y the
regime in #$8,*
(he issue of national staility was predominantly employed
y the regime to oppress opposition movements& in"luding
disoedien"e press* (he term of national staility refers to the
Trilogi embangunan (the asi" strategy of Indonesian
development) whi"h "ontains three elements. growth& distriution
and staility* Suharto5s regime strongly argues that national
staility must e 7ept as a prime "ondition in running the
development wheel* (hus& the government must eliminate any
7ind of Ddestru"tive a"tions5 toward the development*
4owever& the regime monopolised and unilaterally defined
the meaning of Ddestru"tive a"tions5 and Dnational staility5* 's a
result& honest and fran7ly "riti"isms addressed to !eluarga
"endana (Suharto5s family) ehaviour would not e a""epted as
D"onstru"tive "riti"ism5* In "ontrast& it would e regarded as
Ddestru"tive a"tions5 or Dharming the national staility5& whereas he
and his family had een puli"ly 7nown to "ommit mis"ellaneous
"ollusion and utilise politi"al power for their personal e"onomi"
purposes (see )ati7iotis& #$$0& S"hwarA& #$$,)*
In responding the regime5s negative outloo7 on "riti"isms
and differen"e ideas& Indonesian press developed prudent attitude
and self2"ensorship* (he press must& li7e or disli7e& to show its
a""ommodative manner toward Suharto5s poli"ies or his "hildren5s
ehaviour in using "ruelly their father5s status* '""ordingly& the
press positioned themselves no more than message "ouriers for
Suharto or his "hildren5s usiness a"tivities& even some of them
seemed to e "ampaign media of the family*

Mdia and Mani%u#ation
!anipulation of fa"ts may e done y the press unhappily&
ut they must did it to save themselves* In a su"h a "ir"umstan"e&
oviously& mass media "ould not e e=pe"ted to draw events or
reality as a""urate as possile* !any fa"ts and opinions must e
hidden for those were disadvantage the government* Some
rilliant 3ournalists otained many saleale ut Ddangerous5 stories
and they had to only 7eep it in their po"7et& or they individually
used silently the information for ma7ing money
4iding fa"ts or dishonesty was not only pra"ti"ed y
3ournalists* 'nyody who spo7e to puli" should "hange some
parti"ular words or use euphemism to avoid "ontrast appearan"es
with the mainstream (read. the regime preferen"es)* ;or e=ample&
the regime did not li7e to use kelaparan word for e=pressing a
"ondition of food s"ar"ity or starvation& e"ause the word pointed
the "arelessness of the government apparatuses or Dundermined
the "harisma of the government5* (hey li7e to pronoun"e the su"h
a "ondition as rawan pangan& a phrase that a"tually fails to
appropriately draw the reality* (o follow and to please the

't has !een %idely kno%n that some 'ndonesian journalists use improperly their pro)ession to et .!la*k1
money# Some o) them do it )or additional re(enue !e*ause they earn (ery lo% salary )rom their
employers# The operation mode o) them is mainly !y askin )or .transportation )unds1 to their ne%s
su!je*ts %hom e4pe*tin the ne%s !ein pu!lished or unpu!lished# .The transportation )und1 is usually
su!mitted %ithin an en(elope" so it is then *alled as .an en(elope money1 or uang amplop#
government& many newspapers or individual spea7ers used or
9uoted the terms*
)ati7iotis says&
' style of writing has developed whi"h a""ommodates the
estalishment5s re3e"tion of dire"t "riti"ism of its poli"ies and pra"ti"es*
(hus the report on the prolem of development in a "ertain provin"e is
more li7ely to lead off with the line*** ()ati7iotis& #$$0. #/8)*

(o put the press as a mirror of a so"iety& the press5s soft
rea"tions to the government5s pressures were disadvantageous to
the people5s politi"al morality& even spread out an=iety* It e"ause
the press failed to refle"t the real situation of the state or the
regime5s performan"e as well as to interpret the situation in a truth
"onte=t* (he audien"es ultimately lost their moral guidan"e&
moreover as the press often e=posed the intelle"tual groups5 or
religious leaders5 supports to the government& ut hid their strong
"riti"isms* 's a result& the press "reated an image that the regime
was too powerful& so it was impossile to e overthrown* !ost of
the people then preferred to oey or hiding their hatred to the
regime rather than to oppose it openly*
Dishonesty then developed wider than for spea7ing and
e=pressing politi"al aspirations* Corruption& a ehaviour rooted
from hypo"risy and dishonesty was also amaAingly develop. it
happened at any level of the New Orders5 ureau"ra"y* Culture of
"orruption develops in line with the asen"e of freedom to "onvey
the truth* S"hwarA says in his oo7&
+etty "orruption is an unfortunate fa"t of life in Indonesia* !ore
serious& however& are the mu"h larger under2the2tale payment made

Sin*e Suharto %as in o))i*e" hypo*risy had !een %idely spread amonst the people" e(en up to the
parliament mem!ers# 6one o) the mem!ers !ra(ed to *riti*ise Suharto1s poli*ies or his )amily1s
*orrupted !eha(iour# Con(ersely" they o)ten praised the president" althouh the pu!li* !e*ame annoyed
listenin their statements#
y "ompanies to senior offi"ials to win ma3or government "ontra"ts*
Or& the sums that foreign and domesti" "ompanies pay to politi"ally
well2"onne"ted private usinessmen who otain "ontra"ts on their
ehalf* (his "an involve a straight payment of free e9uity in a 3oin
venture "ompany (S"hwarA& #$$,. 0-)*

4owever& Suharto did not a"7nowledge the "orruption as the
produ"t of "orrupt mind* It is the result of e"onomi" pressure*
S"hwarA 9uotes Suharto&
DEventually& when e"onomi" development has gone so fat as to
produ"e a good overall standard of living& government employees will
re"eive ade9uate salaries and have no reason to pra"ti"e "orruption*
EButF no "orrupt a"t**********even under the prete=t of helping people& "an
e 3ustified5(S"hwarA& #$$,. 0-)*

Road to Ca%ita#istic Prss in th N& Ordr R'i!
'lthough Suharto5s regime limits the freedom of Indonesian
press& the +ress '"t #$%1 produ"ed y the regime endorses the
rise of "apitalisti" press in the "ountry* Indeed& the '"t aolishes
"ensorship and interminale "losure as formal "ontrol me"hanism
of the press "ontents
& ut re9uests anyone who wants to pulish
press to get a SIG++ (the +ermission :etter for +ress +ulishing
Enterprise) from the government ('rti"le No* #& "lause No* #0)*
(he SIG++ is purposed to administratively regulate the press
organisation and management* (herefore it is related to the
minimum share elong to the pulisher& its possessive share
"omposition& laour relations& an7 guarantee& et"* (he
administrative regulations re9uest a minimum "apital for any press

8ormally" the o(ernment had a*ted in a**ordan*e %ith the A*t# Ho%e(er" the authorised o))i*ials
employed an in)ormal me*hanism *alled lembaga telepon# Here the o))i*ials *alled the *hie) editors to
appeal or hal)$)or*e him to stop pu!lishin sensiti(e or *ontro(ersial ne%s# Yunus Yos)iah" the
'n)ormation Minister o) Ha!i!i1s reime then )or!ids the o))i*ials o) the Ministry o) 'n)ormation to pra*ti*e
enterprises& therefore only ri"h investors "an estalish the press
"ompany* (he SIG++ fa"ilitates ri"h investors freely enter to press
's a newspaper reports a news annoying the government& it
may easily lose its legal right to "ontinue its operation due to the
government annuls the SIG++ without "ourt verdi"t* (he su"h a
punishment had een applied to some news magaAines su"h as
Tempo and #ditor and some newspapers*
(he SIG++ then endorses the press enterprises to develop
as money ma7ing ma"hines only* (he "apitalist press "ondu"ts
very "arefully& avoiding ris7s y minimising "ontroversial issues&
and pra"tising self2"ensorship e"ause the press investors were
afraid of the SIG++ "an"ellation* 's a result& the 3ournalists lose
their real fun"tion as a wat"hdog for the government& and the
investors treat them no more than professionals even normal
Besides& the SIG++ was employed as a strategi" point of
Suharto5s family or his "ronies to "ontrol the press enterprises* (o
them& having press enterprises was not only advantageous in
terms of politi"s& ut also e"onomy sin"e the press "an e utilised
easily to "reate positive images on their usiness performan"e*

Prssur to Chan's
Hreat pressures given y Indonesian students pressed
Suharto to step down at 1# !ay #$$%* (he vi"e president

the su*h a mode o) *ontrol# See .Menpen Laran 9udaya Telepon ke Media Massa1" Media Indonesia"
Baharuddin Cusuf 4aii appointed y Suharto to repla"e his
presidential position* (he new president leads a "ainet "alled
!abinet $e%ormasi embangunan (Reformed Development
Cainet)& where !uhammad <unus <osfiah is "harged as the
!inister of Information*
(he new regime appears with a more populist fa"e that
produ"es some new regulations to serve people5s demand for a
more demo"rati" life atmosphere. any "itiAen frees to found
politi"al party& oppressed poli"ies on university student5s right to
develop its organisation was aolished& releasing politi"al
opponents from prison and so on* ;or Indonesian mass media&
the most important poli"y is on the "hange of SIG++ regulation&
even though it is still unsatisfa"tory*
(he !inister <osfiah produ"es a simpler regulation on
SIG++& mainly on the te"hni"al pro"edure of proposing the
permission letter* Some re9uirements that de"rease people6s
a""ess to media produ"tion are erased& so y the new regulation
the element of "apital and re"ommendation from authorised
3ournalist organisation (+@I) are no longer important* In
"on"lusion& <osfiah "ut down ureau"rati" pro"edures that may
"ause politi"al and e"onomi" dis"riminations in issuing the
4owever& <osfiah5s poli"ies do not "hange fundamentally
the government5s osolete assumptions on press. press is
dangerous and anar"hi" potential& so the government must "ontrol

&- May &,,-" p#7
the press organisation* In other word& the new regulation on the
SIG++ e=presses that the 4aii5s regime does not sustantially
"hange the previous regime5s point of view on press* (he
assumption is erroneous sin"e the New Order regime was
paralysed y students5 movements& not y the press (Chatra&
#$%%)* Indonesian press5 "ontriutions for the movement were
meaningful& ut were not as mu"h as that of alternative
"ommuni"ation media su"h as internet and underground

(he history of Indonesian press is a history of suppression
and the government interventions* Oppression to the press& in
fa"t& is not only "hara"terise the New Order or Suharto5s regime&
ut also that of its prede"essor* 't the end of his regime& Su7arno
did the same thing (Smith& #$%0)*
Oppression to the press results in the press "an not "ontrol
the government or telling the truth& ut in "ontrast& it let the
government to negle"t its wea7nesses and to fertilise osessions
among the people* By limiting the press freedom& the Suharto5s
regime distra"ted its refle"tive mirror* !oreover& the regime
so"ialised the people to marginalise the value of transparen"y and
honesty& and let the people to 7eep hypo"risy traits*
Reformation& a word that had een used effe"tively to for"e
Suharto stepped down& indi"ates a new spirit to leave anything
disadvantages the nation& to deeply ury all types of oppressive
a"tions& in"luding that was addressed to the press& in history*
4owever& the freedom given y BC 4aii5s regime for the
Indonesian press "an e regarded as a short time politi"al
movement only& e"ause the regime is still maintain the '"t no*
1#>#$%1* 's mentioned aove& the a"t is the sole referen"e and a
legal ase for the government in intervening the press*


'idin& '*I* and B* :opa (#$-%)& &a'a(a !omunisme& Bulan
Bintang& Ca7arta
'nonimous (#$$%)& D() +ool +eruru7 Citra Indonesia5&
Singgalang& 1, !ay
222222222222222(#$$%)& D!enpen :arang Budaya (elepon 7e !edia
!assa5& Media Indonesia& #% !ay
'tma7usumah (#$%#)& !ebebasan ers an Arus In%ormasi di
Indonesia& :S+& Ca7arta
Chatra& E (#$$%) & SIG++ Seharusnya Dihapus& Indonesia &aru
No* 1 Culy
S"hwarA& '* (#$$,)& A )ation in *aiting+ Indonesia in t'e 199,s&
@estview +ress& Boulder2San ;ran"is"o
Smith& C*C* (#$%0) Sejara' embreidelan ers Indonesia& Hrafiti
+ress& Ca7arta
)ati7iotis& !* R* C* (#$$0)& Indonesian oliti-s under Su'arto+
.rder/ De0elopment and ressure %or "'ange& Routledge&
:ondon2New <or7