A disinterested press: reporting police in a provincial Indonesian newspaper

Sharyn Graham Davies, Louise M. Stone, John W. Buttle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article constitutes the first analysis of newspaper coverage of police in Indonesia. Analysing 63 articles that appeared in the print version of the Lombok Post between September and October 2011, we were curious to see whether recent media liberalisation meant that the press were now critical of police corruption, brutality and ineffectiveness, or whether there existed a close relationship between police and media such that the press worked as a public relations mouth piece for the police. We also wondered whether the Lombok Post reported about police in a sensationalist way in order to sell more newspapers. What we found were articles that generally failed to criticise police or promote police interests in any enduring way. We also found that articles reported on police in a benign way by simply describing characteristics of the incident, victim, and suspect, and discussing the status of an investigation or trial. What our article suggests is that the Lombok Post is largely disinterested in police and policing, and in a circular way both reflects and sculpts public opinion of police. Media significantly shapes public perceptions of police, and as the most widely read newspaper in Lombok, the Lombok Post has the potential to spark critical debate about policing in the region. Until media across Indonesia recognise the importance for democracy of reporting favourably and critically on police, citizens will remain largely disengaged from police, allowing poor policing practices to persist.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-60
Number of pages14
JournalMedia Asia
Volume42
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • police
  • Indonesia
  • media
  • newspaper
  • Lombok

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