Monday, May 16, 2011

The Moderating Media

News on the Indonesian Islamic State (NII) has received much media attention in the past few months. My general observation on the Indonesian (liberal, commercial) press in particular have shown an effort of moderating such a threat to the nation state. I've read various headlines on how Indonesia's largest and moderate muslim organisations, Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, reinforce that they acknowledge the country's constitution and fundamental views (the Pancasila ideology).

This morning, I've read five news articles and three journalistic photography on the Vesak. The country's largest newspaper, Kompas, included a quarter-of-a-page advertorial portraying a temple with a backdrop of a sunset, with an excerpt on finding peace within (which is one of the dominant teachings in Buddhism and perhaps to contrast against radicalism and violence).

What is currently happening starkly differs from the strategised domestification of religious diversity during Authoritarian Indonesia. The effort to moderate, coming from a liberal, commercial media as well as large muslim bodies, is perhaps motivated by the consciousness of a diverse society in theory and a commercial need to maintain universal values in order to speak to the larger market in practice. I find this very fascinating because it occurs in company of the virtual absence of a government that protects the right of marginalised minorities. And I cannot help but feel hopeful that perhaps something could work under the current system.


Lemi4 aka. fERDI:) said...

"And I cannot help but feel hopeful that perhaps something could work under the current system."

Hear, hear.

Inaya Rakhmani said...

Tapi pasti gue ditimpuk batu, Fer, sama orang-orang pesimis... :p

colson said...

Let's add my "Hear, hear" to Lemi4's.

The system may have serious flaws ( inability to get at the socio-economical roots of radicalism, the absence of a coherent policy building social security, the shaky 'state of law' and huge inequalities), there is an active society and a growing relevance of public opinion.

If your observation of moderate views among dominant parts of society is correct ( and there is no reason to doubt it) the future will be brighter than the past.

Inaya Rakhmani said...

Many people don't share my view, but I think it's important to focus on what works and magnify the impact. It's why, although I'm mainly an academic, I try to work with NGOs and journalists. So perhaps the optimism is for the selfish reason of maintaining my own sanity :p

ade said...

Inaya, aku menganggap kaum moderat terlalu sedikit berbuat untuk melawan radikalisme, ekstremisme, fasisme atas nama agama.
Kaum moderat tahu bahwa ada masalah, tapi berharap masalah akan berlalu dengan satu atau lain cara.
Untuk melawan kebiadaban, yang diperlukan bukan cuma gambaran indah tentang 'keberadaban', tapi penolakan langsung terhadap kebiadaban itu sendiri.

Tikno said...

Hi Inaya, Ade's comment makes me think twice :)

Inaya Rakhmani said...

Mas Tikno, Ade (Armando) dan saya berbeda pendapat biasanya tentang hal ini. Bang Ade berargumen bahwa kalau kaum moderat harus bersuara lebih keras, sekeras suara mereka yang radikal, agar ada pengimbang. Saya sendiri menggunakan cara-cara yang, barangkali menurut Bang Ade, lebih pasif. Contohnya adalah menulis dengan 'nuanced' (memberikan kesempatan pembaca untuk menarik kesimpulan sendiri). Tentu cara ini tidak efektif untuk mengubah ketidakadilan di masyarakat.

Jadi biasanya diskusi antara saya dan Bang Ade berakhir dengan: Saya tidak akan menggunakan cara keras, tapi saya menyadari pentingnya muslim moderat yang mampu menyaingi, kalau tidak mengalahkan, suara mereka yang tidak mau mendengar.

In other words; we fight the same battle with different weapons.

Ya, Bang Ade?