There are many women Member of Parliaments (MPs) who have worked hard on legislative, yet there is only a few who have communicated the results to the constituents and mass media. The situation has widened the gap of communication between women MPs and the communities. Women MPs are thought to put less of maximum effort.

The case under the study is focusing on the pattern of communication adopted by women MPs within the period of 2009 – 2014.  The communication pattern relates to internal interaction between members and external interaction to the constituents and the media. Also how they use the new media as internet news, blog, social networking, etc to communicate with public and their constituents. Limited capability in communication is rooted from both ideological and psychological obstacles when the MPs enter the parliament.  According to Nadezhda Shevedove (Karam, 1999), such obstacles relate to the gender ideology, social and cultural gap between the role of men and women, a perception of “dirty game of politics”, and how women being presented in mass media.

Leslie Baxter and Barbara Montgomery study the complexity on how people communicate to manage conflicting power, which potentially disrupt relations with others.  They construct four dimension and dialectic, namely contradiction, change, praxis and totality.  These four dimensions are suitable to serve as indicators to measure the communication pattern in the women MPs.This case study uses qualitative approach with constructive paradigm to construct digital media use awareness in the communication pattern of women MPs to their constituent and public. As a preliminary study, this research argues that the pattern of communication which is not properly expressed by women MPs will lead to their under-estimated roles.  On the contrary, communication activity, especially external type, will lead to the improvement of bargaining power of the MPs in the eye of their constituents.


Keywords: digital media, political communication, women parliaments


Since the reformation of Indonesia in 1998, women have been endorsed to participate actively in the political area. It is noted that several changes in the government administration, legislative and judicative has been occured. The representation of women in the parliament has increased in the period of 2009 – 2014. Women made up 18% of the elected representatives. Earlier, in the period of 2004 – 2009, it was only 11.8 %. In the Regional Representative Council (DPR), women made up 26.5% of the elected representatives. Earlier, in the period of 2004 – 2009, it was only 22.5 %.  The increase in the number of women in parliament has also increased the expectation of carrying the issues of women into legislation. However, it realized that it would not be as easy as flipping the hands. Women will face ideological and psychological obstacles when they enter parliament. For example, according to Nadezha Shevedove (Karam, 1999),  they might face up to the issue of gender ideology, cultural gap, or social role that had been made for men and women. The assumption about politic as a dirty game, and how women are represented in the mass media would also be considered as the obstacles for women.


Those obstacles should not prevent women to carry on their political activites. There is a number of women legislators who have worked hard to bring the issues of public interests which is also the interests of women, into parliament. They also speak about their duties and works openly to the their constituents and to the public through mass media. However, the number of them may be small compared to the 101 women legislators in the house of reprentatives, and 34 women legislators in the house of regional representatives in 2009. If we click the internet or read the conventional print media, we will find only few of them have clearly shown their concern on women issues and speak it up to the media.


The assumption of the limitation of knowledge and gender awareness among the women legislators migh be true. However, it can not be used as a reason for them for not speaking up their concerns for women of their constituents.

Following the good work and concern on the gender issue, the next step that should be taken by women legislators are building the good communication between them and their constituents as well as the media. It would be appeared as their public responsibility. However, once again most of women legislators have shown their incapability to talk in the media. Marcus Mitnizier, a researcher from Germany who concerns on the Indonesian women issues,  has evaluated that women legislators in the past period (2004 – 2009) spoke less about the interesting topics and the issues that relates to women in particular (http://nasional.kompas.com/read/ 2009/06/12/11400023/Anggota DPR Perempuan  Harus Berani Tampil di Media).


Moreover, in the digital era, many people have used this technology as one of their communication tools. Parliament members as people’s representatives are expected to be able to communicate their political statements through this new forms of media. Unfortunately, we find that many parliament members have not familiar with the use of the new communication technology. In 2007, a number of Indonesian medias reported that a number of  Samarinda, East Kalimantan’s House of Regional Representatives members did not know what was email. When one of the reporter asked about it, he/she gave ludricous answer: ” I used to have an email, but I had already sold it”.  The other member, in the different moment had answered, “Personally, I don’t have it. But It doesn’t mean that I can’t buy it, I just still love domestic product”, (http://www.indonesiaindonesia.com/f/21200-kisah-nyata-anggota-anggota-dewan-berbicara/).


At the moment, social media has been used as communication tools for society. Parliament member should follow this new communication media to adjust with the people whom they represent.  According to Conrnfield, Carson, Kalis, and Simon ( Negrine & Stanyar, 2007), in USA, since 2004, blogger politic have received special attention from the society. A few of them have been known as “A – list” or “political blogs” who have new forces to influence the national politics. In Indonesia, many people have started their social and political movement through discussions in the mailing lists which later have developed  and mobilized into blog, facebook and twitter.


Using this background, I will digging more about the use of digital media among the women legislators (members of the house of representatives in the period of 2009 –  2014) within their political communication pattern. This research uses qualitative approach with constructive paradigm. Because it will observe and describe the awareness of digital media within the communication process of women legislators, both internally and externally. Research strategy is using orientational qualitative inquiry which uses perspective of women awareness as the ideology to determine the concept frame for data gathering and output interpretation.


Informants selection are based on the informants capacity in explaining and describing,  deeply, about their communication pattern, or other women legislators, both internally and externally, and specifically the use of digital media. Data gathering will use indepth interview with interview guide approach technic, as well as literature studies as secondary data sources.


Relational Dialectics

Dialectic is a tension between two or more contradictory elements in a system which requires temporary solution at the least (Littlejohn, 2002).  Dialectical analysis looks at the way the system develops or changes, how it moves and how it solves the tension. Dialectical analysis will also observe the strategic actions of the system to overcome the contradiction.

Leslie Baxter, Barbara Montgomery and their colleagues had studied the complex method of how people communicate to manage and organize conflicting forces which potentially disrupt the relation with others in a certain period. Later, they constructed 4 dimension of dialectics, namely contradiction, change, praxis and totality (Littlejohn, 2002).


  • Contradiction

Contradiction is a tense between conflicting opponents. Contradiction is not a limited objective forces, but it emerges in the give – and – take of interaction within a relation. In contradiction, there is a term known as cluster or knot of contradiction which consisted of centripetal and centrifugal. Each cluster consisted of varieties which relates to contradiction that may occur in a relationship.


First cluster is integration and separation or a tension between coming together or moving apart. It can be caused by a tension between meeting the demand of women legislators meetings versus interaction with others, outside them. This tension is a fight between individualistic and mutualism symbiosis. Whenever a person fight to take a decision between supporting other people or his/her self, then that person is facing this contradiction.


Second cluster is expression – non expression. This is a tension between revealing the information or keep it secret. Whenever a person hesitates is to tell the other colleagues of parliament members about one matter, then he/she is having this tension.


Third cluster is stability – change or a tension between what is predicted and consisten versus spontaneous and differences. Very often, women legislators find a difficulty to choose between doing the similar things (doing the similar old things) or doing the new things. Whenever it happens, then her relation with other colleagues is having this contradiction.


These three clusters can be described as follows:

                             Internal Dialectic                      External Dialectic

                               (relation between colleagues)   (relation between women

                                                                                   legislators and community)





Expression-Non expression

Connectedness-Separateness Inclusion-Seclusion
Certainty-Uncertainty Conventionality-Uniqueness
Openness- Closeness Revelation-Concealment


               The Chart of the Type of Dialectical tension in a relatioship (Griffin, 2006)






Contradiction is an important part of dialectica process, but contradiction is not a whole dialectica. The dyanmic interplay between opponents will lead to the second element of dialectica analysis. A contradiction within a relationship will involving the attempt to manage the continuous tension between change and stability. In general, it can be said that management of contradiction is a main force/power to lead a development of a relationship.


In the political communication, a condition of contradiction can not be avoided, however, at the end, the communication that they have been built will share a common view.  At the heart of what we call “politics” is the attempt to get others to ‘share a common view’ about what is useful-harmful, good-evil, just-unjust (Chilton, 2004).


  • Change  

Werner and Baxter (Littlejohn, 2002) found five qualities that change as relationship develops: first is aptitude.  The amount of feeling, attitude or both of them. Second, is salience – which involves concentration on the past, present or future. In a relationship, it can be found that oneself concentrates on what happened in the past. Third is scale – how long the relational pattern happens. Fourth, there is a sequence – the order of events in the relationship. Fifth is pace/rhtym – the rapidity of events or interval between those events in a relationship.


According to Werner and Baxter, we can see change in different method/way, first, it is liniear – it is a continous change pattern, as a relationship moves from one condition to the other condition. Second, it is cyclical/spiralling which focus on the repeated pattern, repetead oneself contiuously. Members of parliament are demanded to adapt any changes immediately and correctly. The capabiliy to adapt, completed with experience will make a member of parliament accepted by every person.






  • Praxis

Praxis is a third element of dialectical analysis. Praxis is a romain term of practice. Praxis is what a person actually do. Praxis consisted of how people think and how they act (Littlejohn, 2002). In this condition, a politician will be flexible and put theirselves in every actual situation. Very often, parliament members called as pragmatist.


  • Totality

Totality is a wholeness. Contradictions are interdependent with one another. Totality is the knot of contradiction. C. Arthur Van Lear (Littlejohn, 2002) explained about the four common pattern within dialectical management, namely: 1. Redefinition. Here, people will repicturing one of the contradictive elements, so it will not be look contradictive. For example, the capability of parliament members to negotiate their constituents aspirations and their party’s interests. 2. Balancing or act moderatly to the two choice. For example, people will do something they want and other side’s want. In this case, other parliament members in the same comission’s want. 3. Contingent selection or taking one action in one situation and taking another action in the different situation. 4. Cyclical alternation, is a pattern when people who work together will repeat their cooperation repeteadly from one action to another in the term of periodic trade – off.


Communication Privacy

One of the important theory which discuss more about dialectical process in the individual relationship is communication privacy management theory. According to Petronio (Morissan, 2009), the focal point of this theory is to manage the tension between the need to act openly (openess) or privately (privacy), between being public or being privat. Communication pattern of parliament members are varied. Some of them are open to the media, including revealing their private matters. The others choose to keep the privacy. There are also some of them who choose to take the attitude in between. In other words, they are open to communicate their works that should be known by public, on the other hand, they will keep their personal matters privately.


The success of managing the communication privacy will make them directly or indirectly have done their job to share the information to the media. According to Chilton (2004), one of the area that should be taken over by political communication is controlling the public media.


The Use of Digital Media

Morris dan Ogan (McQuail, 2002) said that the internet is a multifaceted mass medium, that is,  it contains many different configuration of communication.  Its varied from show the connection between interpersonal dan mass communication. From this point of view, I see that the multifunction of the internet as digital media should become the main of attention for people who involve in the political communication, and it includes parliament members. If politicians can not maximize the use of digital media, it is assured public will not know their performance.


According to Blumler and Kavanagh (Negrine & Stanyer, 2007), the use of digital media, which they said as cyber politics, significantly develop three things that has a closeness to the future, namely: 1. As a campaign media. It will become a complement of traditional campaign method. 2. It will become a powerful tool to develop the solidarity within one group, and it could be used as a facility of national mobilization. 3. It certainly develops the political communication for people who involve in it or to anybody who want to explore every access in the internet, further and with broader perspective. This is consistent with information theory which says that people follow the communication to achieve specific objectives, namely to exchange information and reduce uncertainty (Nimmo, 2005).


In the world which rely on the use of internet media,  if women parliamentarians can maximize the three functions of digital media, they will be recognized as respectable politicians by their politician colleagues in the parliament and society as a public of political communication.





Result and Analysis


This research is based on the result from the interview with 3 main informants. Profile of the informants are as follows: Informant 1, age 45 years old, hold a post graduated degree, professional experience: lecturer, NGO activist and member of The House of Representative in the period of 2004 – 2009. Informant 2, age 37 years old, hold a postgraduate degree, Professional experience: lecturer, political activist (there is no detail explanation about it). Informant 3, age 52 years old, High School degree, Professional experience: Leader of an NGO.


The three informants welcomed the researcher kindly. In the first meeting, it could be seen that informant 1 and 3 had open personality, expressive and had a courage to say different opinion to their parties.  The three informants showed that their communication pattern with their colleagues, both male and women colleagues, did not find any serious problem and they could carry it out well. As it was specifically said by informant 1: “When we deal with male colleagues, we need to show that we comprehend the material and have current information about it. When there is a dissimilarity between us, they will be hesitant to make a mess with us”. Informant 3 said a similar statement about it,”I don’t treat anybody differently. Very often my younger colleagues show more respect when they know that I’m senior and comprehend the situation more. And it’s not because I’m a woman. In fact I  can be more firmed than my male colleagues if it is necessary”. Informant 2 also showed no problem when she had to deal with male colleagues,”Sometimes as a woman member of parliament, I am more convenient in delivering my opinion than my male colleagues”.


Party’s interest vs Constituent’s interest


The management of contradiction dialectic frequently was related with the divergence between constituents and party’s interest. Literature and field study found that a number of parliament members, women in particular, had to work harder to deal with the differences between her constituents and party. Informant 1 and 3 said that they had courage to deliver openly their different opinion. “I represent my constituents here, so their interests have to become my first priority. As long as it’s not against my conscience, I have to deliver it openly. Sometimes my party doesn’t agree with it, but still we need to deliver what our constituents required”, said informant 1 who gained 34,380 votes from her voters. Informant 3 who gained 40,027 votes said the similar statement,”I am the conveyor of a message of the community, in this case her constituents, so whatever it is, I have to deliver it. If my party doesn’t agree with it, still I have to say it because I was chosen by my constituents, the people”.


Different with other two informants, Informant 2, who gained 28,749 votes admitted that she had to consider the party’s interest. She was afraid that she would be recalled by her party if she delivered different opinion. “I share my heart for this, if my party said A in my comission, I have to say A, too. But later in a different event, I have to say B to my constituent, that’s what I have to do…”.


Communication pattern that showed a contradiction between party’s and constituent’s interest had caused women member of parliament had different pattern in dealing with the media. Because what would be reported by media would make both a positive and negative impact related to their position as parliament members. First, media would consider it as positive if she fought for her constituents, but her party would not think it similarly. Second, the community would consider it as negative if she comply with her party and did not deliver her constituent’s/community’s interests. And media would report her as unfaithful people’s representative. On the contrary, her party would support her, because she was loyal to her party.


The disloyalty that was delivered to the party would cause parliament members were recalled by their party, and their seat in the parliament would be substituted by another cadres. Informant 3 is, at the moment, is fighting for one side recall that was made by her party, “I am here because people voted for me. It’s not fair if my party recall me because my constituent has different interest with my party. I will bring this case to Constitutional Court to fight this”.


The three of them said that they communicated with the media well, but they showed different pattern. Informant 1 said that she was open to the media. She was willing to be interviewed throuh telephone, email, and others. In fact, there were reporters/journalist who frequently report her ideas in the media, eventhough, they never meet in personal or face to face. Moreover, she said that media always look for her to get the current information. According to her, media people had work professionally, and never asked about her personal life. “In fact, I received an invitation from one journalist who frequently contact me through phone call and email for years, but I never meet the person”. Informant 2 considered herself as popular among the media people. She said that media people knew her in personal, but she didn’t have personal relationship with media people. “I don’t know them personally”, she said.


Informant 3 felt open to the media. She could be interviewed through phone calls, email and others. She admitted that she knew media people personally, because they met them often, she knew some of their names. However, she chose to keep private matters away from the media. So, she only talked about her works. “Media people usually have certain post, so I regularly recognize them. But it is strictly for work matters only. I never invite them to my home”.

The three of them had similar pattern in keeping their private matters away from the media. They definitely separated their public works and personal matters. So they could keep their privacy very well, and media people professionally respected them as well.





Table 1


Communication Pattern of Women Member of Parliament

  Internal Communication Pattern Communication Pattern to the Constituents Communication Pattern to the Media
Informant 1 She could manage her relational dialectic very well. However she still showed her idealism as people’s representative, showed that she was loyal to her voters. It caused unavoidable contradiction with her party. But she had good communication with her commission. She was closed to her constituents, and routinely visited her electoral votes area. She opened 24 hours communication for her constituents through phone call, internet and others. She frequently recieved input and proposal from her constituents. She was open with her constituents, and she would inform her constituents if there were interest differences between her party and her constituents. She was open to the media.She was willing to be interviewed through phone calls, email, and others. There was journalist who frequently write her thoughts and ideas in the media, eventhough they never meet in personal. She knew that media would belooking for her for current issues and information. And according to her, media people acted professionally and never asked or talked about her personal life.
Informant 2 She managed her relational dialectic with “safety player” role. Particularly when she had to face the differences between her constituents and party’s interests. She wouldl show her side to her party. With her commission, she didn’t have communication problem. She and her constituents had wide social – education gap. And it created distant between them. She thought that majority of her constituents come to her only for the interest of asking for money. If there was an interest difference between the party and her constituents, she prefered to take side to her party. She tended to avoiding the risk of recall. She thought media had made her popular. Media people knew her well, in personal. But she said that she didn’t have personal closeness to media people.
Informant 3 She could manage her relational dialectic very well. However she still showed her idealism as people’s representative, showed that she was loyal to her voters. It caused unavoidable contradiction with her party. She had good communication with her commission. She thought that she was closed to her constituents. She was open to her constituents and  she would inform her constituents if there were interest differences between her party and her constituents.  She positioned herself as people’s representatives and she had the courage to deliver  the people’s interests  eventhough it might be different with her party’s interest. She was open to the media.She was willing to be interviewed through phone calls, email and others. She knew a number of media people personally, because they met frequently. But she still kept her private matters away from the media. She only talked about her work and not about her personal life to the media.



The use of Digital Media

When their communication pattern and privacy were visible, their media pattern would show the similar way. It was interesting to see that capability to develop their knowledge and updated every information had made them powerful to control the media. When they comprehended the issues and problems very well, they became the magnet for the media.


Informant 1 was not just well known for her capability in the finance matter, she as also known as a hard-working woman activist. She sit in Commission IX: Finance, National Development Plan, Banking, Non – Bank Financial Institute. “I always prepared to be put in any comission. In the period of 2004 – 2009, I was in Commission III: law and constitution, human rights and safety. And everybody who did not know about women issues would come me. It was a challenge and learning process for me. So I will keep learning and developing”. The similar statement was said by informant 3, “I am capable in Cooperation business, but I want to develop myself more. I am looking for a new challenge, that’s why I asked to be put in this Commission I for Defense, Foreign Affairs, Information/Communication”.


These condition made these two informants frequently appeared in the website news for explaining various issues. It was noted that during January 2009 – October 2010, informant 1 had appeared in 226 news from 31 website news. While informant 3 appeared in 197 news from 30 website news. Informant 2 appeared in 30 news from 22 website news. Their skill to comprehended the materials/issues corresponded with their frequent appearance in the internet media, particularly in website news.


It is more interesting to analyze the use of social media, Facebook and Twitter in particular, and blog. The three informants have different pattern in using the social media. Informant 1 used Facebook and Twitter actively, particulary to deliver her ideas, responding the issue from the media, or answering her constituents’ questions.

Informant 2 prefered to use Twitter than Facebook, because she did not want to appear narcissist, “Honestly I don’t like Facebook because it has narcissist impression”. While informant 2 explained that she never used the social media facility to build communication with her constituents. “My constituents are not classified as internet users. If they want to communicate with me, they will directly come to my office in The House of Representative. So I don’t use those internet facilities”.

Informant 3 actively usde Facebook to communicate with her consitutents. But she didn’t actively use Twitter. “For me, Facebook will help constituent to deliver their voices directly to politic space. And by using Facebook I can help them to answers their questions “.


The use of digital media was important for informant 1, so she also used blog as a media to socialize her ideas as well as analyzing community’s problems. In fact, if informant 1 did not have time to update her blog, she would ask her assistant to do it. Informant 3 did not have blog, however she realized the important issues that were delivered in the blog or other internet media to update the information. “If I don’t have the time to open it, I will ask my assistant to select the important issues, print them and submitted them to me”.















Table 2

The use of Digital Media

  Reported in the news website (January 2009 – October 2010) Social Media Use (Facebook & Twitter) Blog Use
Informant 1 226 reports in more than 31 news websites, among others: http://www.kompas.com, http://www.detiknews.com, http://www.rakyatmerdeka.co.id, http://www.tribuntimur.com, dll/www.vivanews.com, http://www.metronews.com, http://www.radaris.com, www. antaranews.com, http://www.jppn.com,  http://www.suarapembaharuan.com, http://www.thejakartapost.com, http://www.jakartapress.com, http://www.pontianak.com., http://www.gressnews.com, http://www.fajar.co.id, http://www.suaramedia.com, http://www.koranjakarta.com, http://www.indowarta.com., http://www.tempointeraktif.com dll. Actively use Facebook and Twitter to deliver the ideas, responding the issues in the media, or answering the constituents’ questions. She has blog account. She will updated her blod personally if she has spare time or she will ask her assistant to update it.
Informant 2 30 reports from 22 news website, among others: http://www.pikiran-rakyat.com, http://www.inilah.com.www.beritaliputan6.com,www. merdekanews.com, http://www.hupelita.com, http://www.pastinews.com, http://www.bandoengnews.com, http://www.antaranews.com, http://www.sinarharapan.co.id, http://www.tribunnews.com, http://www.,mediaindonesia.com. Dll She prefer Twitter than Facebook. Because she thinks Facebook make narcissist impression. She has no blog.
Informant 3 197 reports in more than 30 news website, among others: http://www.kompas.com, http://www.detiknews.com, http://www.rakyatmerdeka.co.id, http://www.tribuntimur.com, dll/www.vivanews.com, http://www.metronews.com, http://www.radaris.com, http://www.jppn.com,www.suarapembaharuan.com, http://www.theglobal.com dll. She actively use facebook, particularly to answer her constituent’s questions. But she doesn’t actively use her twitter account. She has no blog.






The use of digital media for women member of parliament in the House of Representatives or The House of Regional Representatives during 2009 – 2011 shows that their communication pattern that are open to the media corresponds with the use of digital media. How they manage the media correspond with their capability to manage communication privacy internally or externally.


Moreover, the capability to communicate through digital media, in fact, are supported by their capability in political communication. Based on the informants explanation above and researcher observation, some women member of parliament have outstanding political communication capability. Unfortunately, some of them do not have those capability. There are three main things that make these conditions: 1. Updating the perspectives and knowledge (it included women issues). 2. Capable to manage relational dialectic, internally or externally. The experience of political activity inside or outside the parliament. 3. Capable in using digital media, including the capability to manage connection with internet news media.


The lack of enthusiasm to use digital media is not caused by incapability or limited time they have. Other than, it comes from the problem outside theirselves. For example, the assumption that her constituents come from uneducated class who do not familiar with internet use, make her believe that she doesn’t need to build network with community other than her constituents. Her assumption is pitiful, because as people’s representatives, her constituents at the end will be expanded. Moreover, the use of digital media could be treated as a form of their public responsibility. Parliament members can present their responsibility to the public more personally through social media and their blogs.



Chilton, Paul. 2004. Analysing Political Discourse, Theory and Practice. Oxon: Routledge.

Griffin, EM. 2006. A First Look at Communication Theory. Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Littlejohn, Stephen W. 2002. Theories of Human Communication. Seventh Edition. USA: Wadsworth Group.

Karam, Azza, dkk. 1999. Perempuan di Parlemen: Bukan Sekedar Jumlah, Bukan Sekedar Hiasan. Jakarta: Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan.

McQuail, Denis. 2002. McQuail’s Reader in Mass Communication Theory. London: Sage Publication

Morissan, dan Wardhani, Andy Corry. 2009. Teori Komunikasi. Jakarta: Penerbit Ghalia Indonesia.

Negrine, Ralph., James Stanyer. 2007. The Political Communication Reader. Oxon: Routledge.

Nimmo, Dan. 2005. Komunikasi Politik; Komunikator, Pesan dan Media. Bandung: Remadja Rosdakarya.


*Paper presentation in Indonesia International Conference on Communication, Bidakara Hotel, Jakarta November 22-23,  2010






Judul : Womenomics, Membuat Aturan Main Sukses Anda Sendiri

Penulis : Claire Shipman & Katty Kay

Penerbit : Tiga Kelana 2010
Hal : 246 halaman + XXXII

Peresensi : Lestari N.


 Jika ada dua orang hebat berkumpul, belum tentu menghasilkan sesuatu yang luar biasa, tetapi bila ada dua orang jujur berkolaborasi, maka hasilnya pastilah bermanfaat. Inilah yang terjadi pada penerbitan buku Womenomics, Membuat Aturan Main Sukses Anda Sendiri (Write Your Own Rules For Success). Duo jurnalis papan atas yakni Claire Shipman (Wartawan Senior ABC News) dan Katty Kay (Wartawan dan pembawa berita BBC World News America) menyajikan sebuah tulisan penuh inspirasi bagi para perempuan karir yang juga membangun keluarga.



Bagi kedua penulis, Womenomics adalah sebuah perubahan yang dipicu dua masalah. Pertama, bahwa perusahaan sadar akan meningkatnya produktifitas dan keuntungan yang dihasilkan perempuan, apalagi jika mereka bekerja dalam keadaan yang mereka inginkan. Kedua, datang dari para wanita yang menginginkan adanya perubahan. Karenanya kondisi ini bisa menjadi sebuah gerakan bagi para pekerja perempuan.





Buku ini memberikan kunci dan tips bagi para perempuan pekerja untuk secara asertif bertindak efektif, agar menciptakan kondisi di tempat kerja yang mampu memenuhi kebutuhan mereka. Para pekerja perempuan dibekali cara-cara melakukan negosiasi pada pimpinan, rekan kerja, dan relasi mereka saat kebutuhan mereka tidak 100% sesuai dengan kebutuhan pihak lain. Kondisi kerja yang fleksibel menjadi harapan semua pekerja, dan terutama kaum perempuan. Dalam survei-survei yang ada, fleksibilitas –kendali atas kehidupan pribadi dan kerja- sangatlah penting untuk kepuasaan professional mereka. Bahkan menurut Family and Work Institute, empat dari lima perempuan mengatakan bahwa mereka harus lebih fleksibel dalam bekerja (hal 31). Ketika pekerjaan tidak mutlak menguasai seseorang, ketika mereka bisa menjalankan pekerjaan dengan baik tanpa merugikan kepentingan pribadi pekerja tersebut, bisa dipastikan kunci kebahagiaan akan mereka rasakan.



Shipman dan Kay juga menjelaskan bagaimana perempuan harus mulai meninggalkan perasaan bersalah ketika mereka menuntut sesuatu yang menjadi hak dan kebutuhan mereka. Serta menyambut dengan suka cita kata “Tidak” ketika Anda harus menolak sesuatu tugas atau permintaan bantuan di tempat kerja yang tidak sesuai dengan jadwal maupun kewajiban Anda yang sesungguhnya. Roti lapis “tidak”, sebuah istilah yang terdiri atas berbagai cara mengatakan tidak, disampaikan oleh penulis buku ini disajikan dengan uniknya di halaman 110-115.

Tentu saja kekuatan buku ini karena para penulis itu sendiri membagi kisah nyata mereka ketika harus berjibaku dengan pekerjaan mereka, pimpinan, dan keluarga mereka. Keduanya juga memasukkan kisah nyata perempuan lainnya, termasuk dengan kisah suka, duka, dan sejumlah anekdot yang terjadi pada para perempuan pekerja. Argumen yang dibangun kedua penulis menunjukkan bahwa dengan usaha keras pada mental dan emosional dari kaum perempuan itu sendiri, mereka akan mampu menciptakan kondisi kerja dan rumah tangga yang ideal. Gaya tutur yang penuh pragmatis, serta disusunnya tahapan-tahapan penuh optimis, buku ini diharapkan mampu memberikan inspirasi pada para pembacanya, agar mereka mau melakukan sebuah gerakan revolusi dengan pendekatan fleksibilitas dalam dunia bisnis. Jika ini dijalankan, maka nantinya akan memberikan keuntungan tidak saja semata pada para perempuan, namun juga pada para pria sebagai patner bisnis, maupun pada keluarga mereka serta pada pencapaian hasil kerja itu sendiri dilingkungan tempat mereka bekerja.

Berapa waktu lalu, tepatnya pada 14 Januari 2010 Forum Musyawarah Pondok Pesantren Putri (FMP3) se-Jawa Timur, mengeluarkan sejumlah Fatwa Haram: Rebonding, Pemotretan Pre-Wedding, dan Perempuan Tukang Ojek Atau Perempuan Naik Ojek. Fatwa tersebut di keluarkan oleh FMP3 di Pondok Pesantren Lirboyo, Kediri Jawa Timur, yang diikuti oleh 258 peserta yang berasal dari 46 Pondok Pesantren di Jawa Timur dan  dua pondok pesantren di Jawa Tengah. Fatwa (opini hukum dalam Islam) tersebut tentu saja menimbulkan banyak pendapat, terlebih pada isu haramnya perempuan menjadi tukang ojek dan haram naik ojek. Pro dan kontra fatwa ini belum lagi usai, pada Agustus 2010 lalu, Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) Lebak, Banten, Jawa Barat pun mengeluarkan fatwa sejenis yakni berboncengan sepeda motor berbeda jenis kelamin dengan bukan muhrimnya haram hukumnya, karena dianggap mengundang pornografi maupun pergaulan bebas.

Bagi sebagian besar pengojek, ketika mendengarkan dan melihat wacana haram naik ojek, fatwa tersebut dianggap tidak realistis dan membingungkan mereka. Berbagai media mencoba mengemukakan pendapat dan pandangan dari sisi tukang ojek atas fatwa haram tersebut. Narto (39) seorang tukang ojek mengatakan, “Kalau perempuan enggak boleh naik ojek terus naik apa. Buat aturan kok lucu.” kata Narto. Ia berharap saran fatwa seperti itu tidak direalisasikan. Apalagi ia harus menafkahi istri dan anaknya hanya dari hasil ojek. “Kalau naik ojek dilarang apa mau ngasih makan kita.” ucap Narto yang penumpang ojeknya kebanyakan perempuan (Harian Warta Kota, 20 Januari 2010). Hal senada juga disampaikan oleh beberapa tukang ojek di Surabaya, Depok, dan Tangerang yang ditemui oleh penulis di lapangan.

Tulisan ini merupakan sebuah kajian ringkas dari penelitian yang dilakukan penulis di wilayah Jawa Timur (Surabaya dan Blitar) dan Jawa Barat (Depok dan Tangerang), berkaitan dengan fatwa haram atas ojek maupun haramnya berboncengan beda jenis kelamin yang bukan muhrim. Permasalahan yang hendak dikaji adalah bagaimana tanggapan para perempuan di akar rumput terhadap fatwa yang tidak memperhatikan kepentingan kelompok perempuan, dan bahkan cenderung melanggar hak-hak perempuan. Metode penelitian ini menggunakan pendekatan kualitatif dikarenakan isunya yang relatif dianggap sensitif.

Fatwa dan Respons Terhadap Realitas

Dalam teori pemikiran hukum Islam diketahui bahwa produk pemikiran fiqh (hukum Islam) atau yang biasa disebut dengan produk ijtihad (analisis dan pemikiran independen) memiliki status fatwa (opini hukum) yang keberadaannya tidaklah mengikat dan memaksa semua orang, terutama bila diketahui ada ulama yang memiliki pendapat lain (Muhammad, 2001). Fatwa yang dikeluarkan oleh ulama di Indonesia biasanya di lakukan oleh kelompok ulama, baik itu di tingkat daerah maupun di tingkat nasional.

Keberadaan fatwa itu sendiri hadir  sesungguhnya karena kebutuhan masyarakat, ada kepentingan masyarakat yang tidak jelas posisi hukumnya sehingga membutuhkan jawaban, klarifikasi, dan opini hukum sesuai dengan kaidah agama Islam. Hal ini ditegaskan oleh Al Qaradhawi (2009) bahwa opini hukum itu ada karena merespon realita:

“Berbagai pertanyaan dilontarkan kepada ulama atau mufti, baik secara lisan maupun tertulis,  berkenaan dengan berbagai masalah kehidupan. Baik Individu, keluarga dan sosial. Jika ditanya, seorang   mufti (penasehat hukum agama) harus menjawab dan memberikan penjelasan. Jawaban yang diberikan oleh   seorang mufti harus berasal dari penelitian dan ijtihad. Dari sini hukum muncul untuk merespon realitas.Hukum tersebut tidak didasarkan asumsi, namun berdasarkan realita, dan berhubungan dengannya.”

Apa yang dikemukan oleh Qaradhawi di atas sudah jelas-jelas menunjukkan posisi fatwa yang tidak semata-mata hadir begitu saja dari langit, melainkan melihat kenyataan yang ada di lapangan, kondisi riil yang ada di masyarakat. Hal inilah yang menjadi temuan di lapangan pada penelitian ini, bahwa para perempuan yang menjadi pengguna ojek merasa apa yang di fatwakan tersebut mempersulit hidup mereka. Salah seorang dari mereka, Informan 2 menyatakan: kok aneh banget  sih, masa iya sih naik ojek haram, loh kok kaya gitu fatwanya…. saya sangat gak setuju dengan fatwa itu.. lagian kenapa juga haram, emangnya ngapain, orang cuma naik ojek aja kok haram sih.. Sekali lagi saya katakana bahwa saya sangat tidak setuju karena gak masuk akal banget.. Ojek kan mudahin kita untuk mengakses ke tempat tujuan dengan cepat, lagipula tukang ojek itu kan cari nafkah.. Kok jadinya haram. Menurut saya terlalu berlebihan banget sih.. Fatwanya nyusahi orang lain aja

Informan 4 menyatakan: “Sangat berlebihan kalau naik ojek diharapkan, bagaimana juga perempuan mau lebih berkarya, bekerja, kalau soal penggunaan transportasi ojek saja diharamkan. Lalu setelah itu jadi pengojek perempuan juga diharamkan, ini jelas-jelas tidak memberikan solusi bagi kehidupan perempuan sehari-hari”. Sementara hal senada diungkapkan oleh informan 3: “Apakah pembuat fatwa ini kurang pekerjaan ya? Yang begini kok diurusin. Anehnya perempuan naik ojek haram karena asumsinya pengojeknya pria, lalu dilanjutkan bahwa pengojek perempuan juga haram….Ini jelas-jelas makin tidak masuk akal. Terlihat berusaha membatasi gerak dan aktifitas perempuan. Fatwa yang bisa jadi bahan tertawaan”           Informan 1 juga mengungkapkan pemikiran serupa: “Ya menurut saya tidak usah bikin fatwa yang aneh aneh lah.. Masa iya sih tidak boleh naik ojek. Jadi ya menurut saya sangat mengada-ada.. Kemudian si tukang ojek kan kebanyakan penumpangnya kan perempuan, lah kalau perempuan tidak boleh naik ojek trus mata pencarian tukang ojeknya gimana, sementara kan ngojek untuk memenuhi kebutuhan anak istrinya.. Masa iya sih fatwa itu membuat orang jadi tidak bisa mencari rezeki untuk membiayai keluarganya, tidak seharusnya begitu dong. Mata pencarian orang tuh soalnya”.        

Dari ungkapan-ungkapan para perempuan di akar rumput itu jelas menunjukkan bahwa tidak ada penelitian dan ijtihad yang dilakukan oleh para pembuat fatwa haram perempuan naik ojek maupun menjadi pengojek. Selain itu hampir kesemua informan juga mengungkapkan bahwa mereka hampir tidak pernah meminta nasehat dan petunjuk pada para ulama, kyai, maupun uztadz dan uztadzah yang berada di lingkungan kehidupan mereka. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa semakin lebar jurang/gap yang ada antara ulama dan umatnya. Jika hal tersebut sudah terjadi bisa dipastikan apa-apa yang disampaikan oleh para ulama tersebut kemudian tidak banyak yang berhubungan dengan kepentingan umat, melainkan cenderung untuk kepentingan  para ulama itu sendiri.          

Kondisi serupa pernah tercatat di Lebanon, ketika ada seorang ulama yang menerbitkan buku Fatwa untuk Perempuan Muslim (Fatawa min Hayat al-Mar’ah Al-Muslimah)  di tahun 2001. Penulis buku tersebut adalah seorang puritan yang misoginis, Al-Shadiq Abd al-Rahman, al-Ghiryani, yang berisikan berbagai ketetapan yang melanggengkan sikap membenci terhadap perempuan (El Fadl, 2005). Beberapa fatwa tersebut antara lain: 1. Seorang perempuan tidak boleh berbicara dengan teman prianya di telepon karena si perempuan bisa membuatnya tergoda. 2. Seorang pengantin perempuan yang duduk bersama mempelai laki-laki dalam sebuah mobil yang dikemudikan oleh seorang kerabat harus memastikan tidak memakai parfum, karena si pengantin perempuan bisa membuat kerabatnya yang sopir itu tergoda. 3. Sebagai masalah hukum, suara perempuan bukanlah aurat. Meskipun demikian, karena daya godanya, suara perempuan seharusnya tidak diperdengarkan di depan umum, atau di tempat khusus yang mungkin memicu godaan seksual. 4. Perempuan seharusnya tidak bercampur dengan laki-laki di ruang publik atau forum-forum, bahkan jika perempuan mengenakan hijab (penutup rambutnya). 5. Perempuan tidak boleh mengunyah permen karet karena hal itu dapat menggoda, dan yang lain-lainnya.

Relasi Gender dalam Wacana Pluralitas

Pendekatan tulisan ini pada perempuan dan relasi gender dalam wacana pluralitas budaya, beragama dan berkeyakinan. Pluralitas yang bermaknakan kemajemukan ini memang menjadi bagian tidak terpisahkan bagi bangsa Indonesia. Sehingga mau tidak mau semua pihak termasuk pihak pemuka agama dalam hal ini ulama harus ikut mendorong terselenggaranya kondisi yang penuh saling pengertian, kerjasama, dan toleransi di tengah berbagai perbedaan tadi.

Namun tidak bisa dihindari pula bahwa bagi beberapa kelompok Islam radikal, kehidupan Islam yang sesuai dengan konsep negara Syariah adalah negara Islam yang menempatkan warga non muslim dan perempuan dalam kedudukan sebagai warga negara kelas dua. An-Na’im (2001) menjabarkan bahwa dalam konsepsi Syariah,  ada dua kelompok yang terkenda diskriminasi, yakni kelompok non muslim dan kelompok perempuan. Non muslim dapat hidup di dalam negara muslim baik dengan status dzimmah yakni adanya kewajiban membayar pajak tertentu. Selain itu kelompok perempuan juga akan terkena diskriminasi, terutama dengan produk hukum perdata Syariah yang hadir dari penafsiran Al Qur-an dan Hadist yang bias gender.

Kondisi bias gender para ulama dan ustadz sangat dimungkinkan terjadi, karena mereka adalah manusia biasa yang tidak luput dari kesalahan dan informan 1 memberikan komentarnya: “Intinya kan Allah yang tahu salah manusia.. Secara garis besar ya sebagai manusia yang beragama dah pasti lah kita tau norma kesopanan dalam bermasyarakat.. Ya thau batas-batasnya.. Ya tapi kalo fatwanya yang keluar berkaitan dengan perempuan udah mulai tidak jelas dan aneh ya pasti saya tidak setuju. Saya masih sangat heran sampe sekarang kenapa kok naik ojek haram, padahal kalo naik bis berhempitan malah kanan kiri belakang depan, lebih parah, kondisi perempuan pastilah yang susah. Lalu ada solusinya tidak para ulama ini, yang seperti ini yang ingin saya tanyakan pada ulama bila ada kesempatan?”

Informan 3 menyatakan: “Buat saya sering merasakan bahwa ulama kita masih sangat bias kalau soal menyangkut urusan perempuan. Mereka menempatkan perempuan seolah-olah makhluk yang lemah, tidak mampu melakukan apa-apa, lalu harus dilindungan dengan ayat-ayat mereka. Padahal kenyataannya ayat-ayat dan fatwa yang dikeluarkan seringkali justru melemahkan perempuan, menempatkan perempuan menjadi makhluk yang harus dikurung, tidak boleh keluar rumah dan sebagainya. Perempuan dan laki-laki seolah tidak bersifat sejajar”

Informan 4 mengemukanan hal senada yang juga tidak jauh dari pernyataan beberapa informan lainnya: “Kalau ulama atau pemuka agama mengeluarkan pernyataan yang sifatnya membatasi aktifitas perempuan, maka menurut saya yang bersangkutan pastilah tidak adil. Padahal Islam kan mengajarkan keadilan, bahwa perempuan dan laki-laki sama dihadapan Allah SWT. Hanya amal ibadahnya yang akan dihitung kelak.”

Menurut Syihab (1997) bahwa prinsip yang digariskan oleh Al-Qur’an, adalah pengakuan eksistensi orang-orang yang berbuat baik dalam setiap komunitas beragama dan, dengan begitu, layak memperoleh pahala dari Tuhan. Lagi-lagi, prisip ini memperkokoh ide mengenai pluralisme keagamaan dan menolak eksklusivisme. Dalam pengertian lain, eksklusivisme keagamaan tidak sesuai dengan semangat Al-Qur’an. Sebab Al-Qur’an tidak membeda-bedakan antara satu komunitas agama dari lainnya. Termasuk di dalamnya tidak membeda-bedakan kedudukan perempuan dan laki-laki di hadapan Tuhan.

Soal kesetaraan pria dan perempuan dihadapan Tuhan juga disampaikan secara detil oleh Araki (Hakeem, 205) yang mengkaji secara detil tentang status perempuan dalam pemikiran Islam. Araki menyadur Al-Quran: Maka Tuhan mereka memperkenankan permohonannya (dengan berfirman), “Sesungguhnya Aku tidak menyia-nyiakan amal orang-orang yang beramal di antara kamu, baik laki-laki ataupun perempuan (karena) sebagian kamu adalah turunan sebagian yang lain.” (QS. Ali Imran:195).

Sesungguhnya banyak sekali ayat dalam Al-Quran yang lainnya yang juga menekankan tentangnya kesetaraan laki-laki dan perempuan yakni: “Barang siapa yang mengerjakan amal-amal shaleh, baik laki-laki maupun wanita sedang ia orang yang beriman, maka mereka itu masuk ke dalam surga dan mereka tidak dianiaya walau sedikit pun.” (QS. An-Nisaa:124).

Apabila kemudian pendekatan tersebut berkaitan dengan kesejajaran relasi gender, maka sudah seharusnya pula, para pemuka agama yang menjadi salah satu panutan masyarakat Indonesia, terlibat secara aktif melakukan  interpretasi berbagai ayat-ayat Al-Quran dan Hadist yang berperspektif gender equality.

Penafsiran Berperspektif Gender

Dalam kehidupan beragama Islam saat ini lebih mudah ditemui penafsiran kita suci Al-Quran dan Hadist (ajaran/sunah nabi) yang cenderung bersifat patriarkhi. Sehingga gambaran perempuan yang utama adalah yang tinggal di rumah, tidak bekerja, dan pasif, kemudian secara terus menerus didengungkan oleh sebagain kelompok konservatif dalam Islam. Hal ini yang kemudian membuat salah seorang teolog sekaligus feminis muslimah, Riffat Hasan (Mernissi, Hasan 1995) menuliskan betapa seringkali kita dijejali oleh pemikiran-pemikiran yang justru membuat perempuan seolah sangat terbelakang.

Ia kemudian mencontohkan  tulisan-tulisan kaum fundamentalis dan konservatif selalu mengatakan bahwa perempuan tidak pergi berperang, dan hanya memberi pertolongan pertama pada yang terluka, namun sesungguhnya seorang sejarawan muslim Ibn Hisyam justru mengemukakan yang sebaliknya. Sahabat perempuan Nabi, yakni Nussaiba binti Ka’ab, selalu muncul dalam semua buku sejarah agama dimana keterlibatan dan peranannya dituangkan, termasuk ketika dalam perang Uhud (625 M) ia mengambil posisi di dekat Nabi dan mulai bertempur dengan memakai pedang dalam posisi bertahan di sekitar Nabi, dan dia berjuang hingga terluka.

Penafsiran atas Al-Quran dan juga Hadist yang bias gender dan sangat memojokan perempuan biasanya dilakukan oleh sekolompok orang yang seolah takut kehilangan kekuasaan atas nama agama Islam. Hal tersebut diungkapkan oleh El Fadl  (2005) yang mengatakan bahwa hasrat untuk mendominasi orang lainlah yang menyebabkan orang puritan begitu mendalam menelikung dan memangkas kebenaran tentang peran perempuan di dalam keyakinan Islam. Lebih lanjut El Fadl menjabarkan bahwa kalangan puritan tiada henti-hentinya menyebarluaskan hadist-hadist yang merendahkan kaum perempuan, hadist-hadist yang belum tentu benar-benar terjadi ataupun dicontohkan Nabi.

Padahal seperti yang sudah disampaikan sebelumnya, dalam Al-Quran banyak sekali justru ayat-ayat yang menyampaikan kesetaraan laki-laki dan perempuan, bahwa Allah tidak bersikap deskriminatif terhadap kedua jenis kelamin ciptaan-Nya tersebut. Seperti yang terbaca pada salah satu ayatnya: “Sesungguhnya laki-laki dan perempuan yang muslim, laki-laki dan perempuan yang mukmin, laki-laki dan perempuan yang tetap dalam ketaatannya, laki-laki dan perempuan yang benar, laki-laki dan perempuan yang sabar, laki-laki dan perempuan yang khusyuk, laki-laki dan perempuan yang bersedekah, laki-laki dan perempuan yang berpuasa, laki-laki dan perempuan yang memelihara kehormatannya, laki-laki dan perempuan yang banyak menyebut (nama) Allah, Allah telah menyediakan untuk mereka ampunan dan pahala yang besar.” (QS.Al-Azhab:35)

Menafsirkan segala hukum dan doktrin agama sesuai dengan kondisi riil manusia sesungguhnya justru jadi tugas muslim dengan cara ijtihad (mengambil keputusan independen sesuai kondisi). Koesnoe (Denny, 1987) melihat esensi kehidupan kaum muslim adalah secara berkelanjutan melakukan evaluasi, pembelajaran, ujian dan peningkatan kehidupan manusia yang bersumber dari doktrin dan hukum agama yang disesuaikan dengan situasi aktual dalam kehidupan sejarah dunia yang berlangsung dinamis.

Namun hal ini berangkali akan menjadi sulit kalau para pentafsir Al-Quran dan hadist, yang kebetulan banyak dari kelompok laki-laki, terjebak pada bias gender dan sama sekali tidak peduli pada kebutuhan dan kepentingan kaum perempuan. Tentang biasnya seorang ulama laki-laki yang kemudian mendapat koreksi dari istrinya yang kebetulan juga memiliki ilmu tafsir  sekaligus seorang mufti perempuan pernah terjadi di Syiria pada abad 6 Hijriah (Hasyim, 2006). Sang mufti perempuan yang bernama Fatima yang pernah mengeluarkan fatwa dengan ayahnya yang juga mufti, dan ketika Fatima menikah dengan murid ayahnya, Fatima kemudian mengeluarkan sebuah fatwa yang sifatnya mengkoreksi fatwa lainnya yang dikeluarkan oleh suaminya.



Fatwa sebagai salah satu produk hukum dalam kehidupan masyarakat Islam maka sudah seharusnya bersifat memberikan perlindungan terhadap pemeluknya.  Namun ketika keberadaan fatwa tersebut justru tidak realistis dan tidak solutif terhadap masalah  yang ada, maka yang terjadi adalah fatwa sebagai produk hukum tersebut justru menjadi alat penghukuman bagi kelompok yang menjadi obyek fatwa itu. Yang lebih penting juga adalah pihak pemuka agama Islam, para ulama harus kembali menjalankan fungsinya dalam mengeluarkan fatwa, yakni menyampaikan fatwa apabila ada permintaan langsung dari masyarakat dan harus dilakukan melalui penlitian serta ijtihad sebelum mengeluarkan fatwa yang ada. Kesenjangan hubungan antara masyarakat dan para ulamanya menjadi indikator bahwa proses penerbitkan fatwa-fatwa tersebut sangatlah tidak sesuai dengan kaidah bagaimana fatwa tersebut harus dihadirkan

Penelitian ini secara jelas menunjukkan bahwa para perempuan akar rumput merasakan upaya penerapan fatwa haram naik ojek bagi perempuan dan larangan  perempuan menjadi tukang ojek, dipandang sebagai tindakan yang tidak melindungi perempuan melainkan menjadi alat untuk menjatuhkan hukuman. Bahwa para pemuka agama Islam dan ulama di Indonesia masih sangat bias gender dalam menghadirkan fatwa-fatwanya.



Al-Hakeem, Ali Hoesain. 2005. Membela Perempuan, Menakar Feminisme dengan Nalar Agama. Jakarta: Al-Huda.

Al-Qaradhawi, Yusuf. 2009. Faktor-Faktor Pengubah Fatwa. Jakarta: Pustaka Al-Kautsar

An-Na’im, Abdullahi Ahmed. 2001. Dekonstruksi Syariah; Wacana Kebebasan Sipil,  Hak  Asasi Manusia, dan Hubungan Internasional dalam Islam. Yogyakarta: Penerbit LKiS.

Denny, Frederick M. 1987. Islam. New York: HarperCollins Publisher.

El Fadl, Khaled Abou. 2005. Selamatkan Islam dari Muslim Puritan. Jakarta: PT. Serambi Ilmu Semesta

Hasyim, Syafiq. 2006. Understanding Women in Islam; An Indonesian Perspective. Jakarta: Solstice Publishing.

Mernissi, Fatima, Hassan, Rifat. 1995. Setara Di Hadapan Allah. Yogyakarta: LSPPA

Muhammad, Husein. 2001. Fiqh Perempuan: Refleksi Kiai Atas Wacana Agama dan Gender.Yogyakarta: LKiS

Syihab, Alwi. 1997. Islam Inklusif : Menuju Sikap Terbuka dalam Beragama. Badung: Mizan


Rapid advances in media technologies  and the freedom of the press (by Press Law number 40/1999) have produced dramatic change in the structure of the Indonesia media industry. Market proponents believe in the efficiency of market forces to create the media convergence. In the other hand, communication and social scientist believe regulation is needed for media convergence and other social needs to be met. Democratic and pro-social news will not be created without regulation and that media convergence will be threatened by the pursuit of profit over public interest.

The regulation of media convergence itself have two different aspects, first is ownership regulation and second issue is content regulation aspect. One of the important area in content regulation will be concerned with access as such as there may be rules which ensure that every stake holder in society are able to covered with fair propositions and balance. Conflict interest of the ownership aspect could be ignored.

Tempo Newsroom is one of interest object study on media convergence process in Indonesia. They create convergence media from news magazine, newspaper, and new media by website news. The main process of Tempo Newsroom convergence could be design by market need, but in other hand self regulation  on that media also shown which is they try full filled of emptiness the media regulation by Indonesia’s government.

Keywords: Open Market, Regulation, Media Convergence


In the period of Indonesian reformation in 1999, the Law of Press (no 40, year 1999) had given freedom for Indonesian media. Freedom of press, press business, press boards, and press function are regulated in this constitution.

This condition created an euphoria within Indonesian press body. New media were immediately born in this period. In the past 32 years of new order era, there were 289 print media, 6 television broadcasters, and 740 radio broadcasters. A year following the reformation period, in 2000, the number of print media had rapidly increased into 1, 687 or six times greater than previous number. It means, within a year, about 1,389 new print media had been published, or equal to about 140 print media per month or 5 print media per day. In 2008, the number of print media had shrunk into 830 publications. The number of television broadcasters was 60, and the number of registered radio broadcasters was 2000, and unregistered radio broadcasters was 10,000. At the moment, the number of journalist was not less than 40,000 people (http://korandigital.com/?pg=articles&article=10722).

Freedom of press and technology innovation, later, becomes one of the explanation of convergence media. Not only the number and type of the media that have been grown and varied, but the content itself has been varied. Media convergence can also be defined as a process of culture alteration. In this process, consumers have been endorsed to find new information, which caused the relation of media content gradually vanished (Jenkins, 2006).

Media convergence can not be seen as a process that stops in the type and content of the media. It has tight relation with the media business itself. In Indonesia, media trend clearly shows that owners of the media can use their media to facilitate their political and economic view as well as their personal interests.

For example, a research that was conducted in 2006 by Fasta, had explored the contestation between medias that were owned by Hary Tanoesoedibjo, namely RCTI, TRIJAYA FM and TRUST. It was showed that contents of those media were full of messages of the owner’s interests.

In Indonesia’s media today, we can observe the real condition of it. It is clear that media owners can decide whether to involve or not, to sort out the content of their medias. The following comparison shows clearly how the media owners treat their own medias. Here are some examples of the media owners that were put into comparison below: Ciputra as one of the owner of PT Tempo Inti Media group (Tempo Interaktif.com, Tempo Magazine Indonesian and English edition, Tempo Newspaper, U Magazine, Travelounge Magazine and Tempo TV), Surya Paloh as the owner of Media Group (Media Indonesia Newspaper, MediaIndonesia.com, Metro TV and MetroTVNews.com), and Aburizal Bakrie as the owner of Viva Media Group (Anteve, TV One and VivaNews.com).

Media reported the issue that was related with the owner Other medias reports, used as comparison
Tempo Interaktif (17 March 2003),                                                                                   Title: Violence against usContent: Ciputra as one of the owner of Tempo, came to Tommy Winata to find the solution of the problems between them. But it did not give any result or agreement, because Ciputra could not affect Tempo Editorial Management Gatra.com (11 March 2003),                                                 Title: Ciputra is willing to act as a mediator for Tempo and Tommy Winata

Content: Ciputra, as part of Tempo owner realized that he could not involve in Tempo editorial affair. However, he was willing to act as a mediator, as an effort to find the solution for Tempo and Tommy Winata’s conflict.

MediaIndonesia.com (24 December 2010),                                                                            Title: Jusuf Kalla: Surya Paloh did not violate Golkar’s statues and articles of association.

Content: The former Golkar Leader, Jusuf Kalla denied that Golkar would fire Surya Paloh. According to him, Surya Paloh position in National Demokrat did not violate Golkar’s articles of association.

Primaonline.com (24 June 2010),                                                                   Title: Golkar’s Secretary General: National Demokrat was established because Surya Paloh was upset.

Content: Golkar’s Secretary General, Idrus Marham, said that National Demokrat was established because Surya Paloh was upset, when he was defeated in the Golkar’s general election during Golkar 8th National Conference in Pekanbaru.

VivaNews.com (9 Februari 2009),                                     Title: Open about Lapindo’s problem

Aburizal Bakrie: I thought I would be criticized. It was beyond my thought that surprisingly, Sidoarjo people welcomed him.

Content: “I came to Sidoarjo, thinking that people there will criticize me. Surprisingly, they kissed my hands. I was hugged. I feel gratitude”, said Aburizal Bakrie.

TempoInteraktif (15 March 2009),                                         Title: Lapindo’s victims will come to Aburizal Bakrie’s house

Content: About 15 people, Lapindo’s victim representatives, will come to Aburizal Bakrie’s mother, “We will visit her and tell her that we want 80% compensation as it was promised previously. And not paying 15 million in installment”, said Paring Waluyo Utomo, community representative.

Table 1: Correlation between Ownership Media and Content Media

Many people did not consider media’s owner authority, including in Indonesia. Because they think that media owner should not involve or has influence in the content of the media. In the press regulation, chapter VI which is contained of regulation of press company/business (chapter VI, article 9 – 14), there is not a single article  that says about the restriction of media owners to control the content of their medias.

In the Broadcasting Law (no 32 year 2002), there is one article that says about the restriction of monopoly in media ownership (article no 18), and the regulation about the restriction of media content monopoly is regulated in chapter 36, article no 4 (a single article): The content of broadcasted materials should be neutral and do not give priority to a certain group. There is not a single article that explicitly says about the restriction of media owners to the content of their medias.

The regulation about press and broadcasting are considered adequate to control press in Indonesia,  with the assumption that each media has its regulation to control content of the media, without the involvement of media owner. However, in reality, it becomes a different story.

It is possibly said that the ideal condition of convergence media can be seen in PT Tempo Inti Media, which separates the owner interests and involvement in their media content.

The background above raises the following questions: how the condition of convergence media ideally work,  for Tempo News Room in particular? Would it work as in open market or does it need another regulation that control or restrict the involvement of media owner and its media content? And how self regulation is applied in Tempo News Room?

This research uses qualitative approach with constructive paradigm. Even though it is a descriptive research, by using the constructive approach, this research will understand the phenomena that is experienced by research subject, in this point of view, mainly when it is related with media development process that is managed by the informant.

New Technology and Gutenberg Myths

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg from Mainz, Germany created a method of type of letters that was made by pouring molten metal into a mould. These types then could be removed from the mould, then it would be inked and pressed into pages. The invention of printing machine by Gutenberg, later become the basic revolution for printing industry, including mass media. This point of return later raised Gutenberg Myths.


The Gutenberg Myth has become the most commonly used model for making predictions about the directions new technologies will take and for identifying what we need to do to avoid being left behind. The great era of Gutenberg printing machine was boasted to have a similar pattern with the new technology, internet technology and media online in particular.

Cook (Hassan & Thomas, 2006) describe that the new technologies of our time are indeed exciting and powerful. Much good (or much evil) could be done with them. But the claim that we are seeing a new Gutenberg revolution is a dangerous one. It is dangerous because the picture of the Gutenberg revolution found in histories, encyclopedias, and the popular media is historically inaccurate and conceptually misleading. It would have us believe that rapid and far-reaching changes in literacy, learning and social institutions were caused by a single new technology.

In reality, new technology that creates various new kinds of media, for example internet, has not been able to replace printing media like newspaper or magazine. The presence of internet in 1990s was sensational, many people thought that this new kind of technology would change everything. In reality, it is not. Smith and Hendrick have explained  that the concept of new media suggests that it replaces an old medium; however, it does not work that way. When television came into existence, it did not replace the medium of radio. When video began being used on the Internet, it did not replace the medium of television (Hendricks,2010).

When old media and new media work together, complete each other, then convergence media pattern is adjusted. Industry should compromise the presence of new media and manage the old media with new interesting method/approach. This condition is related to the system of editorial management of various media that are organized under one roof management. Therefore, convergence media can not be separated from the center of news production within a media company, that is known as News Room.

The Owner’s control to the media content

Many people see that media ownership is only a background of convergence media, however, the position of media owner tend to be used as media content controller.

As it was studied by Shoemaker in 1996, who plotted the influence of media owner policy to the content of media. The relation between media contents highly related to the following elements: media staffs, like reporters, editor and editor in chief, the pressure from outside of the media and the ideology of that media itself.

Figure 1: Hierarchy of Media Relation in Media Content (Shoemaker, 1996).

The issue of media ownership and control also happen in UK, USA and Australia. Government in these countries has issued a regulation that  relates to media ownership and the content of media. Creating variant media content and pluralism of news sources are the main objective of this regulation. For example, one of the basic policy that was issued by UK government was The White Paper, which led to the Communications Act 2003 (Comms Act (UK)). The White Paper set out the government’s policy attitude towards media ownership, which predictably made reference to the democratic importance of the media and the need for a diversity of opinion and expression to be available (Hitchens, 2006).

UK has already applied this kind of regulation since 2003, but Australia, up to now, has not been able to apply this regulation. Although, Australian government has announced its intention to introduce legislation to reform ownership and control into Parliament in 2006.

In other hand, in the United Stated, new media ownership and control rules, effecting substantial change to the existing regime, were introduced in June 2003 by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the regulatory body responsible for communications in the US. However, the FCC’s new rules were challenged by public interest groups; the challenge was upheld and the rules were stayed. In July 2006, the FCC announced a new rule making process. Although the new process will review again all the rules which were part of the 2003 process, there are no clear proposals at this stage.

The effort to make such regulation in many countries has proven that many have been concerned about the involvement of media owner to the media content which might be biased the media content.


Tempo News Room and Convergence

Tempo Newsroom is a center of news production that was established by Tempo in 2001, in the same time with the issue of Koran Tempo. This institution becomes the backbone of news production for all Tempo news outlets, from tempo interactive website, tempo newspaper, weekly tempo magazine, and other new magazines like U and Travelounge magazine. Tempo News Room is a sign of convergence media era which is carried out by PT Tempo Inti Media. It includes the establishment of Tempo TV in 2007, that still operates as production house.

Tempo was initiated by the issue of Tempo magazine that was published in 1971 and was shut down by the government in 1994. In 1996, Tempo Interactive officially published. It  was initiated by the mailing list activity that was organized by former Tempo staffs and its readers. Later in 1998, in the post period of Suharto New Order fell, Tempo Magazine was reissued. In the same time, Tempo continued to manage its online news, that led to the development of Tempo media industry. In the side of media technology development, media culture or other media types development, what was done by Tempo, with Tempo News Room in particular, was a form of convergence media.

Tempo News Room which is supported by 80 editorial staffs, from the reporters to editor in chief, and 80 internal and foreign correspondents, is a motor of all news movement, both recent or investigation journalism that was developed by editorial staffs. In 2009, Tempo News Room had fulfilled its organization, which related to coordination reorganization, sharpening the prime news, and improving both quantity and quality of news production. As a result, the number of news production has increased. In 2008, the production number reached 180 – 230 news per day. In 2009, it increased into 250 to 400 news per day. This production improvement was also affected by the additional number of hired reporters.



Self Regulation

In maintaining the objectivity of media content, without involvement of media owner, Tempo News Room makes a self regulation. By tradition, Tempo owners have never been controlling the creative process and media content, however, they need to make a platform or regulation about it. Therefore, Toriq Hadad, as one of the Tempo Interactive founder (1994), who also lead Tempo News Room in the past, and now he is one of PT Tempo Inti Media director, make a measurable platform for Tempo media which is pointed on: Freedom Press which is transparent, anti corruption, and respect to the pluralism value.

Toriq believes that Tempo will be able to be convergence:


“Tempo will make a convergence media. Printing, on line and TV will become one. All of them are carried out for the interest of  efficiency and coordination. It will also important to reorganize the news structure, so it will be more efficient and centered.”


When new platform is applied as working guidelines for Tempo News Room, the new working system is following it. Included in it, the recruitment and sustainable training for journalists. Tempo News Room and other Tempo editorial, use the term of M1, M2 and M3. M1 is for Intern 1, it is intended for reporters who will enter the editorial staffs. M2 is for Intern 2, it is intended for editorial staffs who will enter desk editorial, and M3 is for Intern 3, it is intended for desk  editor to enter editor in chief position.

Internship process is measured in the reports that are made in a certain number and will be scored A, B, C and so on. The appraisal is carried out regularly, for example, one reporter will be evaluated weekly. However, each person will achieve different internship process. Burhan Solihin, Tempo News Room Editor in – Chief  explained:

“Each person has different achievement process. Their timeline are different, it could be faster or not. But, internship indicator can be measured in quantitative, it is like Semester Credit Point system which has score. For example, a report who will achieve editorial position needs 40 writings with average score is A”.


Tight and gradual procedure in training process that is applied by Tempo News Room is very useful for Tempo News Room staffs. Endri Kurniawati, one of Tempo News Room editor who has spent 14 years in Tempo News Room says:

Gradual promotion process is running fairly. Each person can measure his/her own skill. Moreover, journalist recruitment process is very transparent and any ethic code violation in the fields  can be anticipated because we have weekly evaluation”.

Moreover, in order to prevent ethic code violation in the field, it is possible for editor to re-check to the source that had been interviewed by reporters previously. Therefore, it is impossible to write a report before a reporter carry out a prior interview. It is intended to prevent copying  a report from other report.

Other than a clear platform that has always been emphasized during editorial meeting, Tempo self regulation has also form Internal Supervisor which contained of editorial consultant board and lawyers who have the same value with Tempo. Moreover, for every journalistic ethic code violation, Tempo platform violation and other regulation violation, they apply sanction for every of it. The sanction given in stages, depends on the level of mistakes that are made by journalists:

  1. Verbal Notification
  2. Written Notification
  3. Suspended and salary cut
  4. Termination

The interesting part of this suspension sanction is journalist who is suspended, still has to work and making reports, but his/her salary will be cut as his/her violation/mistake. So, during the suspension process, journalist can learn from his/her mistake and will be able to fix it. This sanction concept is indeed different from other sanction that is applied in other media company. However, it can be applied if the violation is not severe and does not cause a termination for journalist.

Other than sanction, Tempo has also given reward for their staffs. Tempo News Room applies open career step system  that can be followed by all Tempo journalists. For example, in order to sit in middle level position, from editorial staff to desk editor, needs approximately 4 years (it could be faster or longer, depends on the scores they have). In order to step up to higher level, the same application is operated and possible for all Tempo News Room editors. It is emphasized by Solihin in the interview with researcher:

“Here, the opportunity to make a career is open. Everybody can fill the expected position in open and fair way. As we can see in Tempo there is no editor in chief who sit in life in his/her position Tempo. After 4 – 5 years, editor in chief will sit in other position like director in other media or within Tempo Inti Media company. So far, regeneration in editorial board which manages media content has worked appropriately as it should be”.

Tempo News Room is possible to hire middle and higher level editor from other media, however it will be carried out openly with fair appraisal. If open gradual career system is continued to be applied by Tempo News Room, there will be no feeling of frustration because every staff is free to develop his/her career as his/her capability.

Open Market or Regulation?

Tempo and its media had proven that they exist because of open market. Market needs, in this case readers/community who needs media as they want, make Tempo grows fast. All the informants who have been interviewed by researcher admitted that the existence of Tempo Inti Media, it included Tempo News Room, is because it meets readers needs. As was said by Kurniawati:

“Tempo grows and becomes big because of market needs. The readers want us to grow. The condition of open market like this should be heard. So, if it is asked whether we need regulation, what more regulation we need? Indonesia already has Press Law and Journalism Ethic Code for content media regulation. Media company as a business has also its regulation, which it has clear regulation stated in the constitution. It regulates public company”.

Open Market is unavoidable exist within Indonesian media, at this moment. Therefore, the competition becomes inseparable from this open market. Competition that is based on the readers/public needs should be offered by media business, particularly, media should be able to offer variant media contents. Readers are expected to read different point of view of one report that is reported by two different media (Shoemaker, 1996). It has been applied in Tempo, when they have to write different reports in tempo on line and Tempo magazine. As it is said by Solihin:

“Since the beginning, as on line report is issued in faster process, Tempo Interactive will issue short report, short factual and accurate report. Then, in the Tempo Newspaper, we will report it more in detail. When it is reported in the Tempo Magazine, it will use in-depth interview which give more depth in the report”.

The discussion about variant media content which is connected with open market and regulation will always be exist. Because the two components are believed as the method to develop media content. Market proponents believe in the efficiency of market forces to create the breadth of diverse voices in society. Ac cording to this school of thought, let communications companies freely compete, and they will create as much programming as the market will bear (Mara, 2004). In this condition, people who believe in this method are confident that media owner will act upon the market needs, so they will not control the creative process in creating media content.

On the other hand, social scientists and media critics believe this pro-social programming will not be created without regulation and that diversity will be threatened by the pursuit of profit over public interest. In the context of media in Indonesia, regulation about media content and media ownership have been regulated clearly in a constitution or other regulation.

However, it can not be denied that in general, the practice of media regulation and law that relate to media content and ownership, have not been applied in maximum in Indonesia. It is indicated by a number of violations which relates to media content and ownership.

Even though Tempo News Room does not have any problem with owner control, they know that such problem might happen in other media in Indonesia. When researcher asked about what was the ideal method to manage convergence media in Indonesia and did we need more regulation that related to media content and ownership, Solihin answered it in the following statement:

“The most ideal condition for convergence media development should come from the market needs, then the management of it has to be free from owner control. However, it is not easy, because frequently, the owner wants to involve in media content. And if we talk about regulation, we already have regulation, however, it is important to maximize the supervision of this regulation. For example, Press Board , Indonesian Broadcasting Commission, and other watch groups from community who is aware about the media, should be active in supervising and preventing the violation of this regulation”.

The enforcement of media regulation in Indonesia is so convincing, however we have to admit that this regulation has not been classified into detail regulation that contained of relation between media owner and content. There is no regulation which restricts media owner involvement in the process of media content making and media content publishing.


As an early research, generally, it has a description about pull and draw between open market and regulation. The expectation of media to free itself and adjust to open market, to what readers want, has to oppose the media owner behavior who want to control media content.

The process of pull and draw between open market and regulation can be approached if this media has strong self regulation. This self regulation should be independent and meet the existing ethic code, so media can control itself. If self regulation can not be applied or fail to be applied, Press Board, Indonesian Broadcasting Commission and other media watch groups should be firmed about it. Moreover, we still need more other media watch groups that emerge from Indonesian community who are aware of the importance of maintaining variant media contents. If these proponents are well functioned, we do not need any additional regulation.


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Extraordinary developments in the use of Facebook as one of social media is unquestionable. But the more interesting to observe is the use of Facebook as a means to convey the issues of religion, preaching, discussions, and as a means to pray. This is especially true in Indonesia who listed themselves as the second biggest Facebook users in the world with 33 million users, while the U.S. is the largest user of 146 million users.
Facebook is the development of media creation and consumption. The content of media is no longer determined by the corporate media and the news made headlines, but depends on the users of the site itself. The user exchange information by sending a message, chat, uploads videos, photos and written commentary. So then the issue of religion when growing through Facebook then there is an interesting condition to be observed. Everyone has equal opportunity to discuss the issue of religion in public spaces, and not just limited to the status of religious leaders are allowed to discussed.
This study as a preliminary study using qualitative methods, with constructivism approach, in which reality can only be understood in relative terms, and a specific local construction, particularly of the informants who became the subject of this study. In general, the results of this study show that the function of  Facebook as a social media  with content religious issues and symbols, in fact inseparable from the culture of Indonesian society itself. Namely Indonesia is relatively open society in discussion of religion compare than the west that  considered highly personal. These situations have opened the possibility of conflict if there are individual differences in views on an issue or a particular religious symbol.


Keywords: social media, facebook, religious symbol



Facebook as a social media in virtual world seems to grow extraordinarily from year to year. Indonesia with population of more than 250 million has registered 33 million Facebook users, second only to the US with 146 million of Facebook users  (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/20/world/asia/20indonet.html).  And it is even more interesting to explore the content of Facebook.

It is easily observed within such situation that Facebook users in Indonesia have increased their active participation in Facebook for both personal and professional uses.  Not only does Facebook, as a social media, provide social network for users, it also functions as media promotion and advertisement for money-oriented businesses.  This gives rise to the terminology of SMO (Social Media Optimisation).  SMO in Facebook is carried out by increasing the number of fans in “fans page” or by increasing “the friendlist”.  In Facebook members of the site could give feedback or send the content, and at the same time developing relationship between members (Lasmadiarta, 2010).

Another interesting study on relationship in Facebook in Indonesia that users discuss religious issues and quote Quranic verses and Traditions (Sunnah), for those who are Muslims, and use Facebook to say their prayers.   This certainly differs from the usage of conventional media (such as TV, radio, newspaper and magazine) during an occasion of religious discussion.  Typically, in conventional media a religious scholar is available to assist the discusson and he/she becomes a central figure.  There is a clear distinction between general public and religious scholars.  Yet within the context of Facebook such distinction disappears altogether.


Facebook Power and Public Sphere          

As a new innovation of social media Facebook has been extensively discussed.  Facebook appears to reflect this recent understanding of ‘participatory culture’; not only creating virtual communities but also allowing audiences to become ‘producers’ as well as ‘receivers’ of the media. Internet allows fans of different cultures to create virtual communities that add to the original understanding and even content of their chosen interests (Creeber, 2009). With numerous advantages of Facebook as a social media, it serves a special power.  For instance, Facebook is seen as the catalyst of many social movements, as shown in Indonesia cases, for example, Prita case and the case of Gecko vs Crocodile.  One should remember that the new role of this social media cannot be separated from the conventional media of newspaper, magazine, television and radio, which take large part in the social movement.

Facebook as the new social media could be studied on the function as an instrument in the process of public sphere.  This is because Facebook serves as a social instrument and further it has taken part in the process of interaction in general public.   Public sphere is defined by Habermas as a condition occur in public in which the people posses three main interests which are activities, interaction (communication) and power (Habermas 1993), and this is evidenced among users of Facebook.  For most people Facebook is often used at individual level to communicate to each other in personal manner.  On the other hand, Facebook is used by the individuals to support its professional interest, such as sharing information on what type of activities as part of the profession.  As far as power visibility Facebook is used by individuals or institutions (such as NGO and companies) to widespread information to obtain power and influence.

Another interesting study, Facebook in Indonesia with open-wide system, give rise to a very large public sphere.  In the study of public sphere government interest is said to have full control upon the people, yet it cannot exercise real control on Facebook activities.  This is despite the effort which will be likely imposed by the government through office beaurocracy to manipulate control on the communication channel within the people (Habermas 1989).


Discussion on Religion in Public Sphere

            Indonesia with largest Muslim population of about 80% from 250 million is even more interesting while exploring the use of Facebook related to religion.  If one associates Facebook with religious life, one could note its pros and cons.  For example, there were700 religious students and scholars in Indonesia in 2009 issue a religious fatwa which forbid Facebook (http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/60185 700_imam_kediri_sepakati_ facebook_haram).  The controversy of Facebook as part of worldly affairs and not necessarily relate to religious life, until today it is not yet settled.  It is evidenced by lingering issue that there is possibility MUI (Majelis Ulama Indonesia- Religious Scholar Body) will revise the study on Facebook for Muslim in Indonesia.   

As time goes it is becoming more evidenced that Facebook is used by the majority of Indonesian users to express their religious freedom.  It is no wonder that many quotes of verses from various religions are increasingly posted on Facebook status.  In similar fashion, religious discussions often occur in this social media.  Indonesia constitution (UUD 45) guarantees freedom of religious expression and freedom of religious conviction.  Needless to say, that the government has duty to protect every citizen who wants to express freedom of religion on Facebook.  This include that the government should protect in neutral position on any development of discussion on religion.  The state cannot be the sole authority on certain religion and discriminate against other religion (Kholiludin, 2009).

The concept of religious discussion in public sphere is very common in Indonesia, which put it in contrast with treatment over religion in many Western countries.  In Indonesia any question on religious belief (what is your religion?)  is acceptable question.  Here religious symbols are exchanged at easy, discussed and established as instrument to exchange ideas and opinion.  On the other hand in western world this may not be accetable and probably not polite.  Several western scholars strongly argue that only secular language may be exchanged in public sphere, all language styles using theological approach should be abandoned in public space (Biggar, 2009).

When further analysed, even more interesting study on Islamic discussion in public context in Indonesia that all discussion on religion should be assisted by religious scholars so general public are not swayed from Islamic perspectives.  Such tradition which put a central point on religious knowledge is called taqlid, generally intrepreted as acceptance bila kaifa (unquestioning acceptance) toward religious doctrines and authorities which are in command such as state and religious authorities (Ham, 2009).  Such traditional traits are seen in conventional media, to the extent that religious discussion always ends at final conclusion from the scholar as the only decision.  However, such condition seems to be totally thwarted in Facebook, where discussion is open to all participants to seek answers from any point of assurance which may solve law and social problems within Islamic approach, which is more dynamic, creative and relevant to social equity (this is called the tradition of ijtihad).

According to Habermas, the ideal condition in society will occur if ethical communicaion is attainable based on the universality of equal merit and shared solidarity among people.  This is also applicable when people discuss religious issues in public sphere.  When observed from Islamic approach this is preferable since Quran and Sunnah guarantee freedom of thought and religion (Naim, 1990).



            This research, as preliminary study, uses qualitative method with constructivism approach, which determines that reality could only be relatively understood and become specific, local construction, in particular on the informants who are the subjects of this study.  On this preliminary study there are three informants subjected to the study, two men and one woman.  All informants are categorised as mature adults (age above 30), and have occupations.  The three informants are Facebook users in Indonesia, Muslims and actively participate and discuss Facebook postings with religious contents.  The informants are characterised from their understanding on the role and function of Facebook, and the ability to explain religious concepts individually or in general.  In addition, the three informants are considered active Facebook users (in average more than one hour) and experts in social issues.

The Awareness over Facebook Usage

            The research study finds that three informants have high awareness in using Facebook.  For them, Facebook is used not only for social networking for personal use, also for professional interest.  For example, they share not only daily activities on personal issues to express specific feeling, but also job-related activities in progress or which will take place.

The importance of two functions of Facebook as personal and professional media set the situation that the informants will unlikely avoid existing friendships.  The three informants categorise the relation in Facebook within close friends (know each other well), regular friends, school mates, and office colleagues.  Two informants have two Facebook accounts for each.  One of double-account owners says: “I have one account on personal name and the other account for the community being established, called “Community for Mosque Campaign”, whose members aware on historical aspects and beauty of mosques as cultural artifacts.  As a journalist in Tourism and Culture, I have conviction to establish this type of community, and personally for my salvation in the later day”.  The other informant explains about the double account; “One is under my original name, and the other one a fake name, because I would like to join a community for sinetron and production house, in which judging from the characteristics it does not make it possible for me to use my real name”.  In general, it could be observed that personal uses still dominate Facebook.

The awareness on possible benefit and negative effect from Facebook is also felt by the informants.  The three admit they are very cautious in displaying in wall, or when commenting to other users. One informant told unpleasant experience after harshly criticising police performance.  The critic is very harsh that one friend (in both virtual and real world) – whose husband is a police – responds to the critic indirectly through her status.  Yet the informant affirms to continue open critics toward government institution which deserve correction or criticism.  Two other informants state clearly that they do not want to be involved in open conflict in Facebook, thus, in avoiding this they continue to express criticism in most polite and cautious manner.

Besides using Facebook the three informants are actively use other social media, each owns a blog to express thoughts and ideas at both personal and professional levels.  One informant uses Twitter actively while the other two have Twitter accounts but never actively use it.


Discussion over Religion in Facebook

            Facebook provides space for users to express religious symbols which often appear on users’ account status. The choice to fill out such profile is optional, although it may contain fields for religion beside name, date, marital status, interest and political view. All three informants fill out Facebook profiles thoroughly, although one informant admits he does not fill out the marital status over the reason it is too personal, and other informant hide her birthdates.  On the field of religion the three informants properly disclose it. One informant admits that he examine other user’s profile including religion to exercise politeness in future communication.  Two informants admit they do not pay attention on religion status.

Related to discussion over religion via Facebook three informants say they do not usually initiate the discussion, yet they often release comments and responses to other users who present such issues.  The willingness to participate in religious discussion is based on the same perception in believing that expressing views on their own religion is something of an obligation especially when the situation require such as there is comment that may be biased against their beliefs.  “At least I want to encounter against misunderstanding of Islam”

On the other hand, when encountering other users’ status with verses from Quran or Hadis, two informants give positive responses as to affirming the status.  “I feel that Quranic quotes presented by my friends as just as positive, after all everyone wants to share the goodness of it.  However, if it exaggerate it will not be appropriate, since overdoing things is not a good thing.  Similar opinion repeated by the second informant:  “I also get lesson-learned, reading certain verses which I may overlook.  It is positive”.  The third informant who observes such practice comment in a light note: “Honestly, when I see some friends quote Quranic verses, I say to myself, she/he becomes more religious”.  Thus, it is observed that although in general they all response in positive way, yet there are various responses when Quranic verses are quoted in Facebook.

The three informants give similar answers on expression of prayers and gratitude presented in their walls or others’.  “As the others say their prayers, I see it as expressing gratitude and sharing happines with others, for example, being thankful to all good things, expressing optimism, and soul-searching.  There are others who become too personal and a bit of show off, while being too personal may not be a good idea in public space”.  Another informant insists that after all saying prayers is always positive. “There may be a few friends exaggerate in their prayers, still it is positive”.


Conflict and Pluralism

On the issue of possible conflicts due to pluralistic nature of Indonesia as mirrored in Facebook, three informants say that it may all happen, albeit, with small chance.  Yet the three informants agree that Facebook is good media to remind each other on religious issues which may create misunderstanding of Islam.  One informant tells a personal experience while participating in one discussion at Ade Armando’s wall, one of lecturers at University of Indonesia.  Ade Armando starts the discussion by expressing sympathetic view to Ahmadiyah which have been abused, and therefore touches over religious view.   The posting is then responded by more than 500 people with long, hard arguments from both supporters and opponents of Ahmadiyah.   The informant explains “What it means to me, the Facebook user has succeeded in delivering his message on the issue of repression as evidenced with many people involved in the discussion”.  However, the informant also add that there is possibility that such open argument and conflict occuring in Facebook related to Ahmadiyah issue might spill over to real world.  As an example, the informant further says, on the case of a tourist visit to Bali and he display in Facebook an inappropriate status related to Hari Raya Nyepi, a religious holiday in Bali.  At an instance, it follows with arguments between different religious followers, and only after the person apologized the potential conflict was quickly subsided.

On the other hand another informant says that when there is high possibility of diverging opinions in religious discussion, he stays open to express criticism.  “We should deliver constructive criticism so Islam is not blamed for approving violence as Islamic way”.  The third informant says that she is minimally involved in open conflict in Facebook, although he/she does not mind at all to discuss at length on religious issue in the mailing list.  “Once I was personally involved in long argument which took days in the mailing list because there are Muslims who quote Quranic verses in a way could be detrimental to Islamic teaching itself.  Yet I’ve never seen this kind of discussion in Facebook”.

On the issue of supremacy of religious knowledge who could only be mastered by certain group and a taboo in discussing this in public sphere, the three informants share the same views.  One informant says “While the issues are debatable, especially one with multi intrepretation, such issues may be freely discussed in public space, and not only by religious scholars”.  It is clearly expressed by the three informants that Islamic values as they believe belong to all people and not only some scholars.

On the issue of pluralistic religion presented to the three informants related to Facebook experience, they are also in similar opinions.  First informant answers “If some Indonesian feel there is only one religion should exist here, while Islam is a majority that means they reject history and reality.  Indonesia is pluralistic country, the melting pot”.  The second informant similarly expresses the same view “Indonesia has been pluralistic since a long time ago as differences in culture, race, ethnic and religion is a blessing.  So do not try to make Indonesia toward one-religion country”.  The third informant expresses similar opinion “If we want to avoid conflict in Indonesia, we all have to realize and accept all differences, including different views of religion.  If not there will be possible conflict for this nation in the future”.



            This preliminary study presents conclude that the context and expression of religion in Indonesia is quite specific which differ from Western countries whose views regard religion as personal and an impolite subject to be discussed in public.  In Indonesia at the opposite side, religious expression is wide open and not seen as only personal need, hence the worshippers express their beliefs freely in public space.  The same conditions occur in Facebook as one media for discussing religion.  The terminology that social media serves as an amplifier of daily life in real world is explained in this study.

In addition Facebook users are aware of  emerging importance of this new social media, serving as the bridge connecting all existing social networks, and fully aware of positive and negative sides when discussing religion in Facebook.  Positive if there is awareness among all Facebook users that religious discussion is one way to reach common understanding despite the fact Indonesia is a country with pluralistic views.  Such views of religion are then challenged by potential conflict in real world.



Biggar, Nigel and Linda Hogan. 2009. Religious Voices in Public Places. New York: Oxford

University Press.


Creeber, Glen and Royston Martin. 2009. Digital Cultures. New York: McGraw Hill.

Habermas, Jurgen. 1993. The Structural Transformation of The Public Sphere. Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

__________  .1989. The Theory of Communicative Action, Volume Two. Massachusetts: Beacon   Pres.

HAM, Musahadi. 2009. Continuity and Change Reformasi Hukum Islam. Semarang: Walisongo       Press.

Kholiludin, Tedi. 2009. Kuasa Negara Atas Agama; Politik Pengakuan, Diskursus “Agama Resmi”             dan Diskriminasi Hak Sipil. Semarang: RaSAIL Media Grup.

Lasmadiarta, Made. 2010. Facebook Marketing Revolution. Jakarta : Gramedia.

Naim, Abdullah Ahmed. 1990. Dekonstruksi Syari’ah. Yogyakarta: Penerbit LkiS.




http://nasional.vivanews.com/news/read/60185-700_imam_kediri_ sepakati_facebook_haram



Monas Incident is what media has named the attacking done by Islamic Defenders Front (Front Pembela Islam – FPI) towards National Alliance for Freedom of Faith and Religion (Kebebasan Beragama dan Berkeyakinan – AKBB) at Monas square on June 1st, 2008. On the incident, several members of AKBB were injured from brutal attack of FPI. This incident was triggered from different opinions on pluralism, especially regarding Ahmadiyah’s existence in Indonesia. Since 1998, FPI has become very famous for its controversial acts, especially the ones done by its paramilitary wing, Islam Defenders Troop (Laskar Pembela Islam – LPI). Series of shutting down night clubs, brothels and other areas which are considered immoral, threats towards specific foreign citizens, raid and sweeping of specific foreign citizens, conflicts with other religious organizations, were FPI’s image commonly portrait in mass media.  Other issues that will be discussed are how violent culture in FPI movements influences the image identity of Indonesian Muslim groups? How FPI consider violence as a part of culture need to be maintained by the group? It eventually cause a problem needed to be further examined: how do media present FPI that is strong with violent culture, whose public acceptance towards its identity is as an Indonesian Muslim group?  Media in general tries to present objectively any activities of FPI, especially which involves violence. As an organization, FPI itself has its media, a website (www.fpi.or.id) which shows various activities include its vision and mission as an organization. On FPI’s website it is clearly shown that there’s a ‘justification’ of several activities by FPI with violence approach, like attacks and damaging entertainment venues, cafe, discoteque and other night entertainments.  In political communication context, violent culture exercised by FPI is a contraproductive act when related not only to Muslim’s identity in Indonesia, but around the world. Majority of Indonesian Muslims rejects violent culture employed by FPI, but if it is continually employed then one day it is possible that international community and foreign media will pas judgement that violence is inseperable from Islamic societies’ identity. Qualitative approach with discourse analysis methodology is used to know how media portrays this violence, related to Islam’s identity attached to FPI group. Violent culture as a part of FPI’s communication and political attitude is in fact inseperable from communication’s general interests, which could result to existing political communication to be contraproductive. FPI as an agressive and violent communicator to other groups that are considered different or violating religious law, is a portrayl of a communicator who pays little attention towards public interests as its audience. Therefore, FPI’s political communication objective, acting on behalf of Muslims, can be considered failed.


            Each individual or community group always have identity attached to them directly and indirectly. This identity is what usually used as the first identification of each individual or community group when engaging a relation with others. Therefore, this identity becomes something that can not be seperated easily from each individual or society group. This identity can be obtained by positioning or attaching it counciously or it relates with image projection and judgment from others. According to Castells (2004), identity attachment is a process of social construction.

            The construction process of identity is also inseperable from media’s role as a part of communication activities. What is presented in media will become an introductionary image of individual or society group for the public. The same goes with the study of how Muslim’s image identity is attached to FPI whose violent attitude an culture is already infused to FPI’s activities.

            Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) is a hard-line Islamic mass organization based in Jakarta. It was founded on August17, 1998 at the courtyard of Pondok Pesantren Al Um, Kampung Utan, Ciputat, South Jakarta by several Habaib, Ulama, Mubalig and Muslim activists, and witnessed by hundreds of santri coming from Jakarta and beyond. It was established just four months after President Soeharto resigned from his presidency. The presence of this group was considered a form of disappointment towards the fall of Soeharto’s administration, the holder of status quo of more than 20 years. The closeness between FPI with Soeharto’s family and the military force has become one of the indicators of FPI attached with New Order. In times when Indonesian National Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia – TNI) Lieutenant General (retired) Prabowo Subianto was still active in TNI, FPI was one of many organizations nurtured by Prabowo, who was Soeharto’s son in law. After his submission, FPI tried to get close with General Wiranto’s group, which at that time was in rivalry with Prabowo’s group. This is the unique thing of the front. From the two cases above, we could conclude that in the struggle of political influence, FPI obviously choose to be close with powerful military group to cooperate with.

            Some of FPI actions supporting the army are: opposing act towards university students who was against draft law of State Emergency proposed by TNI Headquarter on October 24, 1999. Hundreds of FPI militants armed with sword and machete was about to attack students in hold out around Jembatan Semanggi, Central Jakarta. Yet, police was able to prevent it. The second act was when hundreds of FPI militants who always dressed in whites came to Human Rights National Commission of Indonesia (Komisi Nasional Hak Asasi Manusia – Komnas HAM)’s office, protesting the ongoing investigation of General Wiranto and friends by the office. FPI militants who came armed with sword and machete even demanded the commission to be dismissed because they considered it impudence to investigate the generals.

            FPI claims that its purpose is to be a place for cooperation between ulama (Muslim’s religious scholars) and its people in upholding Amar Ma’ruf and Nahi Munkar in every aspects of life. Therefore, FPI established with its purpose of upholding Islamic law in a secular country. Some of the background of its establishment as claimed by the organizations are:

  1. There’s a long suffering of Muslims in Indonesia. It happens because too many human rights violations done by bad rulers has given out a weak social control whether it’s by civilian ruler of military.
  2. There are ignorance and immorality that spreads out arbitrarily in all areas of life.
  3. There is an obligation to preserve and defend Islamic dignity and values as well as the Muslims.

            With all these goals, FPI easily practices various violent acts on behalf of the ‘true’ Islamic teachings. Therefore, every thing that is considered wrong in the eyes of FPI’s members and leaders has to be exterminated and destroyed.

 Violent Act as FPI’s Political Communication

            Graber (McNair, 2003) define politic communication as a part of political language which is not only relates to rhetoric but also other paralinguistic symbols which are body language, and other political acts like boycott and protests. From the definition, FPI political activities which are acts of violence are a part of political communication exercised by FPI.

            Acts done by FPI is usually based on its vision and mission. Thereby in general, FPI members that tend to be brutal and violent in its actions can not be detached easily from the organization’s and leaders’ policy. Nevertheless, in some violent cases with FPI members under the spotlight of law enforcement, especially police department, FPI leader, Habib Rizieq always assumed that indiscipline and members who took matters into their own hands (without coordination) are one of the sources of problems. If then brutal actions wasn’t drawing law enforcement’s attention (no arrest made upon FPI members as the doer), then the FPI leaders will not clarify anything. They will even keep it silent and not apologize of the violent acts.

            This is a part of FPI leaders’ political maneuver which legitimate violence as part of its political communication, which is obvious in various statements published on their website. Some of its review excessively detailed the justification of its violent acts (for example, force sealed churches, destroying cafes or entertainment venues, etc). According to Nimmo (1989),  in the end, general politic maneuvers of several political elites and actors can cause the shaping of individual and group’s political attitude which are involved in the process. Their messages will become an important reference in taking formal and informal actions in relation to political activities. This is clearly read in what FPI leaders do and implicate directly and indirectly to its members. Until early this year, the number of FPI members claimed by FPI General, Sobri Lubis (2009) is three million people all over Indonesia.

            In other hand, according to Muhtadi (2008), political communication is basically a part of, and influenced by a society or group’s political culture. At the same time, political communication can also birth, maintain and inherit political culture. Political communication is also considered as the dynamic element of a political system; socialization process, participation and political recruitment. These elements can simply described as follow:

From the simple diagram offered by Muhtadi, it is clear that FPI’s political actions of violence is a political culture which mutually influence and influenced by existing political communication and political system.

FPI’s Violent Culture and Identity of Islam

            The word Islam in FPI’s name shows an identity that has to be protected and defended. FPI believes that if Islamic values (syariah) can be upheld, then all problems in society will be solved. One of their ways of upholding it is by upholding amar makruf  (the good thing) and nahi munkar (the bad thing). According to FPI, makruf has to be upheld and munkar has to be prohibited. Often times, clash with society on its act against this ignorance ends with violence. In a certain level, it permits FPI the use violence as long as ignorance can be destroyed.

            In the beginning, violent culture presented by FPI was considered a form of psy war activity to attract the attention of several people who is considered neglecting ignorance and immorality issues rant by FPI. Media, whether it’s television, radio, newspaper, magazine and internet media always blows up the issue. That includes presenting scenes or footage when FPI members did defacements, vandalism, and other violent acts. As time goes by, these violent activities seem to legitimize all FPI’s justifications, even if it breaks Indonesian’s law.

            According to Mubarak (2008), Indonesian government often times seems unable to be strict in handling the groups’ actions which are breaking the law. One example is the mobilization of Jihad Troops in Moluccan conflict and defacements done by FPI troops along 1999 to 2003. Even though the government has put out threats, FPI kept on sending out volunteers and its anarchism kept on going. It signals government policy’s infertility and ineffectiveness towards the extreme group. It made FPI freely exercise its violence as a part of culture as well as its form of political communication.

            The matter becomes acute when this violent culture is related to FPI who always use Islamic attributes and flag as a justification keyword towards its actions. Claims of FPI as Islamic defender who is the most valid Muslim because they fight for Islam by representing Muslims in Indonesia even the world; works as a jargon as well as an image of Muslim society. Indonesian Muslims definitely objected to this. Nevertheless, as a silent majority Indonesian Muslims, their refusal of the claims often limited to public discourse and direct public space (face to face), or cyberspace. Statements and questions commonly arise and tends to try confronting all brutal and violent actions of FPI are: “FPI is thugs in a robe,” “FPI has blackened Islam’s name,” “Why does only specific entertainment venues destroyed and not other places?” “Don’t say FPI just relies on “collect” system; those who can pay will have their entertainment business saved, those who can’t will surely be destroyed?!”

            Media publications continuously draw attention to violent acts exercised by FPI, became a double edged sword. On the other hand, it was a way to continuously warned the government and society about the danger of violence, but it also gives oxygen to FPI who’s name indirectly promoted by the media. The approach of having publication as “oxygen” became McNair’s (2003) study which sees communication acts done by terrorist becomes very significant when it is spread through mass media and reaches a broad audience.

            Violent steps taken by FPI can actually leads to terrorism actions when the violent act either it’s physical or psych are done by FPI members towards other party reputed as its enemy. Thomas Thornton (McNair, 2003) stated that terrorist act can come in a form of activities and symbols designed to influence political behavior in ways out of normality, using threats and violence.

            When FPI actions which falls into terror category keep on appearing in various media, including foreign media, then Muslim identity as a society that carries out violent culture in every action is fixed. Again, even though Muslim majority refuses violent culture based on an understanding that Islam itself means submission to fate and peacefulness (rahmatan lil alamin), FPI political communication acts based on violence create a contra productive issues towards Islam’s image of peace.


             It is undeniable that FPI’s presence invites pros and cons in the society. In one side, FPI is a society organization based on Islam, which is the majority religion in Indonesia. Yet, in the other side, their activities have made society restless. This is the point where horizontal conflict arises between Muslims in Indonesia. Law procedure that is the fundamental value of the country has been taken easily by FPI.

            FPI’s relation with the country is actually based on the weakness of government’s attitude and policy in handling events/phenomena in society. Vacuum of law enforcing in some areal of life like prostitution, gambling, alcoholic liquors; has become a rift that gives FPI the advantage of conducting violent acts. FPI concluded that enforcing Amar Makruf is the only solution to prevent tyranny and ignorance. Amar makruf and nahi munkar’s enforcement has to be done in all areas of life.

            Media has the power to influence society’s perception, and it is undeniable that FPI imaging as a radical Islamic organization is media’s way of taking side. According to one of FPI’s figure, media is always invited to their every activity, with hope that media can see how FPI works and procedures they have. They hope that every FPI activities covered will be praised; yet, media still has its side towards majority society which is silent majority, those who oppose every violent act of FPI on behalf of Islam as the group’s identity. However, coverage that clearly opposes FPI can only be found in Indonesian media. Foreign media, on the other hand, is the one that’s capable of relating FPI with the general identity of Islamic society in Indonesia.

            Therefore, it is time for silent majority Muslims to be mobilized. Even mass media, if possible, actively take part in making the silent majority aware of the situation.  Especially by forwarding oppositions of FPI’s violence in every report and coverage in mass media, and narrowing news coverage that shows as if FPI succeeds in performing violent acts. If mass media can “amplify” FPI’s name, then it can surely “shrinking” it down.


Castells, Manuel. 2004. The Power of Identity. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

McNair, Brian. 2003. An Introduction To Political Communication. London: Routledge 

Mubarak, M. Zaki. 2008. Genealogi Islam Radikal di Indonesia, Gerakan, Pemikiran dan Prospek Demokrasi, Jakarta: LP3ES

Muhtadi, DR. Asep Saeful,MA. 2008. Komunikasi Politik Indonesia. Bandung: PT. Remaja Rosdakarya.

Nimmo, Dan. 1989. Komunikasi Politik, Bandung: PT. Remaja Rosdakarya.

Rosadi, Andri.2008. Hitam Putih FPI: Mengungkap Rahasia-Rahasia Mencengangkan Ormas Keagamaan Paling Kontroversial. Jakarta: Nun Publisher.

Di dunia kerja dan profesi ada pepatah lama yang menawarkan dua pilihan yakni: “menjadi ikan besar di kolam kecil? atau menjadi ikan kecil di tengah lautan?”. Maknanya tentu saja berarti memilih menjadi boss atau pimpinan di perusahaan kecil? atau menjadi pekerja biasa alias pegawai posisi bawah tapi di perusahaan besar?. Sebuah pilihan-pilihan dengan berbagai asumsi yang mengandung konsekuensi tertentu.

 Kalau menjadi pimpinan di perusahaan kecil, maka dia bisa menjadi pengambil keputusan kunci, menjadi orang ”penting”,  menjadi orang dalam posisi paling disegani dan dihormati di tempat kerja yang kecil tersebut. Sementara menjadi pekerja biasa di perusahaan ternama, besar, maka artinya meski dia tidak bisa menjadi pengambil keputusan, tapi dia mengikuti dan terlibat dalam sebuah proses besar, akan menjadi saksi sejarah apabila perusahaannya tersebut masuk dalam kategori perusahaan multinasional, kelas dunia.

Argumentasi di atas barangkali memang sudah sering didengar dan dibicarakan banyak orang. Tapi bagaimana dengan pepatah yang hampir tidak kita pernah dengar, yakni: ”menjadi ikan besar di tengah lautan luas? Atau menjadi ikan kecil di kolam kecil?”. Filosofi ikan besar di tengah lautan luas, sudah tentu bermakna menjadi boss atau pimpinan diperusahaan besar yang barangkali menghasilkan milyar-an dan triyul-an rupiah pertahun. Mungkin ini menjadi impian banyak orang, dengan berbagai konsekuensi yang menggiurkan sekaligus bisa jadi mengerikan, misalnya, terjebak dalam skema hutang, nilai saham yang merosot, ambruk, dan berbagai keterpurukan lain.

Nah, untuk itu, inilah saatnya berpikir menjadi ikan kecil di dalam kolam kecil. Menjadi pekerja keras, pekerja biasa, di sebuah perusahaan kecil yang biasa-biasa saja juga. Masyarakat Indonesia sudah membuktikan bahwa saat krisis ekonomi 1998 melanda Asia, termasuk Indonesia, justru Usaha Kecil Menengah (UKM) lah yang mempu bertahan di tengah deraan krisis. Menjadi ikan kecil di tengah kolam kecil justru paling selamat saat itu, sementara kolam luas dan lautan bahkan tak mampu lagi menampung ikan-ikan yang ada di dalamnya. Banyak karyawan di perusahaan besar justru terkena dampak PHK massal.

 Pembuktian keberhasilan UKM bertahan di tengah dampak krisis ekonomi sudah seharusnya menjadi pelajaran berharga. Tinggal kita sendiri yang harus terus melanjutkan keberhasilan tersebut, senyambi makin menguatkan kaki-kaki perusahaan kecil yang terus dikembangkan. Sudah terbukti pula, orang-orang yang tangguh mengembangkan usahanya, biasanya berawal dari pengalamannya yang teruji di perusahaan-perusahaan kecil. Sudah jamak pula bila ketika kita bekerja di perusahaan kecil, maka segala kemampuan dan bakat kita akan terasah. Kita dituntut untuk multi skill, berkemampuan di segala bidang. Inilah ujian yang paling pas untuk melatih setiap kemampuan dari masing-masing personal. Jadi benar kan, sudah saatnya kita memikirkan untuk makin mengasah kemampuan kita sebaik-baiknya, dengan menjadi pekerja keras di sebuah perusahaan kecil. Siap untuk mencoba tantangan ini??

Tulisan ini dimuat di http://konsultankarir.com/2009/02/03/saya-dan-karir/ikan-kecil-di-kolam-kecil/

Ketika Hasan Tiro, salah seorang tokoh Gerakan Aceh Merdeka  (GAM) yang selama ini tinggal di Swedia, pulang ke tanah kelahirannya di Aceh, hampir semua media nasional di Indonesia maupun media lokal di Aceh memberitakan peristiwa ini. Namun sesungguhnya bagi masyarakat Aceh sendiri, rumor soal rencana kedatangan Hasan Tiro sudah jauh-jauh hari diperbincangkan, terutama di kedai-kedai kopi yang bertebaran di seluruh pelosok Aceh. Beredarnya rumor politik di Aceh melalui kedai kopi memang bukan hal besar, semacam jadi rahasia umum. Bahkan penulis yang sempat tinggal di Aceh (2006-2007) ikut merasakan betapa kedai kopi di Aceh merupakan sarana komunikasi dan sosialisasi politik  yang sangat jitu.

Mushola (meunasah) dan juga kedai kopi (keude kupi) adalah dua pranata sosial dalam masyarakat Aceh yang sulit dipisahkan dalam kehidupan sehari-hari. Menjadi bagian dari identitas masyarakat Aceh itu sendiri. Keberadaan kedua pranata sosial ini menyebar di seluruh pelosok Aceh dan memiliki kesamaan fungsi untuk kegiatan sosialisasi dan interaksi di antara anggota masyarakat. Jika kehadiran meunasah ditengarai hadir saat penyebaran Islam, maka kedai kopi sulit ditelusuri sejarahnya. Namun kedai kopi diperkirakan muncul usai era penjajahan Belanda, yang memungkinkan masyarakat leluasa bersosialisasi dan berkumpul. Ada indikasi bahwa kedai kopi menjadi sangat popular pada tahun 1980-an sampai pertengahan 1990-an ketika masa DOM (Daerah Operasi Militer) diterapkan di Aceh. Bahkan ada wacana yang menyatakan bahwa kedai kopi juga menjadi sarana koordinasi antara panglima GAM serta dijadikan tempat perundingan tidak resmi antara pihak GAM dengan TNI (Tentara Nasional Indonesia). Tetapi pemberitaan di berbagai media seringkali hanya menyoroti banyaknya kedai kopi, serta kebiasaan masyarakat Aceh bermalas-malasan di kedai kopi. Tidak ada media yang membahas lebih detil apa saja yang berada di balik kebiasaan berlama-lama di kedai kopi tersebut.

            Padahal mengamati fenomena yang ada tersebut tentunya akan sangat menarik terutama bila di kaji dari sisi komunikasi politik. Misalnya saja kita akan makin tahu  tentang bagaimana masyarakat Aceh melihat fungsi kedai kopi tersebut, termasuk apa saja yang diperbincangkan oleh masyarakat Aceh di kedai kopi ini. Kemudian dari sini pula kita bisa mengetahui siapa saja yang terlibat dalam perbincangan di kedai kopi tersebut, serta  apakah  perbincangan itu membawa pengaruh yang signifikan dalam cara berpikir dan tindakan masyarakat Aceh dalam memandang dan menjalani kehidupan sipil, politik, ekonomi, sosial dan budaya mereka.

Saat ini keberadaan kedai kopi  dirasakan cukup dominan dan memegang peranan penting dalam kegiatan berinteraksi di antara masyarakat Aceh. Belum didapatkan data statistik tentang perbandingan jumlah meunasah dan kedai kopi, namun diperkirakan jumlah kedai kopi saat ini lebih banyak daripada meunasah. Hal ini tentu saja sangat memungkinkan terjadinya perubahan sosial, politik dan budaya pada kehidupan masyarakat Aceh. Secara umum kedai kopi di Aceh dianggap menjadi sarana yang lebih terbuka dan egaliter dalam menerima pengunjungnya.

Apabila kita berkunjung di berbagai kedai kopi yang banyak berderet di Aceh, maka pengunjungnya bukan orang tertentu saja, tidak ”itu-itu saja”. Melainkan sangat bervariasi. Demikian juga komposisi usia dan jenis kelaminnya pun makin beragam, jika dulu du monopoli oleh kaum pria dewasa, sekarang perempuan dan kelompok remaja juga mulai tampak bersantai di kedai kopi. Sementara bila melihat dari jenis pekerjaan dari pengunjungnya, juga berbeda-beda mulai dari pekerja bangunan, petani, pedagang, pekerja NGO, sampai pegawai negeri.  Dalam sebuah kesempatan bahkan penulis pernah bertemu dengan rombongan gubernur Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam (NAD), Irwandi Yusuf yang berbincang santai, dan berlama-lama di kedai kopi (tanpa pengawalan ketat dan tanpa prosedur protokoler), setelah itu biasanya seluruh pengunjung kedai kopi tersebut akan ”ketiban” rejeki karena sang gubernur terpilih tersebut akan mentraktir seluruh orang di kedai kopi itu. Meski demikian,  beberapa waktu lalu ada pemberitaan bahwa sang gubernur, yang juga ”pengunjung setia” kedai kopi, sempat gusar karena banyak pegawai negeri tidak di tempat ketika jam kerja. Ia pun melakukan sweeping mendadak ke kedai kopi favorit pejabat di Banda Aceh. Sehingga sejak itu pula orang berseragam pegawai negeri gerah duduk di kedai kopi. Barangkali mereka kemudian memilih berganti baju terlebih dahulu bila hendak bersantai di kedai kopi.

Suasana  seperti itu tentu saja sulit ditemukan di daerah lain. Di daerah lain, misalnya, jangankan gubernur atau bupati, seorang pejabat tingkat di bawahnya yang berada di daerah pastilah enggan duduk di kedai kopi bersama warga biasa,  atau bahkan mungkin ada di antaranya yang penganggur, karena dianggap dapat mencederai wibawa korps pegawai negeri. Sistem egaliter yang diterapkan di kedai kopi Aceh ini sangat menarik dan membawa konsekuensi yang timbul karena kondisi tersebut.  Misalnya saja komunikasi antara pemangku pemerintahan dan masyarakat makin terbuka, namun di sisi lain ada juga kecenderungan untuk ”menyelesaikan” segala sesuatu di perundingan kedai kopi, sesuatu yang tentu saja tidak bisa 100% diterapkan, apabila berkaitan dengan tata aturan pemerintahan dan kenegaraan. Tak aneh juga bila masyarakat Aceh juga punya pameo, ”Pasti ada di kedai kopi”, bila hendak bertemu dengan relasi ataupun rekanan kerjanya yang tidak bisa di temui di tempat kerja maupun di rumahnya.

Kedai kopi sebagai sarana public sphere (ruang publik) kemudian menjadi kajian kritis yang tidak terlepas dari keberadaan masyarakat yang merupakan gabungan antara tiga kepentingan utama, seperti yang diungkapkan pakar Komunikasi dari Jerman, Habermas, bahwa ada kepentingan pekerjaan, interaksi (komunikasi), dan juga kekuasaan dalam setiap peristiwa yang terjadi di ruang publik. Habermas dalam sebuah karyanya menggambarkan sebuah sejarah di Eropa abad pertengahan yang memunculkan sebuah gerakan sosial ketika orang-orang sering berdiskusi di cafe-cafe, makin menyadari pentingnya membangun opini publik, dan menyerukan berbagai kepentingan bersama mereka melalui berbagai diskusi dan perbincangan informal tadi. Fenomena ini tak jauh dari kondisi yang terjadi pada masyarakat Aceh pada akhir-akhir ini. Sehingga mencermati keberadaan kedai kopi di Aceh akan memungkinkan melihat fenomena masyarakat Aceh saat ini dan di masa depan. Sehingga bukan tidak mungkin kita bisa mendengarkan berbagai aspirasi masyarakat Aceh dengan lebih terbuka dan jujur di berbagai kedai kopi ini dibandingkan dengan pembicaraan aspirasi yang disampaikan di gedung DPR/DPRD.

Terlebih bila kita amati lebih jauh, rata-rata kedai kopi ini buka pada pukul 6 pagi, dan akan tutup pada tengah melam, sekitar pukul 00. Untuk kedai-kedai kopi yang sangat populer seperti kedai kopi Jasa Ayah-Solong dan juga Chek Yukee, yang keduanya di Banda Aceh, kita bisa melihat sebuah pemandangan yang spektakuler, yakni sejak pagi dibuku hingga tutup selalu penuh berisi orang, sulit mencari tempat kosong. Pun di jam-jam kerja, sebuah fenomena yang menarik dan langka. Fenomena ini tentu saja menarik dicermati, terutama bila kita bisa menelaah lebih lanjut tentang apa saja yang menjadi perbincangan di sana, serta sejauh apa materi perbincangan tersebut memiliki kepentingan langsung dan tak langsung pada para pengunjung kedai kopi yang mendiskusikannya tersebut.

Meski media massa sudah banyak memberitakan keberadaan kedai kopi di Aceh, namun seringkali yang diberitakan hanya sisi gaya hidupnya saja, misalnya menyoroti kebiasaan masyarakat yang berlama-lama di kedai kopi. Sementara untuk sisi pendalaman pemberitaannya kuranglah diekspos. Meskipun ada juga satu dua media yang memberikan ”sinyal” bahwa semua rumor dan komunikasi politik bisa diawali dan dikaji dari perbincangan kedai kopi ini. Seperti contohnya pemberitaan tentang perbincangan di kedai kopi yang sudah sampai tahapan mendiskusikan Pemilu 2009 mendatang. Termasuk bahwa Partai Aceh adalah satu dari enam  partai lokal Aceh  yang diperkirakan akan memperoleh suara cukup signifikan pada Pemilu 2009 mendatang mengalahkan partai politik nasional. Sebuah pembicaraan ”sederhana dan ringan” tampaknya tentang rumor politik, namun bisa jadi membawa kebenaran yang nyata, sama nyatanya dengan rumor awal tentang akan datangnya Hasan Tiro ke Aceh.

Dari peristiwa dan pemberitaan media tersebut bisa dilihat bahwa proses interaksi di kedai kopi di Aceh, ternyata mengubah fungsi tempat minum kopi, dari sekadar warung kopi, menjadi sejenis ruang sosial. Bahkan sebuah lembaga swadaya masyarakat di Aceh kemudian membuat diskusi rutin setiap bulan, dengan tajuk tertentu di sebuah kedai kopi, yang bisa diikuti oleh siapa saja, serta dengan narasumber dari berbagai lapisan masyarakat, baik dari pemerintahan maupun masyarakat sipil lainnya, baik dari Aceh maupun nara sumber yang sifatnya nasional. Kedai kopi menjadi tempat berinteraksi dan berkomunikasi antara semua lapisan masyarakat, baik masyarakat umum dan pejabat publik dengan beragam topik diskusi beragam dari sosial, budaya, ekonomi, dan terutama tentang politik.


Strategi Sukses para CEO

January 22, 2010

Jika membincangkan beragam produk dan jasa dunia semacam Dell, Samsung, Motorola, IBM, dan deretan branch yang sangat populer, maka mau tak mau kita akan membicarakan kisah sukses para CEO (Chief Executive Officer)-nya.  Namun tentu saja keberhasilan para CEO dunia ini tidak diraih dalam sekejap mata, pastilah dengan penuh perjuangan dan liku-liku yang penuh trik dan mendebarkan bila semata-mata dilihat dari sisi kalkulasi bisnis yang kasat mata. 

Bayangkan saja Anda sebagai seorang pimpinan perusahaan tiba-tiba harus berhadapan dengan seluruh karyawan dalam organisasi, tindakan apa yang harus Anda lakukan? Tentu saja Anda harus bertindak taktis, seperti yang dilakukan oleh Edward Zander, CEO Motorola. Zander yang dengan tegasnya melucuti birokrasi yang melemahkan dan mengakhiri budaya persaingan internal yang merusak (hal 103). Usaha Zander bukan persoalan ringan namun dia bahkan tidak segan mengatakan pada pegawainya: “Jika kalian tidak kooperatif dan bekerja sama, akan saya habisi kalian”. Terlihat sangat ambisius sekaligus dramatis, namun Zander membuktikan bahwa ancamannya sebagai sebuah punishment berlaku sama untuk reward yang dia janjikan dengan menaikkan gaji dan pemberian bonus yang besar.

Upaya perubahan dengan angin segar juga di lakukan oleh  Edouard Michelin, yang mewarisi perusahaan ban legendaris keluarga. Langkahnya tergolong pelan namun pasti dalam merubah pola perusahaan keluarga tradisional versi kakek dan ayahnya, menuju sebuah perusahaan internasional yang terus berkembang marginnya. Selain focus pada konsumen yang paling memberikan keuntungan (kelas premium), Michelin juga berusaha mengambil keuntungan dari kesalahan pesaing (hal 225).

Versi perubahan lain dilakukan juga oleh Arthur J. Sulzberger Jr., CEO sekaligus ahli waris dari New York Times Co., yang harus menghadi perubahan tuntutan konsumen di zaman digital ini. CEO muda ini dating ketika surat kabarnya menghadapi merosotnya jumlah oplah, berpindahnya pemasang iklan dan kelangsungan model bisnis koran tradisional, serta belum lagi adanya skandal yang sempat mempengaruhi kredibilitas perusahaannya. Di tengah situasi itulah inovasi dan tindakan taktis dilakukan oleh Sulzberger Jr. dengan berbagai gebrakan barunya, terbukti akhirnya perusahaannya mampu menerbitkan berbagai surat kabar lain dengan kelas nasional dan internasional.

Tiga kisah strategi jitu para CEO di atas merupakan bagian dari 14 kisah para CEO dunia yang membagi ilmu dan pengetahuannya lewat reportase di majalah BusinessWeek, yang kemudian dibukukan dengan cara yang sangat menarik. Selain sangat inspiratif buku ini juga memberikan point kunci pelajaran pada tiap halaman awal dari sajian kisah tokoh CEO-nya, dan juga diakhiri dengan halaman penutup yang bertuliskan pokok dari masalah, solusi serta mempertahankan kemenangan. Sehingga kita para pembacanya akan sangat mudah mengetahui tips ringan dari ide dan tindakan yang sudah dilakukan oleh CEO dunia tersebut. Yang menarik lagi, buku ini selain diberi pengantar oleh Rhenald Kasali, juga di bagian belakangnya disajikan tambahan ide dan gagasan pemikiran dari seorang visioner bisnis C.K. Prahalad, yang telah banyak mengubah cara pandang para CEO dalam menjalankan perusahaannya.

Prahalad dalam mengembangkan idenya tidak saja berasal inovasi yang cerdas di jalanan, melainkan juga selalu memaksa para manajer untuk melepaskan diri dari “logika dominan”. Tindakan dan solusi yang ditawarkan oleh Prahalad menjadi sangat menarik karena dia dikenal sebagai orang yang siap pakai dan juga pragmatis (hal 256). Pendeknya, dengan membaca keseluruhan buku ini, Anda tidak cuma sekadar terinspirasi oleh kisah sukses dengan tips dari strategi para CEO dunia, namun Anda juga bisa mempraktekkan langkah-langkah tersebut di setiap organisasi dan perusahaan yang hendak Anda kembangkan.

Judul : Strategi Sukses para CEO
Penulis : BusinessWeek

Penerjemah: Mursid Widjanarko

Pengantar: Rhenald Kasali, Ph.D.
Penerbit : Kaifa, PT. Mizan Pustaka 2008
Hal. : 278
Peresensi : Lestari N.

 Sudah dimuat di www.konsultankarir.com

In truth, besides the government represented by General Elections Commission (KPU) and Election Monitoring Body (Bawaslu), there are other parties who hold crucial role in upcoming general election and requires the public’s attention. These parties are a three partheid between Independent Elections Monitoring Observer, Quick Count Organizer and Mass Media.

These three pillars hold crucial role and possess direct and indirect influence towards the success of elections. These three parties even got a clear and confirm law from the government with its rules and conducts in General Elections Law (General Elections Law year 2003 and 2008). It became interesting when the three organizations enter the domain of communication practice discourse.

Elections monitoring observer organizations’ existence on a local, national and international scale is being reaffirmed by law on 2009 Election’s preparation. To name a few are Law No. 10 year 2008, where Article 231 stipulates that, “Election monitor organization can be domestic non-government organization and communities for election monitoring, domestic legal entities, foreign election monitoring organization, and representatives of friendly countries in Indonesia.” Even though it’s clearly seen that there are efforts made to have the upcoming elections free and fair, each monitoring groups’ identity should be a concern of many. In other words, identity of each election monitoring bodies should be transparent. The condition is also ruled in Article 232 (Law No. 10 year 2008) which stipulates that to be recognized as an election monitoring organization, it should be independent, has a clear source of funding and accredited by the national, provincial or district/city KPU in line with their coverage areas. Monitoring organization’s identity became crucial based on the writer’s experience and observation during monitoring activities in Indonesia and abroad, where it seems that often time election monitoring bodies’ critical attitude depends on the funder or donor supporting the monitoring activities. Therefore, it is very possible the monitoring organization could become subjective due to direct or indirect pressures from their donators.

 The second pillar that needs to come into attention is the quick count organization. It should also adhere to all rules and regulations that bind. As an organization who delivers result prediction of election based on facts and not opinion, quick count organization should also be independent. The fair and neutral quick count process would get its result out of votes from thousands of randomly selected polls. Therefore, it is mandatory that the quick counter is an organization that is credible, independent, resourceful, and supported by vast communication technology and information access. Identity of a quick count organization should also be transparent to the public through mass media, so its credibility is comprehensible and every data communicated is accountable to the public

Furthermore, quick count organization does require special skills. It needs to an organization that follows the dynamics of national politics and able to organize grassroots community nationally. The organizer should acquire a personality who understands statistics and able to properly choose polls randomly. The main function of quick count is to help verify KPU’s official results and contribute towards the election process’ legitimacy, where its accuracy could be compared to KPU’s results. Here is where the credibility of quick count organization’s identity needs to be aligned with the credibility of the media broadcasting it.

As the third pillar, mass media is the one that actually have a big role to communicate the presence and performance of the other two pillars, election monitoring organization and quick count organizer. At this point, mass media functions include presenting the real identity of organizations involved in the election processes. At this level, mass media ought to have an independency and the same time, subjectivity towards the implementation of a free, fair and honest election. Presenting the whole unvarnished truth of election processes as a part of a democratic process has been a basic function of Indonesia’s mass media nowadays, especially in the upcoming 2009 presidential election. There are already two television stations, Metro TV and TV One, claiming as the Election media; nevertheless, those claims became a big question when each media’s source of funds has lead to individual owners assumed to have personal interest in the upcoming election. Once again, public trust towards election monitoring organization, mass media and quick count organization will in the end depends on their source of funding. Everything presented and communicated by the media is in fact inseparable from the identity and independency of the mass media involved.