It was a very long time before Indonesian people realized what mass media really are. Despite all of those fuzz and buzz, we all lived that time, when the dissident watchdogs were kidnapped and the truth was hid somewhere unreachable. Did it bicker? Oh yes, i bet it was.
1998; I am one of those frightened kid who stay at home, smirked and sat in front of telly watching transition between the Smiling General regime into what we called now Reformation era. Fourteen years later, I’m working as a journalist. Maybe you didn’t realize, but how people treat information these days, is scary as shit. FYI, i fucking love my job. The road is pretty bumpy but steady as the wind blows (That doesn’t even make sense, right? I know)
Let’s see the good part first. Since 1998, the growth of mass media was incredible. Today, we could find magazine for any kind of interest and various segment; toddlers, kids, moms, newlyweds, soon to be married couples, teenager, music enthusiast, cars, segmented sport, gadgets, fashion, animals, travel, perverts, Hentai lovers and etc etc etc.
Thus, in quantitative way of thinking, IMO the needs of information is adequate. This situation is a logical impact towards what people faced before Reformation Era; there were this frightening monsters of censoring, sucking propaganda and lousy campaign which formed by certain power. History told us – from several examples – very clear moments when big gutsy media like Tempo was attacked, and the independence of national journalism was questioned. Right now, we all turning down the situation and pay revenge for the past.
BUT, I don’t say that these ‘powers’ is gone now. What really happened now is: that big powers transformed into little power that contains group interest, especially for douchebags with lots of money in the piggy bank, IYKWIM. With this condition, people are softly nodding each other clean. Most of giant media owner also play their role in politics. Speaking of media independence, that is obviously wrong. Speaking of business, that is big money stuffed in your ass.
Along with mass media growth, the IT development rapidly fires Indonesian people. I could picture those western investor imagine Indonesia as their test field, and all of us is their experiment bunny. Ah, don’t worry, it was our fate to be third world-ded and become their playgrounds. They threw all of the latest gadgets to us, exploding capitalism with unreasonable built-in hunger of existence. I’m not saying myself as anti gadget or something like that, but there is something seriously wrong with the fact that RIM made people queue like horse shit for some new type of Blackberry.
Why talk about this? The point of my previous paragraph is: all of those IT toys offering us the new world of sharing information. My specified context of new world is social media. That world where information could pass to others in a blink of an eye, bursting via your smart phone. And this situation is related to how generally people see information, including journalism, of course. The thing is, all of these invasion didn’t arrived with strict values / law about how to use it, formal education from government about how to handle, how to adapt and how to live along with it.
With their gadgets, all of people could be a reporter, tweeting anything fast and furious. Information is everywhere. Everyone is information
Do we crave for information? Yes. Do we need it fast? Yes. Do we ask for verification? No, we don’t. Do we care if it’s wrong? errrrr.
We RT-ing false info. TV Station reporting wrong news about dead public figures who still alive. Reporters delivered failed narration on TV stand-ups live reporting. People bully that jinxed chick in “Xenia maut” tragedy. They giving real effort to edit her face to fit any of those lame jokes, for the sake of BBM Propics and twitpics. Again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not taking sides on that xenia maut case, my point is the way information goes these days is fucking overrated. Social Media is a mass power factory, with minimum responsibility of education about the issue. People are easily raging in social media about big issues. Wrong opinion are easily punished in social media.
People become instant expert, critique machine gun without even knowing the real context about the problem. Social Media in Indonesia is never wrong. What actually wrong is how people treated it. We are not ready. Indonesian people are not ready yet to face the flood of information. We are not ready to face the new world of IT. Yes we are financially ready, euphorically ready, but obviously we are NOT mentally and institutionally ready.
Who to blame?
Let the question sink, until we start pointing fingers. Happy National Press day. carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.