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Tuesday, 14 April 2015


Agus Miswanto

Every people almost know that free expression and thoughts are guaranteed by the Indonesian state constitution.  There for, every people can express their idea freely, and can criticize some cases of social or political phenomenon. Criticizing upon the government is also guaranteed, even though it is very hard.  Indonesia has declared as one of democratic countries which uphold ideas and philosophy of democratic system adopted in state constitution and many state decrees. Democratic country shall honor independent press journals which is a part of pillars for democratic countries, beside civil societies, law enforcement, good governance, and general election. The existence of press journals in such countries denotes the indication of guaranties for free thought and expression of people. There for, if the state government intervenes deeply into press journals, such as contents have to get approval screening from the government authority, it indicates that free thought and expression is not fully guaranteed in this country. 

Press Journals in Democratic Countries

The important principles and fundamental tenets in democratic society are that challenge, even threat of thoughts, theories and paradigm is not answered by harassment treat. But it is accounted and taken into philosophical dialectic. All challenge and threat which come from the ideas expression of people would be put and grounded into philosophical debate which is free area for expression which people freely think, talk, and do critics upon them, and it is far from intervention of state power. So thoughts, paradigm, theories, and beliefs could not be punished, and all of them are guaranteed by the state constitution. There for all expression in press journals, even printed or on line, are fundamental rights for every people.  And the expression in press journals is fully independent without limitation, unless it is demanded by people through fair trial at the courthouse. The expression which drives fidgety of people and hatred can be sued through the courthouse and shall be punished, if only it is prosecuted through the courthouse which could be proof through process of fair trial. In democratic country therefore, government cannot close press journals without the decree of the court.  And closing press journals by the state government without trial is not democratic, even it is characteristic of dictatorship government.

Press journals in democratic countries function to control the state governments in dealing with its accountability. Besides, it also educates people to know what their rights in relation with the government and other people. Therefore, press journals shall give different shouting upon the government perspectives and acts. And some times, press journals must shout loudly towards such conditions which people have to know and aware of jeopardy. So, critics, even soft or hard, are fundamental tenets of press journals in democratic countries. But the critics have to be objective, fair, rational, and reasonable. Due to the situation, press journals must achieve remarkably up top position among people, and contribute positive intake credibly upon society.     

Islamic Press Journals in Indonesia

In Indonesia, the development of Islamic press journals is not so rebound; it is relatively too small compared to the number of Muslim people. Therefore, the existences of Islamic press journals in Indonesia to promote positive Islamic teaching to people, is slight needed, even it is much demanded. If the Islamic press journals are limited, and it is difficult to be accessed by people, it would be jeopardy to people and the state. When Muslim people cannot get available positive information on Islam, they would be easy to be a targeted group of brain washing by radical group. The brain washing is used to radicalize people, especially for people whose lack of information on Islam. In other word, almost minimal Muslim is to be targeted group, in which they are not educated in Islamic teachings. Why? Almost minimal Muslims do not have an adequate argument to answer challenges and critical question of radical group. In the contrary, educated Muslims on Islam, they are more open and can articulate good argument in debate although with high challenges and questions.  Therefore radical group shall face difficulties to spread and promote their ideologies among Islamic Universities students, because their ideological argument must be kicked out by brilliant argument of students there. Therefore, member of radical Muslim group linkage deals with uneducated people on Islam who is mostly not educated in Islamic universities.

Islamic press journals in Indonesia beside present normative Islamic values, also discuss much problem of social phenomenon to solve and search alternative solutions. Even some times, it do debate and answer many challenges and critical questions issued by other press journals which has different perspective and ideologies. Through many different topics presented, Islamic press journals educate people to aware of the situation and rights accordingly with Islamic tenets. Even though, Islamic press journals only give alternative information and solution to people, they have free choices to choose to read and do critics upon information and solution from abundant of press journals which is available among society. So abundant of different perspective or ideologies presented in Islamic press journals is not problematic for Muslim people, but it shall help them to open their mind.

In addition, the numbers of Islamic journals shall help the government to protect people from radical perspective, but give them wide horizon on Islam with different perspective. So, more richer content of Islamic press Journals, it shall make people more mature and wiser in perspective and paradigm. And more colorful perspective in content, it shall drive people to honor more different thoughts, ideologies and beliefs. Then, the number of Islamic press journals with wide range from soft paradigm to the radical paradigm, from left perspective to right perspective, from liberal to fundamental perspective, shall give credits toward mature of democratic mentality of Muslim people in Indonesia. So fear of the government toward the emerging of radical or fundamentalist group movement must be eliminated. In other word, the frightened government on Islamic press journals is not accounted, even misleading excessively.

The ISIS in Press Journals: Misleading Government

Social and political phenomenon which is driving the Indonesian government to close Islamic press journals is the emerging of the ISIS ideologies. The ISIS [Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) actually is Middle East phenomenon, especially in Syria and Iraq, but it drives wide implication of fear in many areas including Indonesia. To cut off the spreading of the ISIS ideologies, the government act screening to refine contents of Islamic press journals, even to block and stop the publishing of Islamic press journals in Indonesia. The reason which leads the government is that press journals are an instrument to promote radical ideologies to people, even as instrument to recruit members and sympathizers from Indonesian people to participate to do ‘jihad’ or holy war in Iraq and Syria.

Why does the ISIS succeed to frighten people and the government?  It is because of the ISIS is dubbed to have been spreading radical and harassment ideologies to people. Besides that the ISIS succeeded to do mimicry and turn camouflages from al-Qaida linkage, which is well-known as a radical Islamic movement commanded by Osama bin Laden. If we look up the history of radical Islamic ideologies in Indonesia, al-Qaida, the ISIS and Jamaah Islamiyah for example succeeded to develop linkage of ideological harassment movement in Indonesia through brain washing method and smuggling strategy. And brain washing method used by al-Qaida group (including the ISIS and Jamaah Islamiyah) and its wing or link in Indonesia is not through press journals. Because press journals spreads ideas and perspectives in very open way which people can read critically and independently, meanwhile al-Qaida or the ISIS group and its link is much closed, even smuggled. There for, al-Qaida or the ISIS develop linkage through doing smuggled small cell group strategy which its one or two cadre do meeting face to face with targeted persons or small group of people. Through this smuggled meeting, they do closed discussion and inject the indoctrination of radical ideologies to the targeted group of people. Therefore, the Islamic press journals are not possible to be an instrument for Islamic radical movement which characterized as smuggled and very close. Then, the closure of Islamic press journals by the state government is misleading and unreasonable.

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