Asia Pacific Media Educator


Students and the media were instrumental in bringing about political reforms in Indonesia in the 1990s, which led to the resignation of Soeharto in 1998 after 32 years in power. In the lead-up to and aftermath of the 1999 national general elections, the mass media was particularly active in heightening awareness of needed political reforms. It was assumed that as an educated social grouping, students would use the mass media for their political activities. A survey of 1,000 university students was conducted to determine how effective the mass media was as an agent of political education in influencing the students’ political activities. The results suggest that the relationship between media consumption and political participation was low. This paper suggests that several decades of government of suppression of so-called ‘practical politics’ among students in Indonesia may have contributed to this trend.