Publication Details

Kitley, P. (2006). Between the lines: an analysis of the language of Indonesian reporting of military clashes in Aceh. In A. Vickers & M. Hanlon (Eds.), Asia Reconstructed: Proceedings of the 16th Biennial Conference of the ASAA, 2006 Canberra: Asian Studies Association of Australia Inc. and the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies.


[extract] Kompas Cyber Media is the online presence of the leading Indonesian daily Kompas and it was on the small screen that I first read about the kidnapping on 29 June, 2003 of television journalist Ersa Siregar, camera operator Ferry Santoro, their driver Rahmatsyah and two female passengers, sisters Safrida and Soraya. The online version of this drawn out story of reporters hostage to the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, GAM) stripped down the news stories that appeared in the broadsheet. I was struck by the more than usually limited information value of the hostage headlines and stories from June through to December 29, 2003, when Ersa Siregar was shot dead in a fire fight between GAM and Indonesian National Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia TNI). It was as if the web presence of the newspaper reduced both the size and the resonances of this tragic event, the most serious case of violence against the press since the military imposed martial law in Aceh on 19 May 2003 (Presidential Decree 28/2003).