The greedy giants: Centralized television in post-authoritarian Indonesia

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19 Citations (Scopus)


This article essentially shows how the development of commercial television in Indonesia has conflicted with the country's media democratization, as illustrated by the growth of local media in the past 15 years. Compared to print media and radio, which are decentralized, Indonesia's television industry is dominated by five large media corporations that are all based in the capital city of Jakarta. As a consequence, this fails to leave much growing space to television stations at a local level, which would be needed to strengthen Indonesia's democratization. Media owners have successfully influenced the government in establishing a set of policies that sustain their dominance of the industry. Players within the television industry have even successfully swayed the direction of the broadcasting decentralization mandated by the Broadcasting Bill during Indonesia's early political Reform period. The influence of these 'Jakarta television stations' stunted the development of television stations outside of Jakarta. Not only it deprives local actors of the economic value of developing their own television industry would bring, it also has resulted in the the loss of television's potential in functioning as a public sphere facilitating social control over democratic processes. Although the Reform era promised a new age of media democratization, the centralization of commercial television actually worsened media monopolies that were thought to have been done away with in post-Suharto Indonesia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)390-406
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Communication Gazette
Issue number4-5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Decentralization
  • Indonesia
  • media commercialization
  • media democratizing
  • media political economy
  • television industry


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