Media Program | Youth and sport | Visual and performing arts and arts heritage | Professions and science and technology | Indonesian language and culture studies | Australian culture and English language studies | Civil Society Program
The Institute aims to encourage improved mutual understanding of the complexities of the two countries among the Australian and Indonesian media and to make Indonesians more aware of Australian expertise in the making of television documentaries and films.
The Institute maintained a strong media program during the four years from 1995 to 1999. The senior editors meetings, journalist scholarships, media exchanges and media training were the key features of the program.
Australian journalist scholarships to Indonesia
Scholarships were provided to Australian journalists to study in Indonesia and Indonesian journalists to study in Australia, enabling journalists to be better informed about each other's country. Journalists working for Australian country and city newspapers as well as national radio and television networks received awards to study Indonesian language and culture. During the four-year period 27 Australian awardees completed language scholarship programs. Among the Australian journalists supported were:
Lindsay Murdoch, of the Age, and Don Greenlees, of the Australian, both went on to become Jakarta-based correspondents for their respective publications.
1996 Jakarta meeting: Thirteen of Australia's most senior editors and senior editors from major Indonesian newspapers and media outlets, including the major TV network SCTV, attended the May 1996 senior editors meeting in Jakarta. The Australian participants met with senior political, academic and business interlocutors including President Soeharto who took questions on East Timor policy and Indonesia's political evolution. The Australians had a meeting with one of the most prominent media critics of the Soeharto government whose publication had been recently banned. There was a surprising degree of frankness in discussion at many of these meetings, particularly in relation to Indonesian domestic and foreign policy issues and developments in Indonesian society generally.
1997 Sydney meeting: The December 1997 senior editors meeting in Sydney attracted a strong Australian representation and a good delegation from Indonesia. The meeting discussed the political and economic situation and the role of minorities in both countries. It also examined the religious situation and tensions in Indonesia as well as East Timor issues. The Indonesians were interested in Australia's Wik legislation, Australian media values in covering Indonesia and the Olympic preparations. Expert briefings and meetings with senior politicians and social commentators were important features of the program. The Indonesians visited Canberra where they met with the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Mr Fischer, and other political leaders.
1999 Jakarta meeting: The senior editors meeting in Jakarta in April 1999 attracted 37 senior Australian and Indonesian editors. The 16 Australian editors, from both the print and electronic media, met with President BJ Habibie and other leading Indonesians in political, social and business affairs. They also visited East Timorese resistance leader Xanana Gusmao who was then under house arrest. The meeting with President Habibie saw a vigorous question period dealing with the forthcoming East Timor ballot, security on the ground, the role of the Indonesian military in East Timor and human rights issues. There was also a meeting with Defence Minister and Armed Forces Commander General Wiranto.
The 1999 meeting took on a special importance due to the impending Indonesian election and discussion of East Timor was of particular interest to the Australian editors. The meeting gave an invaluable insight into the affairs and thinking of an important neighbour and provided insight into the unfolding events in East Timor and Australia-Indonesia relations.
Media exchange program
A range of Institute sponsored visits by Indonesian journalists and filmmakers to Australia took place between 1996 and 1998.
These Indonesia-Australia exchange programs provided an opportunity to strengthen linkages between Australian and Indonesian media organisations and encouraged greater interest and informed reporting of Australia-Indonesia affairs and increased awareness of Australian skills in print and electronic media and film-making. The program also assisted with the development of a body of Indonesian media commentators with real experience of life and work in Australia, a broad understanding of how and why Australia's society is changing, and an understanding of Australian people and their values.
These exchanges have proved to be important in seeking to achieve a broader coverage of common interest news items about each country in the other and to influence community perceptions about each country in the other.
In late 1998, as a contribution to Indonesia's transition to publicly accountable broadcasting, the Media Research Centre was provided with a grant to undertake a course to train broadcast
The Institute teamed up with the Centre for Democratic Institutions, Murdoch University and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to deliver a course on public broadcasting for 15 senior Indonesian media members of state-run Indonesian television and radio in May 1999. The course was an important avenue for assisting Indonesia's transition to a more open and democratic society and ensured useful collaborative linkages for Murdoch University and the ABC with the Indonesian Directorate of Radio, Television and Film.
The Institute sponsored a well-attended media skills training workshop for students from 30 different university publications, run by the Press Advocacy Institute of Indonesia (IAPA Institut Advokasi Pers Indonesia) in Jakarta in March 1999.
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