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Indonesia’s media framing on Coal Law & Omnibus Law

My one-month Media Research Fellowship with the Climate Tracker has been a great learning experience. From the selection process, training, until finally completing the research took quite a long and winding process, but I can say that my media research skill is improved and so is my critical writing skill.
My one-month Media Research Fellowship with the Climate Tracker has been a great learning experience. From the selection process, training, until finally completing the research took quite a long and winding process, but I can say that my media research skill is improved and so is my critical writing skill.

I tackled two controversial bills, namely
– Coal and Mineral Law and
– Omnibus Law.

The first step I took in the research process was to gather as many relevant articles as possible. Since Google searches take a lot of time and does not always generate the relevant research needed, I teamed up with my colleague, Astari Dharma, and grabbed her technical know-how in doing data scraping with JavaScript bookmarklet to gather the articles in such a short time.

The latter step helped to save time for the second step, which was the content and discourse analysis that require a thorough reading and critical thinking.

What I personally found fascinating in this process was what I learned about reading between the lines!

I had to read and re-read some of the articles 2 or 3 times to fully understand the framing, the interest, and the potential biases. I also sometimes had to detach my opinion from the issue that I was covering to avoid my own biases. It was quite an exercise!

The third, and probably most challenging step was to contact the journalists and editors and to schedule for interviews. It took time to follow up with them, but overall, I enjoyed talking to them and learning about their reporting journeys since most of them are senior journalists.

Every person I interviewed has a unique background and is passionate about what they do. They are also highly knowledgeable on the coal and energy issues. The level of journalistic experience corresponded with the confidence that they brought when they talked about these topics and sharing their firsthand experience.

Credit: The Jakarta Post

Overall, the discussion around Omnibus Law, and Coal and Mineral Law in Indonesia has been quite intense this year.

I personally think that this is the narrative that the national media should put forward in their articles. Moreover, there needs to be stronger emphasis on how relaxing coal-related regulations will bring negative impacts to the environment, and further, to people’s livelihood especially those who live within the proximity of the coal mines.

Based on this research outcome, I feel called to write more and play my role within my capacity as a researcher and communication strategist to raise the public’s awareness on the climate impacts of fossil fuels. With the vast green energy potentials in Indonesia, including solar, wind, hydro, and geo-thermal; there is a lot to be done to promote this potential not only through the conventional media, but also by utilizing various modern platforms like social media and podcasts to tap into new audiences.

Cherika Hardjakusumah
Cherika is a research and communication specialist with over 5 years of experience gained from multi-faceted career roles in Europe and Asia. She is passionate about climate and energy issues and has worked on various research projects related to palm oil, biofuels, and solar energy.