Konde Research: Domestic Worker Issues Haven’t Become an Important Agenda in the Media

This year, the 17th anniversary of the bill for the protection of domestic workers. Will this be the bad seventeen or the sweet seventeen of the Domestic Workers Protection Bill? How does the media write about this bill?

“This research departs from our anxiety over the stalled discussion of the RUU PPRT in Indonesia. Our friends, the domestic workers, have been fighting for 17 years, getting in and out of the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) list, and so far there has been no bright spot. This condition is like a bad seventeen, not a sweet seventeen for domestic workers,” said Tika Adriana, the lead researcher.

Konde.co supported by Komnas Perempuan launched a research on how the media wrote reports on the Domestic Workers’ Protection Bill (RUU PPRT). This research was conducted from the top 10 online media according to Alexa.com’s version and their news coverage during the January-March 2021.

The research team, Lestari Nurhajati, said that the media had a big role in determining what the public would discuss. For this reason, this research explores what the media has written about the issue of the RUU PPRT. This research aims to map how the media write news on the RUU PPRT, provide an overview of media coverage trends about the RUU PPRT, and find out whether the media provide an opportunity for the formation of public opinion on the issue of the ratification of the RUU PPRT.

This research uses Entman’s framing analysis model that explores the definition of the problem (define problem), causal interpretation, moral evaluation (moral evaluation),  and offer of settlement (treatment recommendation) which are displayed in news texts on 10 online media in Indonesia, which are: Okezone.com, Tribunnews.com, Kompas.com, Detik.com, Grid.id, Sindonews.com, Suara.com, Liputan6.com, Merdeka.com, and Kumparan.com.

“As one of the pillars of democracy, the media has a great opportunity to ignite a discussion space, form a public opinion regarding the importance of the ratification of the RUU PPRT, and most importantly, to put on a medium of voice for minority groups such as domestic workers to ensure their aspirations to be widely known by the public. However, unfortunately, this research finds that reporting on the issue of the PPRT Bill in the media is still normative, nor is it intensive and comprehensive,” added Tika Adriana.

Research findings

Here are the full research findings:

1. The media coverage of the RUU PPRT is still minimal. The data shows, the number of news published is as follows: Kompas.com occupies the highest number of publications (6 news), Liputan6.com (3 news), followed by Tribunnews.com (1 news), Detik.com (1 news), Suara .com (1 news), Sindonews (1 news), Merdeka.com (1 news), Okezone.com (1 news), Kumparan.com and Grid.id (no news).

2. The lack of news is not comparable to the 9 events organized by community organizations related to domestic workers to encourage the ratification of the RUU PPRT. The commemoration of the National Domestic Workers Day which falls on February 15, 2021, also does not make the media interested in writing it down.

3. In the news text produced, the media has written a text about the definition of the problem (define problem), causal interpretation (causal interpretation), moral evaluation (moral evaluation), and a treatment recommendation regarding the RUU PPRT, although this text has not provided any recommendations related to problem-solving.

4. Several news stories are written with different sources but in the same event.

5. The sources in the news on the RUU PPRT are on average from the Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR), activists, and Komnas Perempuan, but only once featuring representatives of Domestic Workers (PRT).

6. There is replication or repetition of news from fellow media within the same parent company. This shows that there is a problem with processing issues in the media.

The findings of this research conclude that there is very little coverage of the RUU PPRT issue. This shows that the issue of the RUU PPRT has not yet become an important agenda in the mass media. In addition, the DPR as the subject of the problem gets a bigger coverage area than domestic workers who are directly affected by the RUU PPRT.

“The media has not provided a great opportunity for the public to discuss and participate in the importance of this RUU PPRT issue. From this research, we encourage the media to make the RUU PPRT an important agenda in the editorial. The DPR must also be transparent in being responsible for the RUU PPRT legislation process so that the media can more easily access and publish it,” said Tika.

Another research team, Marina Nasution said that there was replication or repetition of news from fellow media within the same parent company. This shows the problem of convergence and conglomeration in the media. This convergence problem arises when one news item is then replicated by other media in the same holding.

“There are 2 media in the same holding, and the news is exactly the same. It shows replication and the same work patterns. Even though people said that the media were diverse, but in fact, the news were all the same.”

This also shows the existence of the same ownership pattern, namely if the media owners are the same, then this will create the same pattern in the media with one holding, one of which is news replication.

It may take a big effort, but I still hope that this research can encourage the media to pave the way in dark times so that the House of Representatives will immediately ratify the Domestic Workers’ Protection Bill.

(Photo/illustration: Freepik)

Osi NF

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