Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

USINDO DC Open Forum: The Varied Journalisms of Islam: Contending Views in Muslim Southeast Asia

November 28, 2018 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm UTC+7


1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW


Organized By


(202) 232-1400

USINDO Open Forum
“The Varied Journalisms of Islam:
Contending Views in Muslim Southeast Asia”
Janet Steele
Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs and International Affairs
Director, Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication
George Washington University
Wednesday, November 28
2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
1625 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 550
Washington, D.C. 20036
What is Islamic journalism? It depends on where you stand. If you’re in Indonesia or Malaysia, journalism and Islam can have many different faces.
At Sabili, an Indonesian Islamist magazine first established as an underground publication, journalists were hired for their ability at dakwah, or Islamic propagation. They believed that the solution to the ills of modern society lies in Sharia law. However, at Tempo, the weekly Indonesian news magazine, journalists don’t talk much about Sharia. Although many are pious and see their work as a manifestation of worship, the Islam they practice has been described as cosmopolitan, progressive, and even liberal.
Does Islamic journalism require that reporters support an Islamic party as they do at Harakah newspaper in Malaysia? Or is it more important to practice the kind of substantial Islam promoted by the Indonesian newspaper Republika? What about Muslim journalists who work at secular news organizations such as the Malaysian news site Malaysiakini?
According to our speaker, Dr. Janet Steele of George Washington University, journalists at these five news organizations in one of the world’s most populous Muslim regions draw upon what are arguably universal principles of journalism, but understand and explain them through the lens of an Islamic idiom, which can vary widely depending on the organizational context. What they say about the meaning of their work suggests a richness of experience and a new insight into Islamic varieties of journalism that have been overlooked both by scholars and those engaged in international affairs.
Please join us for this fascinating talk on contending views of Islamic journalism in Southeast Asia.
Copies of Dr. Steele’s new book, “Mediating Islam Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia“, will be available for purchase.
To register, please kindly RSVP, or email to or call (202) 232-1400 no later than Tuesday, November 27 at noon to attend this Open Forum.
Speakers’ Bio:
Janet Steele is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Public Affairs, and Director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication at the George Washington University. A frequent visitor to Indonesia, she is a former Fulbrighter and the author of Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an independent magazine in Soeharto’s Indonesia. Her latest book, Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia, was published in 2018 by the University of Washington and NUS Press.