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Politics always comes to us mediated, transformed, and interpreted through the mass media. It is not unusual that the media should be partisan.
Under the New Order, 'reading between the lines' was an essential skill to understand anything approximating reality as most people saw it. This skill is even more necessary in the euphoria of press freedom since the fall of Suharto.
If previously the skill needed was to fill in the gaps for yourself, now you need a healthy scepticism and access to a variety of media in order to estimate what to discount and what to pay attention to.
One of the most striking aspects of the current wave of press freedom has been the growth in the number of new publications. Since Suharto's resignation, the Ministry of Information has approved almost new permits. This is in addition to the existing ones under the New Order. Much of this press explosion consists of politically oriented tabloids produced weekly, available at a cheap price and with a mass distribution network often supported by an existing daily. Such tabloids often claim to report the 'news behind the news', full of 'scenarios', conspiracy theories, sensational language, accusations and counter-accusations.
The first to appear in the early post-Suharto days was DeTak. This was in fact a reappearance, being a reincarnation of DeTik closed down by the New Order in together with Tempo and Editor. Although its circulation is now smaller than newer, cheaper and more sensational tabloids, DeTak relies on a reputation for quality journalism.