Should We Embrace or Escape from TV Programs?

Sometimes we wish to escape reality, and television is one way for you to achieve it.

Before cinemas or other recreational activity came along, television help shaping our view on things. Be it political, life style, or even gossip. For some, television is the bearer of news while others thought of it as the box producing background noises in the living room. Perhaps it has crossed our mind to mirror our desire onto television, I know I have. Though, we know better that it is an illusion and a tool for mass destruction, even. The latter though, occurs when television is not utilized properly.

In recent times, people (Indonesians at least), drifted online to watch films and shifted to cable network to find news. Both better for children and more reliable for adults. Contents responsible for both. Its contents determine telly’s quality and how it form society’s line of thoughts. In return, people behind television networks stares back at society and take bits of things to project into the telly.

Time is relative when you go online. Due to our constant exposure to the internet, we are easily influenced by our choice of programs to watch. Western part of the world have done it since 1940s and now we can access it through YouTube. Hell, you can even find hijab tutorials in there as well. USA have developed programs long enough for generations to accustomed to especially at night like Tonight Shows, Late Night Shows, etc.

It’s really ideal, yes. If you live in America.

In Indonesia? We watch Turkish or Indian soap operas, sometimes even local soap operas about a porridge vendor going for a hajj. There are also television programs tailored to appeal the viewers’ sympathy, by showing how difficult it is to live in Jakarta. Some network televises foreign movies with dubbing or subtitles.

Those are the shows dominated the nightly time of television today, as I have looked the ratings and shares of television programs from 20th – 26th of March this year.

These preferences didn’t appear overnight. In 2009, New York Times have compiled that Indonesians embraced American-styled reality television. Reality show have been around for a couple of years, but it dominated around 2008 according to AGB Nielsen Media Research. Nielsen tracked 11 Indonesian national station and 10 local stations. They scored high on all social and economic categories, especially around affluent viewers  in the city.

Head of Central KPI, Judhariksawan alongside president Joko Widodo when met with head of mass media, explicitly stated few important note to the head of state regarding qualities of television programs. Judha point out that rating has been the hub of quality television. A network would keep a show producing high ratings despite its quality and/or effect on society.

Many complaints filed in to KPI’s website displays the inability of television networks to produce programs that contain Indonesians’ culture and value, and instead play upon pop culture and current celebrity issue. No longer is television about desire, it drowns us out in the sea of irrelevance.

If we are to focus on one Indonesian aspect of togetherness, maybe those programs can be a ground for little talks or conversation. But really, watching it for inspiration? Good luck with that.

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Though before we dwell in further, we have to know what it is that makes a show unappealingly bad, quality-wise. KPI said that we as a viewer have to be able to segregate it out by forming the Broadcasting and Program Code of Conduct (P3SPS). And that is resulted in this: the record of KPI ever making a complaint started in 2012, and ever since there has been at least 10000 complaints made towards television shows and news programs. We can access all of that online.

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Look, we know there are some terrible shows out there but we can’t actually ask its owners to make something else in a blink of an eye. They have done this for so long until we are used to it showing on our telly. Even some of us can make out an agenda out of a show, but we can’t be up against its effects. Indonesians have been exposed to how televisions can be utilized for political gain during the elections a few years back, and it’s rough for most owners actually running for candidacy.

We don’t have to get rough (without doing anything) on these television networks. For over three decades of Suharto’s dictatorship, private television stations had to follow the rules owned by nation’s military sector. Other than news, there are hardly any original shows/content; airtime filled only with American shows such as MacGyver and The Golden Girls. We don’t have the freedom to produce television shows until 1998, and after 18 years of watching tv, few networks crossed the line made by KPI. Other than that, we gobbled up those shows down our throat.

It depends on our preference and desires in watching the telly for there is no tv shows that’s perfect. Besides, not all shows/programs last and people will move on from one hype to another. The term bad program/show is becoming something less subjective after P3SPS, so the television network can’t blatantly ignore it.

Although, watching TV in Indonesia right now require some more insights, and by then we can decide whether to embrace or escape them.

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One thought on “Should We Embrace or Escape from TV Programs?

  • January 17, 2017 at 6:07 am
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