Southeast Asian Press Coverage of Terrorism and the Bali Bombing


  • Sonia Ambrosio De Nelson National University of Singapore



Terrorism, Bali, Press


The war against terrorism is being carried out not only in Afghanistan where it was first declared but also in the media around the world. Southeast Asia became a focus of international attention after the U.S. administration identified the region as the second front in the fight against terrorism following the attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001. The perception that the region is a cradle for terrorism was reinforced by the Bali bombing in October 2002. The event was the first major terrorist attack after 11 September, and the worst act of violence against foreigners in Indonesia, a country that has been under continuous international pressure to be decisive in the fight against terrorism. Although the media can function as the source of people's information, it can provide interpretations of the social construction of ideas and images. Like the media in all parts of the world, the media in Southeast Asia function within some form of governmental, societal, and economic constraints. Journalists are encouraged to support their governments' efforts to develop the nation and instil a sense of national identity. In such a setting journalists, consciously or not, end up not only reflecting but also spreading the dominant view of the society's elite. This transnational comparative study involving three mainstream English-language newspapers from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore examines the reportage of the Bali bombing.