Sunday, November 02, 2003
Elegant Campaign Through Media
Bisnis Indonesia 11/02/2003
There are interesting phenomenons in campaign (more precisely stealing the start of campaign) of presidential candidates approaching 2004 general election. One of these is the utilization of mass media as instrument to deliver vision and mission to public.
Surya Paloh, for example. Coincidentally, he is the owner of Metro TV. Thus, the Medan born man who thrust forward as president hopeful in Golkar Party’s convention is able to optimize the expose of his various activities through Metro TV.
Surya’s rival in the same convention, Wiranto, chooses printed media. The figure who has published a bulletin with topic ‘Good Morning’, has planned to establish a newspaper ‘Nasional’.
Meanwhile, Amien Rais – one of the figures who oftenly seen as representation of Islamic group, used Ramadhan as momentum by being the reference of a program broadcasted by Trans TV.
While Megawati Soekarnoputri has indirectly scores credit point, after SCTV aired exclusive interview conducted by Rosiana Silalahi with George W Bush some time a go. In the interview, which took 15 minutes, Bush praised Mega’s policy in fighting terrorism.
In this situation, a mutualism symbiosis emerges, where Bush is able to dictate his foreign policy to Mega; and oppositely, Mega also gains international recognition through Bush’s statement.
From this point, it’s evident there’s tendency of presidential candidates to optimize the roles of Public Relations (PR) and media. These methods are simultaneously will propel credibility and reputation of the candidate. Public sympathy could be nurtured unintentionally. Campaign in disguise through media will also minimize the emergence of rough politic manoeuvres – as often occurred in street campaign.
Street campaign – with charade of motorbikes and posters in various public places – which was prime choice in the past general elections, not only destroy the environment but also degrading the positioning of the presidential hopeful.
The impression on this particular model of campaign – pardon – too hooliganism. Then what could be expected from this type of campaign to attract sympathy? Remember, the people have been fed up with hooliganism style of government, which has gained upper hand lately. The people wish for peaceful campaign with high content, which expected to deliver a qualified leader.
More, campaign by motorbikes charade oftenly led to physical conflict, which bring fear to people. In the bigger scale, this type of campaign will become a boomerang because the president candidate will be perceived as the source of disorder.
With the strength of media and PR, the current presidential candidates not only able to inform their activities; but also create public opinions by displaying their cares to public. The method is by studying public’s taste first, then expose it through media.
In PR’s perspective, this scenario is implementation of strategy to identify the issue before seeking for the solution. Here, though PR and media, the presidential candidate is expected to be smart to create value by nurturing an intimate relationships with his/her constituents.
Such relationship will be emotionally bring the presidential hopeful closer to his/her potential voters. This will be useful if the coming 2004 general election will choose a person not a mere ‘symbol in picture’.
In the United States and western countries, campaign program – both in presidential election, major election or other public officers – always utilize PR and media to support their effectivities. Indonesia, which starts to adopt modern general election conduct, should involve PR and media roles to guard its qualities.
PR and media will ease the presidential hopeful to monitor key figures and positions, which would be able to optimize the achievement of certain objectives. Surely, the objectives meant here are what expected by the people in the presidential hopeful.
Hence, one thing that should be remembered by these presidential candidates is that the positive image will not be sustainable if only depending on the adeptness in communication alone. Public opinion, which developed through media, still could be destroyed if not followed by good performance from the presidential candidate.
Imagine, what’s the meaning of Surya Paloh’s thundering speech, if public have the knowledge that the figure put his interests before that of public. What’s the meaning of Bush’ praise to Megawati if in the fact, we perceive Megawati’s role is more of easily dictated figure rather than a character as symbol in fighting repression of New Order. What’s the meaning, if Amien Rais’ Ramadhan insight is not followed by good conduct of his party’s cadres which easily brushed with various shameful scandals. Then, for what purpose Wiranto spends billion Rupiahs fund to polish his image through National newspaper, if judicially he cannot avoid the fact that he is one of the loyalists of New Order and Cendana family – an icon which deemed to be erased of its existence in public’s political dictionary.
Another matter, which is very important for the presidential candidates, is their commitment to not to involved in money politics. Such strategy will be in vain, because voters today are more educated. Thus the choice will not be easily swayed by a sack of money. If this is forced, it will not be impossible that it will receive public outcries.
Thus, please compete in the election stage elegantly and fairly. This is the right way in implementing the philosophy of democracy.
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