Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia

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by Janet Steele

Read a sample chapter from the book here.

What is Islamic journalism? This study examines day-to-day journalism as practiced by Muslim professionals at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia. 

At Sabili, established as an underground publication, journalists are hired for their ability at dakwah, or Islamic propagation. At Tempo, a news magazine banned during the Soeharto regime, the journalists do not talk much about sharia law; although many are pious and see their work as a manifestation of worship, the Islam they practice is often viewed as progressive or even liberal. At Harakah reporters support an Islamic political party, while at Republika they practice a "journalism of the Prophet." Secular news organizations, too, such as Malaysiakini, employ Muslim journalists. Janet Steele explores how these various publications observe universal principles of journalism and do so through an Islamic idiom.

“a refreshing tour de force of qualitative research, grounded in years of in-depth interviews and participant observation at five influential print publications. The author approaches her topic steeped in cultural and linguistic fluency... an extremely important book that sets new standards for qualitative research on the internal workings of newsrooms, and the world views that prevail there.“
- Duncan McCargo, Columbia University

“Simultaneously intimate and sweeping in its scope, Mediating Islam provides us with portraits of a range of Muslim journalists, from conservative scripturalists to pluralist cosmopolitans. The result is a must-read book, not just for scholars of journalism, but for anyone interested in media, democracy, and religion in modern Southeast Asia and the broader Muslim world.”Robert W. Hefner, Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University

Janet Steele is associate professor of media and public affairs and international affairs at George Washington University. She is the author of Email dari Amerika [Email from America] and Wars Within: The Story of Tempo, an Independent Magazine in Soeharto's Indonesia.

Publication Year: 2018
184 pages, 229mm x 152mm 
13 b/w images
ISBN: 978-981-4722-88-9

NUS Press