Dr. Ika Idris and Her Committee Member Dr. Drew McDaniel
Dr. Ika Idris and Her Committee Member Dr. Drew McDaniel

(Report by Bowen Gao. Photos by Elizarni and Prima Naomi.)

Athens, OH – On November 2, one of our active SMART Lab graduate student members, Ika Idris, successfully defended her dissertation entitled The Illusion of a Public Sphere: The Indonesian Government Communication on Social Media and obtain her PhD.

According Dr. Idris, the purpose of her study was to analyze whether the Indonesian government uses social media to establish a dialogue with its public and to participate in a new public sphere facilitated by the Internet. A mixed-method approach of social network analysis (SNA), a survey, and focus group discussions were used to examine the Indonesian government communication model performed on social media, based on the symmetrical communication theory of public relations.

She found that the advanced communication technology was mainly used to serve the Indonesian government’s interests in dominating conversation, forming public opinion, and countering criticisms on social media. Hence, the new public sphere, facilitated by the Internet, could be considered as just an illusion created by the Indonesian government via their policies and regulation to be actively using social media as public communication channels.

The dissertation committee and audience at Dr. Idris’s defense were all impressed by her efforts she had put on her doctoral study and her research findings as well.

Congratulations, Dr. Ika Idris! We are looking forward to more of such success from our gradate students!

Committee Chair:
Dr. Drew McDaniel, Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies

Committee Members:
Dr. Gregory Newton, Associate Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies
Dr. Laeeq Khan, Assistant Professor, School of Media Arts and Studies
Dr. Bernhard Debatin, Professor, E.W. Scripps School of Journalism
Dr. Alec Holcombe, Assistant Professor, Department of History