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Eko Harry Susanto and Silviana Dharma Zhang

Abstract

In Indonesia, there are three preconditions for a successful marriage: being of legal age for marriage; parental approval, especially from the father; and religious and ethnic compatibility. The Indonesian Marriage Law provides that “a marriage is legitimate, if it has been performed according to the laws of the respective religions and beliefs of the parties concerned”. This clause indirectly prohibits inter-religious or interfaith marriage. Therefore, every religion in Indonesia encourages it followers to marry someone of the same religious faith. This research examines the issue of interfaith marriage as reported by Indonesia’s cyber media. Case studies are presented to explain why different media institutions have differing stances on the issue. Using a qualitative approach, the research uses the analytical data technique of Norman Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis. The authors analyzed three cyber media, Republika Online, Kompas.com, and Sinarharapan.co from September to December 2014. One key aim was to discover which media have the tendency to support diversity, discourse practice, and sociocultural practice. Results indicated that Islam-oriented media, such as Republika Online, tend to reject the movement for the legalization of interfaith marriage, as interfaith marriage is banned by Islamic shari’ law. Secular online media, such as Kompas.com with an independent ethos of transcendental humanism, lean toward support for rights and legal certainty for interfaith spouses. Meanwhile, Christian-oriented Sinarharapan.co tended to neglect the issue, as if deeming it irrelevant to its readership.