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PWNU and RMI Empower Pesantrens to Master Narrative Battles in Digital Media

Rabu, 08 Mei 2024 - 07:51 | 13.21k
Discuss the increasingly critical role of pesantrens in shaping public perceptions in urban settings at the KH Bisri Syansuri Hall, PWNU East Java, on Tuesday. (Photo: RMI for TIMES Indonesia).
Discuss the increasingly critical role of pesantrens in shaping public perceptions in urban settings at the KH Bisri Syansuri Hall, PWNU East Java, on Tuesday. (Photo: RMI for TIMES Indonesia).

TIMESINDONESIA, SURABAYA – In a concerted effort to enhance the representation of pesantrens in digital and social media, the PWNU (East Java branch of Nahdlatul Ulama) together with Rabithah Ma'ahadil Islamiyah (RMI), held a focused discussion titled "Pesantren Education, Media, and the Spirituality of Urban Communities." This event, part of a series of pre-Eid meetings, was organized at the KH Bisri Syansuri Hall, PWNU East Java, on Tuesday.

The meeting saw prominent figures like KH. M. Iffatul Lathoif Zainuddin, also known as Gus Thoif, the head of RMI PWNU Jatim; Ivan Aulia Ahsan, Editor-in-Chief of NU Online; Hari Nugroho from Alvara Research; seasoned NU journalist Riadi Ngasiran; and Hakim Jayli, CEO of TV9 Nusantara, come together to discuss the increasingly critical role of pesantrens in shaping public perceptions in urban settings.

The discussion highlighted the necessity for pesantrens, traditionally centers of faith, moral, and knowledge, to adapt to the demands of a more open and critical urban society. With social media becoming a battleground for narratives, these educational institutions are encouraged to develop strategies to effectively engage in these digital platforms.

Hakim Jayli emphasized the importance of understanding and crafting narratives that accurately represent the true spirit of pesantren life, especially in countering misconceptions around issues like bullying, which is often misinterpreted by those unfamiliar with the cultural context of pesantren humor and camaraderie.

Additionally, Ivan Aulia Ahsan pointed out that pesantrens often face negative framing in the media, particularly around sensitive topics like sexual harassment and bullying. He advocated for a more proactive approach in handling such portrayals, suggesting that instead of rushing to legal actions, such as invoking the ITE Law, pesantrens should patiently clarify their positions and seek constructive resolutions.

Researcher Hari Nugroho brought attention to the evolving religious inclinations of urban communities, noting an increased preference for Islamic education and boarding at pesantrens. He urged these institutions to be more responsive and transparent in communicating with the public, to better align with the expectations of urban residents.

Gus Thoif expressed hope that through such discussions, RMI and the pesantrens would open more avenues for collaboration with media outlets like NU Online to craft narratives that highlight the virtues and educational benefits of pesantrens, ensuring they are portrayed in a positive light even when facing public scrutiny.

The event concluded with a consensus on the need for pesantrens to be more agile in their media interactions, using digital platforms not only to defend against criticism but to actively promote the profound moral and educational values they offer to society. (*)

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