Rethinking Censorship in Indonesia

Media Clippings

This article mentions Ahmad Tohari Ayu Utami Eliza Vitri Handayani Goenawan Mohamad Laksmi Pamuntjak Leila S. Chudori Pramoedya Ananta Toer Rendra, W. S. Seno Gumira Ajidarma Wiji Thukul
Written by Tiffany Tsao
Originally published in Sydney Review of Books.
Nov 06, 2015

When censorship reared its ugly head at this year’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, it caught everyone off guard. ‘Surprising’ and ‘a new code of behaviour’ were how festival founder and director Janet DeNeefe phrased the pressure from the Balinese police to cancel events about the 1965 communist purges. ‘I had not imagined,’ wrote Vannessa Hearman—historian and moderator for one of the cancelled sessions—‘after 17 years of democratic rule in Indonesia, and a year after the euphoric celebration of President Joko Widodo’s election, that the government would resort to crude tactics of silencing those speaking about the massacres in front of an international audience.’ Other reports and opinion pieces on the incident expressed similar astonishment, calling the suppression ‘unexpected’, ‘deeply shocking’ and ‘a huge step backwards’, and a disturbing throwback to the repressive Suharto regime.

Read the full article here.