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Press freedom, law and politics in Indonesia

Press freedom in Indonesia is still under pressure, despite the demise of Soeharto’s regime in 1998

Herlambang Wiratraman
11 December 2014
Leiden University Repository

The political transition of ‘Reformasi’ has promoted a decentralised model of governance, which has led to new types of attacks on the press. Extra-judicial killings, physicalviolence, bringing criminal or civil claims against journalists and impunity of those perpetrating such acts have made it difficult for many journalists to conduct their work in a proper manner and without fear.

This study aims to present a comprehensive overview of how press laws and court cases involving the press have influenced press freedom in Indonesia. Adopting a socio-legal approach it looks at the history of press laws, their implementation through government institutions and courts, and the debate concerning these laws and their implementation. Four key researchquestions serve as the point of departure:

  1. how has the concept of freedom of expression and press freedom evolved in Indonesian law?
  2. how has press freedom as one of the main pillars of constitutional democracy been guaranteed by the Indonesian legal system?
  3. how has press freedom been shaped by various actors?
  4. do these dynamics reflect the rule of law?

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