Category: Analysis

Indonesian authorities have silenced discussion of the 1965 massacre at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. Coordinators of the cancelled programs, Associate Professor Kate McGregor and Dr Jemma Purdey, question why discussion of 1965 is now considered a threat to security. Image by Andrew Dyson.

The Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF) was forced on Friday to cancel planned sessions on the 1965 massacre following pressure from local authorities. Dr Ken Setiawan, whose father was imprisoned on Buru Island by the Soeharto regime, reflects on this extraordinary crackdown on freedom of expression.

Indonesian diplomats have been encouraged to promote the country’s exports and attract more foreign investment. But as Awidya Santikajaya writes, unless trade liberalisation is also part of the discussion, their efforts will not come to much.

The thick haze choking much of Sumatra and Kalimantan and the recent murder of environmental activist Salim Kancil have come to define the environmental record of President Joko Widodo’s administration. Josi Khatarina looks back at a year of disappointing progress.

President Joko Widodo came to power one year ago with promises to combat impunity for past human rights violations, safeguard freedom of religion and improve welfare in Papua. Has the president met any of these pledges? Former LBH Jakarta director Nurkholis Hidayat takes a look at Jokowi’s human rights record.

Next Tuesday will mark one year since President Joko Widodo assumed office. What have we learned about him as a leader during his first year in power? Dr Dave McRae explores this issue and more with PhD candidate Wawan Mas’udi in Talking Indonesia.

Cervical cancer is the second most frequent cancer among Indonesian women but low cost cervical cancer screening is only available in eight of Indonesia’s 34 provinces. Dr Linda Rae Bennett reports on a new collaboration that hopes to lay the groundwork for developing a free vaccination program for human papillomavirus, an established cause of cervical cancer.

Much of Kalimantan and Sumatra remains blanketed in a thick haze from agricultural fires, leading to respiratory illnesses and infuriating Indonesia’s Southeast Asian neighbours. Tessa Toumbourou writes that strengthening land governance is vital to avoiding future burning seasons.

Poor economic policy outcomes in Indonesia are often blamed on “vested interests” – elites who enjoy privileged access to political parties and government officials. But as Matthew Busch argues, this explanation tells only part of the story.

What are the prospects for abolition or reduction in the use of the death penalty in the remainder of President Joko Widodo’s time in office? Dr Dave McRae explores these issues with Bali Nine lawyer Professor Todung Mulya Lubis in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

Fifty years after the beginning of the 1965 violence, many children and grandchildren of those targeted also continue to feel its impact. Dr Kate McGregor examines two cultural memory projects that involve collaboration across generations and aim to crack the resilience of anti-communist versions of history.

Wednesday will mark 50 years since the events that triggered the brutal repression of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its alleged sympathisers. Ken Setiawan writes that while political elites appear to be able to stomach the idea of reconciliation, an apology is far more contested.