One person was killed and 16 others injured when police opened fire on a group of Papuan protesters last month. Hipolitus Yolisandry Ringgi Wangge writes that the shooting highlights the Joko Widodo government’s misguided and poorly coordinated approach to issues in Papua.

President Joko Widodo stunned many observers recently when he appeared to give the go-ahead for police to shoot drug dealers who resist arrest. Dr Dave McRae has examined media reports of police shootings and has found that the government’s tough on drugs rhetoric may be affecting how police deal with these cases.

Following the shocking acid attack on Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan, Professor Denny Indrayana looks at previous attempts to weaken the institution and its staff, and what must be done to ensure that it remains strong.

Dr Budi Hernawan has analysed 431 cases of torture that occurred in Papua between 1963 and 2010. He writes that although torture is generally considered a hidden crime, in Papua it is performed for an audience, sometimes spectacularly, and is designed to convey a message of terror from state authorities to the Papuan public. It is part of a larger strategy of domination by the Indonesian state, he says, in which the practice of torture is sanctioned and part of policy.

How widespread is corruption within the Indonesian police? What power do illicit funds afford the institution? And what are the prospects for reform under President Joko Widodo and new Indonesian Police Chief Tito Karnavian? In Talking Indonesia this week, Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues and more with Dr Jacqui Baker, from Murdoch University.

After the deadly terrorist attack in Jakarta on 14 January, a range of senior officials have agreed on the need to strengthen Indonesia’s counter-terrorism laws. But as Bhatara Ibnu Reza writes, the history of security sector reform in the country shows that reform should be approached with extreme caution.

The release of a police circular on the management of hate speech has sparked fears in some quarters of a return to the restrictions on freedom of expression seen under the New Order. But as Irfan Abubakar writes, if implemented as intended, it could help to prevent religious conflict.