Students protesting against the draft revised criminal code (RKUHP) on 28 June 2022. Photo by M Risyal Hidayat for Antara.

Indonesia at Melbourne will be taking a short break over the New Year period. In our final post for the year, we present the most popular articles and Talking Indonesia episodes of 2022 – plus a few more of our favourites.

While Covid-19 remained a constant presence in our lives throughout 2022, the biggest stories on the blog and podcast this year related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Indonesia’s presidency of the G20, police impunity in the wake of the shocking Kanjuruhan tragedy and ongoing concerns about Indonesia’s democratic decline, underscored most recently in the passage of a flawed and regressive Criminal Code (KUHP).

Thanks to our wonderful contributors, who make the site what it is. Thank you to our readers, too, for your continued support. We look forward to seeing you again in 2023.

Indonesia at Melbourne

Why do so many Indonesians back Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

In our most popular post for 2022 – one that influenced global reporting on Indonesia – Radityo Dharmaputra examined why so many Indonesians online appeared to support Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Noodle diplomacy: the G20 and the politics of instant noodles

What does Indomie have to do with the G20 Summit? In the second-most read piece for 2022, Elna Tulus used the example of instant noodles to demonstrate the interconnectedness of the economies of the G20 countries.


Citayam Fashion Week: the class divide and the city

In mid-2022, Indonesians were captivated as young people from the outskirts of Jakarta gathered in Central Jakarta for an impromptu DIY fashion show dubbed Citayam Fashion Week. In the third-most viewed post of 2022, Asri Saraswati wrote that while the fashions were fun, the phenomenon exposed some of the deep class problems confronting Jakarta and the people who live in it.

Indonesia without Luhut Pandjaitan

Greenpeace Indonesia’s Tata Mustasya looked at the extent of Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan’s interests in coal mining – a sector he is also responsible for overseeing.


Strange bedfellows: why do far-right leaders support Indonesia’s promotion of ‘moderate Islam’?

Ahmad Rizky M Umar revealed that Indonesia’s promotion of “moderate Islam” and “Islam Nusantara” has received some unlikely backing from prominent global far right figures, including Indian politician Ram Madhav and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.


Indonesia is surviving the Omicron wave. But is it really time to remove mask rules?

Indonesia handled the Omicron wave much better than it did the Delta wave in 2021. But in March, Tiara Marthias and Likke Prawidya Putri warned against complacency, and urged Indonesians not to give up on masking and social distancing just yet.


Megawati’s ‘joke’ exposes the classist and racist views of the political elite

Former President Megawati Soejarnoputri was widely criticised for comments she made about West Papuans and meatball soup sellers. Tamara Soukotta wrote a scathing piece, stating that Megawati’s offhand comments exposed how the elite really feels about Papuans and working-class Indonesians.


The end of police reform

In the wake of the horrific Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster, Jacqui Baker examined what recent scandals in the police can reveal about the nature of police power, and the kinds of political contestations occurring within the police institution ahead of the 2024 elections.

Police firing tear gas at supporters at Kanjuruhan Stadium on 1 October. Photo by Ari Bowo Sucipto for Antara.

The new Criminal Code: authoritarianism disguised as decolonisation

The government might have claimed that the new Criminal Code (KUHP) “decolonises” Indonesia’s criminal justice system, but Airlangga Pribadi Kusman wrote that the KUHP in fact reintroduced the kinds of authoritarian provisions that were a central element of Dutch colonialism.


Indonesia finally has a law to protect victims of sexual violence. But the struggle is not over yet.

In one of the few bright spots for 2022, Indonesia passed a long-awaited Law on Sexual Violence. Tunggal Pawestri and blog editor Tim Mann looked at the key elements of the new law, and the challenges that await in its implementation.


2024 election shaping up as a four-horse race, as elite manoeuvring intensifies

The 2024 election is still more than a year away. Alexander R Arifianto examined the main contenders to run in the race to replace President Joko Widodo in 2024.


Democracy won’t be making the move to Indonesia’s new capital

Wasisto Raharjo Jati and Athiqah Nur Alami wrote about one issue that has yet to receive much attention in discussions on Indonesia’s controversial new capital city – residents in the city will not be able to vote for their own local government.


Indonesian oligarchs are defending their wealth at the cost of democracy

Early in the year, several ministers and political party figures publicly advocated for President Joko Widodo to extend his time in office beyond his constitutionally mandated two-term limit. Yassar Aulia wrote that these calls really came down to oligarchs wanting to maintain the benefits they have enjoyed during his presidency.

Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan and President Joko Widodo. Photo by Antara/OOC 2018/Prasetia Fauzani.

Talking Indonesia

Associate Professor Ika Idris – Digital literacy and misinformation

How big a problem is misinformation and disinformation in Indonesia? Is the government helping or hindering efforts to tackle the problem? Tito Ambyo spoke to Associate Professor Ika Idris in the most popular episode of Talking Indonesia for 2022.


Dr Amalinda Savirani – Progressive politics

What does it mean to be “progressive” in an Indonesian context? What does the experience of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI) in 2019 reveal about support for progressive politics in the country? Dr Dave McRae spoke to Universitas Gadjah Mada academic Dr Amalinda Savirani in the second most-popular episode of Talking Indonesia for this year.

Indonesian hip-hop band Mukarakat performing in South Jakarta in 2019. Photo by William Yanko.

William Yanko – Hip-hop

How do Indonesian hip-hop artists tackle social and political issues in their music? How do issues of ethnicity, sexism and masculinity influence hip-hop lyrics? Tito Ambyo explored these questions and more with PhD candidate William Yanko.


Dr Dicky Budiman – Managing the Omicron wave

As the Omicron wave peaked in Indonesia in early 2022, Dr Jemma Purdey chatted to Dr Dicky Budiman about how Indonesia’s health systems were coping. What lessons were learned from the Delta wave in mid-2021? Did vaccinations help to prevent a more serious outbreak?


Dr Jess Melvin and Dr Annie Pohlman – Aceh’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Dr Jacqui Baker spoke to Dr Jess Melvin and Dr Annie Pohlman about the landmark report of the Aceh Truth and Reconciliation Commission, developed from the testimonies of more than 5,000 victims of rights abuses in the province. What impact will the report have on Acehnese politics and society, and Indonesia more broadly?

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