Anatomy of Press Censorship in Indonesia

The Case of Jakarta, Jakarta and the Dili Massacre

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Jakarta, Jakarta, better known as JJ, is a weekly magazine which its editors like to think of as Indonesia's answer to Paris-Match and its reporters treat as something more akin to New York's Village Voice. A brash, colorful, trendy magazine, JJ has been consistently on the limits of what Indonesian authorities regard as acceptable journalism. It was completely in character, therefore, that after the massacre in Dili on November 12, JJ sent two reporters off to East Timor to see what they could find out, and the two came back with some of the most graphic eyewitness accounts available. The results appeared in the issue No. 288, January 4-10, 1992. By the end of January, three editors had been sacked, a result of veiled warnings from the military and what appears to have been an effort by the publisher to pre-empt more drastic action. Asia Watch has obtained documents which offer a fascinating insight into how the case developed and how press censorship works in Indonesia.

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