After the fall of Soeharto, Indonesia was considered a center of media freedom in Southeast Asia. Current conditions and practices in Aceh, however, are fast dispelling this reputation. The policies that have been enacted during the war in Aceh are eroding precious gains made during the past few years.
This not only has implications for reporting of the war in Aceh, but also for media freedom in Indonesia as a whole. The violations described in this report have a combined effect that undermines the development of a free, objective, and professional media in Indonesia. The most direct effects are on journalists who are attacked or intimidated. The increasing number of foreign correspondents who choose not to cover the war in Aceh is also a visible consequence. The broader impact on the Indonesian press corps who have remained in Aceh, at the price of having learned to censor themselves, is harder to measure, but can be expected to have serious long-term consequences for press freedom in Indonesia.