Hegemony of Violence. "Power Politics and the Indonesian Military" by Damien Kingsbury and "Politics and the Press in Indonesia: Understanding an Evolving Political Culture" by Angela Romano. [review]
Damien Kingsbury witnessed the 1999 violence in East Timor as a UN observer, and uses the experience of being confronted with the Indonesian military’s campaign of violence there to introduce what is the most frank assessment of the Indonesian military we are likely to see outside of confidential intelligence reports. The fact that Kingsbury has experienced the fear the Indonesian military instils in places like Aceh and Ambon makes this analysis of the role of the military there so important. Romano uses her surveys of journalists in Java between 1996 and 1998 as the basis for her book on Indonesian journalism. Romano examines the culture of the ‘envelope’, one of the problems that has thrived after the collapse of the New Order. Reading the restrictions placed on journalists in the Suharto era, followed by the relatively liberal Habibie and Wahid eras, one can’t help but be struck by how press freedom has regressed under Megawati — back to the values encompassed in the Pancasila press and promoted by the military.