1st Edition

Journalism and Politics in Indonesia
A Critical Biography of Mochtar Lubis (1922-2004) as Editor and Author

ISBN 9780415666848
Published June 10, 2011 by Routledge
288 Pages 12 B/W Illustrations

USD $62.95

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Book Description

Mochtar Lubis was one of Indonesia’s best-known newspaper editors, authors and cultural figures, with a national, regional and international prominence that he retained from the early 1950s until his recent death in 2004. This book traces the major events in the life of Mochtar Lubis, which is also a prism through which much of Indonesia’s post-independence history can be interpreted.  This book is also the story of Indonesia in the second half of the twentieth century, when the people of the archipelago became an independent nation, and when print media and the influential figures who controlled and produced newspapers, played a pivotal role in national political, educational and cultural life, defining Indonesia. Editors with strong personalities dominated the industry and sparred with the nation’s leadership; Lubis was a vocal critic of the abuse of power and a thorn in the side of the country’s first two presidents, becoming synonymous with combative journalism. Under both Sukarno and Suharto, Lubis had his newspaper closed down and was imprisoned. As the only comprehensive biography of this towering figure, the book provides a unique insight into the history and development of media, literature and the political system in Indonesia.

Table of Contents

Part I: Early Life  1. Introduction  2. Bureaucrat’s Son to Nationalist Intellectual  Part II: The Sukarno Period  3. The ‘Press of Political Struggle’: The first Indonesia Raya  4. ‘Speaking to the World’: Author and Cultural Figure  Part III: The Suharto Period  5. The ‘Golden Boy of the New Order’: Indonesia Raya Re-Established  6. Cultural Broker under the New Order  Part IV: Denouement  7. The Editor after Indonesia Raya  8. Conclusion: A Life Recalled  Postscript: The Objectification of Mochtar Lubis 

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David T. Hill is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies and Fellow of the Asia Research Centre on Social, Political and Economic Change at Murdoch University, Western Australia. His publications include The Press in New Order Indonesia, and (co-authored with Krishna Sen) The Internet in Indonesia’s New Democracy (published by Routledge) and Media, Culture and Politics in Indonesia.


"Hill's book is important for a number of reasons.  First, its subject is a phenomenal figure who looms large not only in Indonesian media but also in Indonesian politics.  Second, Hill has done a great job as an academic writer.  Third, this book is also important because it sets a context for Lubis' struggle [... ] Hill is successful in producing a richly nuanced account of Lubis and the events that shaped life of the famed journalist." - Her Suheryanto, review in The Jakarta Post, Sunday, April 04, 2010