Political transition of post Soeharto's authoritarian regime has been deeply influenced by a decentralised model of governance, which affected to more serious attacks to the journalism. The extra-judicial killing, physical violence, criminalising against journalism, and other attacks through formal judicial process or other forms, included impunity system, have shown uneasy situation for journalist at field or members of the press to perform journalistic works. Violence against journalists in decentralised Indonesia has been more influenced by the role of political-economy contestation at the local level, rather than the influence of situation and policies at national level. 


The law enforcement to protect journalist at works has been easily deniable and disregarded due to the law system itself that does not give significance effect. The court has been used to collapsing media, silencing opposition, retaliating, and terrorising journalism. The research shows that the most targeted medias for ULAP (unjustifiable lawsuits against press) or criminalisation have been connected to its reliability, professional journalism or high quality of news. On the other side, impunity has prevailed and become a dominant situation that is not merely caused by ‘external media’, but also showed an ‘internal media’ factors. Avoiding the judiciary becomes phenomena that does not always relate to distrust over the judicial system, but more on a ‘forced situation’. The presentation would show how such situation articulates a new configuration of political imperium which combines of free press and dominant ownership over media, plus illiberal democracy which legally allows and lets predatory system to be supreme class in the governance and other state institutions. 


Keywords: free press, professional journalism, ULAP, impunity, avoiding the judiciary




* Abstract for Seminar at Faculty of Arts, University of Melbourne, August 2017


The journal version can be downloaded at


Legal Reforms for Improving the Freedom of the Press in Indonesia, 

Journal of Southeast Asian Human Rights, Vol. 1 No. 1 June 2017. pp. 80-108
©University of Jember & Indonesian Consortium for Human Rights Lecturers




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