Building U.S.-Indonesia Mutual Understanding Since 1994

USINDO DC Special Open Forum, March 23, 2018 “Journalism, Creative Writing, and Free Speech in Today’s Indonesia: Progress and Challenges”

March 23, 2018 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm UTC-5


    1625 Massachusetts Avenue, NW


    Organized By


    (202) 232-1400

    Special Open Forum 

    Journalism, Creative Writing, and Free Speech

    in Today’s Indonesia: Progress and Challenges 

    Yuli Ismartono 

    Executive Director, Lontar Foundation

    Former Senior Editor, Tempo

    Friday, March 23 

    2:30 – 4:00 p.m.


    1625 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Suite 550

    Washington, D.C. 20036

    In the two decades since the end of the Soeharto era, the initial euphoria about press freedom and freedom of expression has evolved into a more complex and nuanced state of affairs. Indonesia’s mainstream journalistic media must now contend with burgeoning online and social media, some 100 television stations, 1,000 news publications, and 40,000 online news portals. These varied and robust media pose challenges in the speed of delivering the news and for accuracy in media, and they create yet another dimension for journalistic competitiveness.


    The role of investigative journalism in Indonesia is still developing. Many expect the press to be society’s watchdog to monitor government and corporate corruption. Although there have been noteworthy results through social media and some investigative journalism programs have started, classic investigative journalism still appears to have a long way to go to make a real difference.


    Another factor, according to our speaker, is that Indonesia appears to be following the trend in many other nations that many news outlets are owned by conglomerates, which play a significant role in the nation’s politics, sometimes a partisan one. This factor may also be contributing toward a return of a degree of self-censorship.


    Not surprisingly, some journalists resort to creative writing to express their views on social and political issues that would otherwise not find sufficient space in their own publications. Some have begun turning fact into fiction when seeing that reportage about past political events was effecting little change in government policies.


    Please join us on March 23 to hear about these and related issues in Indonesia today directly from former Tempo Senior editor and Executive Director of the Lontar Foundation of Jakarta Yuli Ismartono. For thirty years Lontar has been bringing Indonesian fiction, literature, and creative writing to an international audience.

    This event is open and free of charge. Please RSVP HERE or email and  as soon as possible, and not later than Thursday, March 22 at noon.

    Speaker’s Bio:

    Yuli Ismartono is a former senior editor with Tempo magazine who has now gone from fact to fiction herself as the newly-appointed executive director of Lontar, a non-profit organization that translates Indonesian books into English. She will speak about the changing journalism and literature landscape in Indonesia.