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Jakarta Post

Indonesia’s polarized press before the 1965 putsch

  • Warief Djajanto Basorie


Jakarta   /   Wed, September 30 2020   /  01:00 am
A man cleans up lawn at the the Pancasila Sakti (Sacred Pancasila) monument complex in Lubang Buaya, East Jakarta, in this Sept. 28, 2013 photo.(The Jakarta Post/P.J. Leo)

“BPS=Sukarnoism to kill Sukarnoism and Sukarno”. The castigating line in English appeared on the electronic board of the Senayan Indoor Stadium in Jakarta Feb. 23, 1965. The event was the 19th anniversary of the Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI). Its commemoration was the prelude to the failed putsch attempt later in the year of the Sept. 30 movement blamed on the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). At issue in the Senayan gathering was the clash in ideology between non-communist newspapers and communist-oriented dailies that painted the political landscape in Indonesia from 1964 to 1965, the latter years of the Sukarno presidency. A formidable PKI and a fervently non-communist Indonesian Army were the two power camps competing to exert their influence and gain the favor of Sukarno, the country’s president since he proclaimed Indonesia’s independence...