Name: Indonesian newspaper "Sinar Harapan" Banned by Suharto

Date:  1985 - 1995

Location:  Asia

SubjectPolitical/Economic/Social Opinion

MediumPrint Journalism

Artist: Sinar Harapan, newspaper

Confronting Bodies: Sinar Harapan, newspaper

Date of Action: October, 1986

Specific Location: Indonesia

Description of Artwork: An article which appeared in the Indonesian newspaper "Sinar Harapan," the country's second most influential paper, revealing the government's planned abolition of a number of import monopolies.

Description of Incident: "... In October 1986, Suharto temporarily banned "Sinar Harapan" for breaking a story on the planned abolition of a number of import monopolies. The article was based on a draft Trade Ministry proposal to eliminate 44 import monopolies, including several important ones held by Suharto's relatives. While "Sinar Harapan" did not directly mention the Suharto clan, 'they put the problem right in the president's living room,' a Western diplomat said. Suharto apparently had not seen the draft proposal, and his reaction to its appearance in "Sinar Harapan" effectively communicated his feelings about the plan. About two weeks after "Sinar Harapano's" banning, the government announced the abolition of 165 import monopolies-but not those controlled by the Suharto family, such as steel, plastics and milk. And in a surprise move, Suharto family members Bambang and Sudwikatmono made offers to buy the paper-an offer that was not pursued apparently because Suharto's advisors convinced him that a buyout would hurt his international image... "

Results of Incident: "... "Sinar Harapan" reappeared in February, 1987 as a new paper, "Suara Pembaruan," but with a different publisher, editor-in chief and business manager, and with the strongest Suharto critics no longer on the editorial board... "

Source: A Fund for Free Expression Report, "Off Limits and Corruption", July 1991, pg. 30

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