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Seminar | Press freedom and law under the changing political climate in Indonesia (2014-2024) | Herlambang Wiratraman

June 5 @ 14:30 - 16:00

There were high hopes that democracy, as well as press freedom, would be stronger and protected in the early days of Jokowi’s administration 10 years ago, when Herlambang defended his thesis in Leiden on this topic. In this seminar he will reflect on changes during the last decade, explaining whether he had to reconsider some of his dissertation conclusions.

Press freedom in Indonesia has declined, not only because of the legal pressure on journalists and media owners, but also the impact of digital technology developments. Meanwhile, in the second half of Jokowi’s administration political tendencies driven by oligarchic power interests have weakened civil liberties, expression, including press freedom. The latest controversy concerns the draft of the 2024 broadcasting law which proposes censorship against investigative journalism. In this context, it is necessary to see critically how the political and legal pressures have occurred throughout Jokowi’s administration, including how the judiciary protects press freedom. Is there a progressive opportunity to advance press freedom in the recent political climate that – as many social scientists argue- takes an authoritarian turn? The discussion will elaborate to what extent press freedom has been guaranteed by the Indonesian legal system and shaped by various actors, and how such dynamics affect Indonesia’s rule of law.


Herlambang Wiratraman is an associate professor at the Constitutional Law Department and also Chair of Research Center for Law and Social Justice (LSJ), Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) in Indonesia. He earned his PhD degree at Leiden Law School on ”Press Freedom, Law and Politics in Indonesia: A Socio Legal Study (2014)”. Currently, he is a visiting researcher as part of the Erasmus+ICM Programme in cooperation between VVI Leiden Law School and UGM Law (2024). His latest research projects are related to ‘free expression, the rise of authoritarianism and autocratic legalism in Southeast Asian context.’ Herlambang is the recipient of the 2018 Yamin Award on Constitutional Law Studies and the 2022 Tasrif Award for Freedom of Expression and the Press.


Adriaan Bedner is Professor of Law and Society in Indonesia at the Van Vollenhoven Institute for Law, Governance and Society. He is also Head of Department of the Van Vollenhoven Institute (VVI) and honorary fellow of the KITLV.


This is a joint VVI and KITLV seminar.

Format, venue, date & time

This seminar is a hybrid event and will be held in room B0.31 in the Kamerlingh Onnes Building (KOG), Leiden University and online via Zoom, on Wednesday 5 June  from 14.30 – 16.00 PM (CET).


Please register if you want to join this seminar on location or online: [email protected]


Journalists demonstration to protest new Broadcasting Bill in Surabaya, 28 May 2024. Photographer: Kukuh S Wibowo (Tempo).



June 5
14:30 - 16:00
Event Category:




Room B0.31, Kamerlingh Onnes Building (KOG), Leiden University
Leiden, + Google Map
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