Professor of Southeast Asian Studies, David Hill, is heading to Jakarta to see two of his books launched in Indonesian translation.

Professor Hill’s biographical study of controversial Indonesian journalist and author Mochtar Lubis was published by Routledge last year, as Journalism and Politics in Indonesia. Lubis was imprisoned by Indonesia’s first two presidents, Sukarno and Suharto, who also banned his crusading newspaper, Indonesia Raya [Glorious Indonesia].

The Jakarta book launch is to coincide with Indonesia’s annual Mochtar Lubis Award for journalism – Indonesia’s equivalent of Australia’s Walkley Awards. Professor Hill has been asked to speak at the awards ceremony.

Professor Hill said: “Mochtar Lubis, who died in 2004, was one of Indonesia’s best-known newspaper editors, authors and cultural figures. My book weaves a history of the Indonesian press, and specifically that secular liberal stream which has been most influential, through the life story of this pioneering figure.

“It tells the story of Indonesia in the second half of the twentieth century, when the people of the archipelago became an independent nation and when print media and the influential figures who controlled and produced newspapers played a pivotal role in national political, educational and cultural life, defining Indonesia.

“Through their access to both policy-makers and to the public during this particularly malleable phase in the formation of Indonesian identity, they were able to influence national agendas in a way no longer open to their contemporary counterparts. It was an era when print media editors with strong personalities dominated the industry and sparred with the nation’s leadership.”

The Indonesian translation of Professor Hill’s 1994 study The Press in New Order Indonesia, which documents the history of the Indonesian press prior to, and after, the rise of President Suharto, will be launched at the same time.

Both books are being published by Yayasan Obor Indonesia, one of Indonesia’s most highly regarded quality publishers.

Professor Hill said: “For someone who studies contemporary Indonesia, it is really important to have your research accessible to Indonesian readers, to facilitate discussion and debate. So it’s a real delight when a publisher is prepared to translate and publish your work.”