Censorship in Colonial Indonesia, 1901-1942


In Censorship in Colonial Indonesia, 1901–1942 Nobuto Yamamoto examines the institutionalization of censorship and its symbiosis with print culture in the former Dutch colony. Born from the liberal desire to promote the well-being of the colonial population, censorship was not practiced exclusively in repressive ways but manifested in constructive policies and stimuli, among which was the cultivation of the “native press” under state patronage. Censorship in the Indies oscillated between liberal impulse and the intrinsic insecurity of a colonial state in the era of nationalism and democratic governance. It proved unpredictable in terms of outcomes, at times being co-opted by resourceful activists and journalists, and susceptible to international politics as it transformed during the Sino-Japanese war of the 1930s.

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Biographical Note

Nobuto Yamamoto, PhD (2011, Cornell University), is Professor of Southeast Asian Studies at Keio University, Japan. He has published books, monographs and articles on Southeast Asian politics and Indonesia in both Japanese and English.

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Liberal Winds
Chapter 2: Ethical Policy and Patronage
Chapter 3: The Age of Press Monitoring
Chapter 4: Persdelict
Chapter 5: Reactions to Persdelict
Chapter 6: Press Monitoring Reconsidered
Chapter 7: Persbreidel
Chapter 8: The Japanese Factor
Chapter 9: Persbreaidel and the Chinese Factor


This book will be of interest to historians and Southeast Asianists, and anyone interested in the history of censorship, particularly colonial censorship and the nationalist movement in Indonesia.

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