Banned books and other forms of censorship

On the banning of books, censorship and other freedom of access issues

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Indonesia investigates textbook authors

Prosecutors in Indonesia have questioned several historians and education ministry officials involved with the 2004 publication of school textbooks that presented alternative views on the 1965 coup, according to a Reuters report. The action was provoked by complaints from nationalist and Muslim activists. During his 32 year rule, the accepted version under General Suharto was to place full responsibility on the Indonesia Communist Party (PKI). But that view began to erode after Suharto's downfall in 1998.

Education ministry spokesperson Teguh Juwarno said the controversial books, printed by private publications, were based on a trial curriculum introduced in 2004.

"The publication of the books should be seen in the context of the 2004 curriculum, which is competence-based. Students are encouraged to explore other literature and not stick to textbooks," he said.

The PKI was banned from 1965 until 2004 when the Constitutional Court revoked a law banning former PKI members from running for parliament. In the aftermath of the 1965 coup around 500,000 Indonesians were killed by the military and by Muslim mobs because of their suspected ties with the PKI or their Chinese ethnicity.

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