Petition of Fifty (Indonesia)

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Date: 1980

Region: Asia

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Print Journalism


Artist: "Petition of Fifty"

Confronting Bodies: Suharto Government

Dates of Action: May 1980

Location: Indonesia

Description of Artwork: "... In May 1980, Suharto faced a...challenge when a group of 50 people, including two former prime ministers, several ex-cabinet ministers and a number of retired generals, submitted a document to parliament--the so called "Petition of Fifty"--criticizing Suharto's use of Pancasila (5 foundational principles) to suppress dissent. Even more threatening was a separate statement presented simultaneously to the legislature by retired Gen. Mohammad Jasin, one of the 50... "

The Incident: "... Jasin harshly attacked Suharto's "hypocrisy and corruption," asking how any anti-corruption drive could ever succeed if the president himself was dishonest. The general provided a detailed account purporting to show how Suharto had been given a 750 hectare cattle ranch south of Jakarta. The government tried to stop dissemination of Jasin's information, immediately telephoning newspaper editors with instructions to ignore the letter."

Results of Incident: "... But the underground news network had already swung into operation. Within a few hours of the authorities order not to report on the Jasin statement, the document was being photocopied and distributed on University campuses across Indonesia.. "

Source: A Fund for Free Expression Report, "Off Limits and Corruption", July 1991, pg. 34