Small Newsrooms in Quest of Allies to Keep Democracy Alive

On the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day, the Dutch and Canadian Embassies in Jakarta supported the celebration of press freedom in Indonesia, in an event organized by our media partner Project Multatuli. Project Multatuli is an independent news outlet based in Jakarta, which aims to give a voice to the voiceless, spotlighting the marginalized, and reporting on the underreported.

Started as a collective initiative by veteran journalists from established media in Indonesia, Project Multatuli has succeeded in building a readership base and joint collaborations with other small media in the country, in its first year milestone standing as an independent media.

Small independent media started to sprung up in Indonesia over the past few years, as a response to the need of a more diverse voice in journalism. Small independent media often do not have a strong financial backing, they work with a small number of staff, and they focus on a niche topic or region where they are based. The phenomenon on small media has therefore been important in contributing to shape the public discourse on the topics that mainstream media often do not find as sexy or interesting, such as environmental deforestation, gender equality, indigenous people’s rights, or issues of social justice. But their existence is also an uncertain and fragile one.

Hence the celebration of press freedom this year carried the theme “Dead Press Society: Small Newsroom in Quest of Allies to Keep Democracy Alive.” The event featured a discussion among small independent media in the country, and two exhibitions – each titled "Small Newsrooms Do Big Work" and "Democracy Through the Lives of the Immense Minority.” The exhibition is open for public viewing at the Erasmus Huis until Saturday, 28 May 2022.