The Newsletter 68 Summer 2014

'Silence is the best solution'. The military versus the media in the Netherlands East Indies 1945-1949

Louis Zweers

This study surveys the Dutch (military) strategy versus the media, during the conflict with the Republic of Indonesia between 1945 and 1949. The Dutch (military) information services in Batavia had been slow to establish itself, and only a limited number of Dutch reporters and photographers were located in the capital. There was talk of embedded journalism; the majority of Dutch reporters stayed mostly in their comfort zone, never left their hotels in the centre of Batavia, visited receptions and press conferences and received their information via the diplomatic circuit, from briefings and the communiqu├ęs issued by the military and government information services. They were frequently hindered in their newsgathering, fact checking and the reporting of both sides, and if they did travel into the relatively unsafe conflict areas on Java and Sumatra they were accompanied by press officers.