The Globe as you know it is changing.
Coming June 2019

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To understand more about why you are so important to our member-supported initiative, we encourage you to read the following from our managing editor ~ Read more

The Globe as you know it is changing.

Since 2007, Southeast Asia Globe has been a space for some of the region’s best writers and photographers to take our readers behind the headlines into the stories that shape people’s lives. Every month, you could expect to pick up our latest print edition and find high-quality journalism, analysis and artwork waiting on every page. And since 2007, we’ve fought to uphold our promise of quality and independence to you, our readers.

But, like we said, the world is changing. Print publications just aren’t reaching the audiences they need to fulfil their promise of informing, educating and entertaining the public. Advertisers continue to invest in digital platforms while printing costs creep ever higher. Print may not be dead, but it’s fighting for its life. And we’re tired of waiting by a sickbed for its condition to improve. We want to be present at the birth of something new.

That’s why Southeast Asia Globe is relaunching as a member-driven platform featuring daily long-form features combining world-class journalism with enthralling art design and data-centered tech. Through our core pillars – Power, Money, Life and Earth – we are focusing in on the central issues that our readers have always engaged with most, with the same in-depth coverage of politics, business, social affairs and the environment that you’ve come to expect since 2007.

But leaving print behind us doesn’t just save our backs from lugging stacks of magazines across Southeast Asia. It opens up a global readership who don’t just want to read the news, but have a say in the stories that we tell and the way that we tell them. We’re not asking you to take out another magazine subscription – our stories are open to all. What we’re offering our members is a space where they can pitch and vote on the stories that they think deserve to be told. We want to inspire an engaged and active community of members who vote for, comment on and contribute to the stories that matter most to them. We want to work with our members to curate the way they engage with the news – not just as readers, but as an active extension of our editorial team.

That’s how we’re changing to bring you great stories. Here’s how we’re not.

We’re independent. Always have been, always will be. We’re not owned by any corporation or aligned with any state. We choose the stories that we tell, and the way that we tell them.

We’re creative. We’re not interested in churning out breaking news stories on the hour, every hour. We believe that the best stories are the ones that come alive on the page, digging deeper into the issues that shape Southeast Asia – and bringing you along for the ride. From our dedicated designers to our new software development team, our commitment is to constantly challenge ourselves to find new ways of reaching out to our readers.

We’re open. Challenging governments, NGOs and businesses to be transparent with the public means nothing if we keep our own readers in the dark. That’s why we will be completely open about why we tell the stories that we tell – and how we pay for them. Work with us to build something that endures where many media fail, and decide with us exactly where that money is going.

Above all, we’re optimistic. And yeah, we know what you’re thinking. Faced with impending climate collapse, the rise of right-wing authoritarian governments across the world, widening wealth and income inequality and deepening divisions rooted in race or gender or creed, it’s hard not to open the papers and feel the weight of the world pressing down. But we wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t believe that when people work together, they can make their little corner of the world a more just, open and equal place.

And that’s why we can’t do this without you. We believe that across the globe is a community of people who care deeply about social justice, environmental action and press freedom – and who will join in to help make those ideals a reality. We’re not just holding our hand out – we need your voice to play a vital role in building Southeast Asia Globe into a leading space for progressive causes in the region. Tell us what stories the mainstream media is missing. Share with us the causes that matter most to you, and how we can champion those causes not just across Southeast Asia, but the world.

Our vision is clear. By 2025, we want to be recognised for building a great space for outstanding journalists from across the region to explore new ways of telling Southeast Asia’s most vital stories. Let’s bring together a community of engaged and loyal members who want to help reshape the media rather than just read it. And we want to reach a point where our readers, not advertisers, are the ones working to support our shared vision of an inclusive media.

We can’t do this without you. Let’s get together and build something that we all believe in.

If you’re interested in joining us, sign up to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter. And watch this space.

Politics / How both candidates ‘exploited Islam’ in Indonesia’s elections

By: Harry Pearl / AFP - Posted on: April 19, 2019 | Current Affairs

The ‘religious war’ that saw President Joko Widodo court conservative voters to fend off rising hardline Islam may have a profound impact on his next five years

This picture taken on April 3, 2019 shows Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo (C) taking a selfie with his supporters during an election campaign stop in Sragen, Central Java province Photo: Juni Kriswanto / AFP

Indonesia pulled off a complex yet peaceful election across its vast – and ethnically diverse -– island territory this week, cementing its place as a democratic beacon in a sea of authoritarian governments, analysts say.

But the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation still faces a spike in militant Islam and myriad other challenges.

On Wednesday, the sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago saw as many as 190 million voters cast ballots to elect a new president, parliamentarians and local legislators, in a one-day contest with a record 245,000 candidates.

Preliminary results appeared to hand a second term to President Joko Widodo, but he held off declaring victory pending official results next month.

However, his rival ex-general Prabowo Subianto – who has strong ties to the Suharto dictatorship that collapsed in 1998 – insisted he won, and vowed to challenge the results.

He did the same, unsuccessfully, after losing to Widodo in 2014 and there is little to suggest Subianto will win this latest fight.

Despite the lingering uncertainty, Indonesia’s democratic feat still stands in stark contrast to strongman governments in the Philippines and Cambodia, authoritarian Vietnam and Laos, Myanmar’s stumbling post-junta steps and a chaotic election in Thailand, its first since a 2014 coup.

“In a region that is not inclined towards democracy, where authoritarianism is on the rise, Indonesia’s democracy really has weight — even if it is turning more conservative,” said Christine Cabasset at the Bangkok-based Research Institute on Contemporary Southeast Asia.

‘Slow erosion’

In a nod to voter participation, one reputable pollster recorded 82 percent turnout in this week’s polls, the highest since 2004 legislative elections, local media reported.

“People are voting and making a difference. Indonesians have embraced their own electoral power, especially younger voters,” said Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert at John Cabot University in Rome.

“This bodes well for greater demands for better governance,” she added.

Still, Welsh was sharply critical of Widodo’s rights records, and there are doubts about whether the 57-year-old will use his political capital to safeguard two decades of democratic progress that some fear is being undermined.

“My prediction over the next five years is that we will continue to see a slow erosion of democratic quality,” said Marcus Mietzner, an associate professor at the Australian National University.

“(But) not a full push into authoritarianism,” he added.

Widodo himself has been accused of creeping authoritarianism following arrests of opposition campaigners under a controversial electronic defamation law, while a decree during his tenure allowed Jakarta to ban mass organisations.

Others have raised concerns about the renewed influence of the military, which is eyeing more civilian government positions in the country of 260 million – home to hundreds of ethnic groups and languages.

‘Exploited Islam’

Indonesia’s reputation for religious tolerance has also been tested by increasingly vocal hardline Islamists, who were emboldened after their calls to prosecute Jakarta’s Christian governor for blasphemy saw him jailed in 2017.

A years-long struggle with extremism was underlined last year by suicide bombings at several churches in its second-biggest city Surabaya — amid a growing gulf in society between moderate and hardline Muslims.

“Both candidates exploited Islam as campaign issues,” said Made Supriatma, a visiting fellow at Singapore-based think tank Yusof Ishak Institute.

“This religious war surely will have some effects in political debates in Indonesia in the years to come.”

Widodo’s choice of conservative cleric Ma’ruf Amin as his running mate – in part to neutralise attacks on his own religious credentials – has stirred fears about how minorities will fare over the next five years.

Gay and transgender people have been subject to abuse and arrest, while a Christian woman was jailed for blasphemy after complaining about the volume of a mosque’s loudspeaker.

“Military sector reform is a must, so is the protection of minorities and tackling intolerance and extremists,” said Yohanes Sulaiman, a political analyst at the Universitas Jenderal Achmad Yani.

‘A work in progress’

Some also see traces of Indonesia’s long collapsed dictatorship in the current, corruption-riddled system.

“It is hard to root out,” said Supriatma.

“All political parties are dominated by old players, both nationally and regionally.”

But there is little appetite for anything but another smooth power transition.

“Indonesian democracy is still a work in progress,” said Dewi Fortuna Anwar, a research professor at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

“But the fact you do not go to the streets and bring your guns if you want to dispute a vote, rather you go through a court process — that is very much part of Indonesian democracy.”