The professional life of Mochtar Lubis reflected much of the development of a democratic, secular, modernising traditionwithin the Indonesianmedia from 1945 to the turn of the century. Issues, such as what constituted a democratic media and howsuch amediamight best be sustained anddefended,were contested throughout Mochtar’s life, both within the tradition of secular investigative journalism and by opponents to it. Such debates were part of a set of social processes within which Mochtar was enmeshed, seeking to give form and substance to both the Indonesian state itself and its particular political system, as well as to the institutions (like the media) throughwhich Indonesian identitywas envisioned.Media practitioners like Mochtar Lubis contributed significantly to the development of civil society and to the shaping of a (still malleable) political system. In this, despite his maverick tendencies, he was emblematic of an influential tradition which spawned a relatively small but assertive and articulate aggregation of urban liberal intellectual journalists across generations, amongst whom might be included well-known figures such as Rosihan Anwar, Aristides Katoppo, Sabam Siagian, Goenawan Mohamad, Wimar Witoelar, Bambang Harymurti, Atmakusumah Astraatmadja, Achmad Taufik, Tri Agus Siswomihardjo, Santoso, Satrio Arismunandar and Ayu Utami to name but a handful.