Tuesday, December 12, 2006

What’s going on in the biggest newspaper in the country?

“Thank God I am no longer working for Kompas….”

It is a shocking phrase that I heard from a journalist friend who just resigned from Kompas a few months ago. She was telling me the story about how the biggest and most influential newspaper in Indonesia has poorly treated its own journalist Bambang Wisodo. So I asked her “Why did you say that?”

Here’s what she told me:

Bambang Wisodo is not a junior reporter in Kompas. Before being sacked, he was last assigned with the humaniora desk. Over the last eight years, Bambang, who is one of the AJI (aliansi Jurnalis Independen) founders, was actively fighting to win back the 20% shares belonging to the employees in Kompas. As a result of being too outspoken, according to my source, the boss in Kompas was always trying to find reason to get Bambang assigned outside Jakarta. Aware that it was all politics to shut him up, Bambang would always refuse to be posted outside Jakarta. At one point, he was suspended for his refusal. One day during the suspension period, Bambang came to Kompas, but he was stopped by the security guard before entering the premises. Bambang insisted to enter because, despite that he was under suspension, he is still an employee of Kompas. Then the Pemred came out and handed him the PHK letter. Not only that, according to the story, Bambang was then dragged out of the premises by the security guards.

“Actually many employees of Kompas are now worried about their future. They ask a lot from their employees, while they don’t treat us fairly..” the girl said ending her story and leaving me in shock.

I still cannot believe that I’m hearing such a story about the most credible publication in the country. Where all those values that they always promote “menyuarakan amanat hati nurani rakyat?” because of this incident, many are questioning whether the values such as democracy, transparency, and fighting for human rights that always being voiced by Kompas are actually genuine.

One thing for sure, the almost impeccable image that it has built through the decades is now in danger.

But then again this is all just coming from one side. The great thing about blogs is that the accused can argue their case right here in this forum.

So, we're waiting to hear what Kompas has to say about this, or perhaps a fellow Kompas journalist who knows a different twist of this story?

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