Sunday, December 26, 1999

Lho, Jurnalis Jadi Politisi?


Herry Komar calon kuat gubernur Sumbar. Gus Dur merekrut Ratih Hardjono ke istana. Mengapa jurnalis berambisi jadi politisi?

Bagaikan ulat, kepompong, dan kupu-kupu, barangkali begitu perumpamaan jurnalis, reformasi, dan politisi. Lho apa hubungannya? Semuanya jadi jelas ketika fenomena mencolok muncul gelombang migrasi pekerjaan dari jurnalis ke politisi. Era reformasi telah menjadi kepompong yang menjadikan "ulat" jurnalis menjadi "kupu-kupu" politisi. Ini terlepas dari kesan tentang ulat yang menggatalkan dan kupu-kupu yang menawan, terbukti banyak jurnalis rela meninggalkan profesinya menjadi politisi begitu kesempatan itu datang.

Masih ingat dengan Herry Komar? Mantan wartawan Tempo yang saat dibredel kemudian mendirikan Gatra, lalu ketika di Gatra ada konflik internal ia cabut keluar dan mendirikan Gamma. Entah siapa yang mencalonkan, nama Herry yang jelas masuk sepuluh besar calon Gubernur Sumatera Barat berdasarkan "aspirasi masyarakat."

Kabar yang diterima Xpos dari Padang, Herry Komar tampaknya ambisi betul untuk jadi gubernur. Ia tak segan mulai kampanye, dengan cara bagi-bagi duit ke panti asuhan dan warga yang tertimpa bencana. Tak cukup dengan tindakan sosial, Herry pun mengolah imaji yang bagus tentang dirinya di media massa.

Karena merasa Herry orang media massa, maka media massa di Sumatera Barat seperti berkewajiban membela, memuji dan tentu saja mendukung Herry. Apalagi Herry terkesan ringan tangan membantu media di Sumatra Barat, khususnya memberikan ceramah dan training jurnalistik gratis dengan terjun langsung sebagai pembicara.

Sebetulnya, selain Herry ada Basril Djabar, Pemimpin Umum Harian Singgalang menjadi calon gubernur. Tapi karena media massa Sumatra Barat menganggap Basril hanyalah seorang pengusaha ketimbang jurnalis, maka publikasi tentang Basril akhirnya cuma di Singgalang saja.

Pengaruh publikasi di media sebagai kampanye terselubung ini ternyata berpengaruh cukup besar. Terbukti dari hasil diskusi antara Pemuda Pancasila dengan Gapensi soal mau mendukung siapa, Herry Komar menjadi calon terbaik menurut mereka. Padahal ketika ditanya lebih lanjut para aktivis organisasi a la Orde Baru ini mengaku tak begitu kenal dengan Herry Komar, di mana kampung halamannya dan apa saja jasanya bagi Sumatra Barat yang telah ia sumbangkan.

Sialnya, DPRD Tingkat I Sumbar menganggap rekomendasi lembaga-lembaga kolot itu menjadi acuan juga.

Fenomena Herry Komar sebetulnya juga bukan barang baru. Dulu, jurnalis Suara Merdeka Bambang Sadono, aktif sekali mendukung Golkar bahkan mempengaruhi policy-nya di Suara Merdeka hingga koran Jawa Tengah itu dikenal sebagai koran kuning alias corong Golkar. Konflik kepentingan ini dibuktikan Y. Kristiawan dalam risetnya yang kemudian dibukukan dengan judul Pers Memihak Golkar.

Di tingkat nasional, pindah profesi di atas bahkan digerakkan oleh Presiden Gus Dur. Ia menarik orang-orang dekatnya dari kalangan jurnalis seperti Ratih Hardjono dari Kompas dan Wahyu Muryadi dari Tempo. Ratih yang menjadi sangat dekat dengan Gus Dur ketika sang presiden masih ketua PBNU dan berobat di Australia, direkrut menjadi sekretaris presiden. Wahyu Muryadi adalah seorang jurnalis yang kerap melansir sepak-terjang NU, kini ditarik jadi kepala protokol istana kepresidenan. Bedanya Ratih dan Wahyu dengan Herry dan Bambang, mereka melepas keterikatannya dengan media asal.

Mengomentari fenomena migrasi profesi ini, jurnalis The Nation, Bangkok, Andreas Harsono mengatakan, wartawan sebaiknya tak ikut dalam kancah pekerjaan politikus. Atau kalau dia mau menjadi politikus (di kursi legislatif atau eksekutif), ya sekali masuk jangan kembali jadi wartawan. Alasan klasik adalah adanya ide bahwa wartawan seharusnya jadi pengamat yang berjarak terhadap semua pemain politik. Kalau Herry Komar sekarang jadi politikus, katakanlah mewakili partai tertentu, bagaimana dia bisa membuat coverage yang fair terhadap partai tersebut?

Secara umum mungkin tidak sulit untuk tetap menjaga jarak karena institusinya (Gatra maupun Gamma misalnya) bisa mengimbangi Komar. Mereka bisa tetap fair terhadap partai tersebut. Tapi bagaimana kalau dia terlibat dalam kasus yang Catch-22 di mana dimakan bapak mati, tidak dimakan ibu mati? Lantas kalau kelak dia kembali bekerja sebagai wartawan, bagaimana sumber-sumbernya dari lawan politik partai tersebut, bisa bersikap terbuka kepada Komar kalau sedang diwawancarai?

Di Amerika, jurnalis yang mau jadi politisi akan tamat riwayat karirnya di media. Ini bisa terjadi karena dunia jurnalistik sangat beda dengan dunia politik bahkan berjarak. Dunia politik sendiri sudah punya pemasok kader lewat rekrutmen dan pendidikan di partai. Di Indonesia, partai biasanya hanya sangat aktif ketika menjelang pemilu hingga Sidang MPR selesai. Sementara jurnalis di Indonesia jadi punya insting politisi karena sangat sering bersentuhan dengan hal-hal politis, di samping memang ada yang sudah punya watak sebagai politisi. Presiden pertama RI, Soekarno, adalah contoh yang mashyur betapa ia berpolitik sebagai jurnalis.

Pada akhirnya memang layak ditanyakan pada para jurnalis yang masuk dunia politik. Untuk apa dan kepentingan siapa migrasi profesi itu mereka lakukan? (*)

-- Xpos

Tuesday, November 30, 1999

Beasiswa untuk Wartawan

Andreas Harsono
Institut Studi Arus Informasi


Akhir November lalu saya bertemu dengan seorang wartawan penerbitan Hongkong yang bekerja di Singapura. Dia mengajak makan malam dan bertanya apa untungnya mendapatkan beasiswa di Amerika Serikat. Ketemunya di sebuah café di Harvard Square, di pusat kota Cambridge, beberapa saat setelah saya ikut kuliah di Universitas Harvard.

Saya jawab kalau enaknya mungkin tidak perlu dikatakan. Banyak sekali. Tapi justru tidak enaknya yang perlu didaftar. Dia tertawa. Calon isterinya juga tersipu-sipu. Kami memesan makan malam kami. John Harvard Café mulai penuh dengan orang.

“Apa tidak enaknya?” ujar teman wartawan ini.

Mungkin yang paling tidak enak adalah pertanyaan apakah kita bisa dengan mudah beradaptasi dengan tempat di mana kita bekerja kelak setelah pulang ke tanah air. Jangan-jangan kita malah jadi tukang bikin onar. Setelah sekolah setahun di tempat yang serba wah, mungkin kita bakal punya anggapan bahwa nilai-nilai yang dulu kita anggap biasa, sekarang sulit untuk diterima orang lain. Sederhananya, kita bisa kehilangan orientasi, kita bisa salah menilai diri kita sendiri.

Seorang wartawan senior di Indonesia mengatakan kita bisa jadi “spoiled brat” –seorang anak yang rusak dan kepribadiannya tidak menyerangkan. “Kalau Anda pikir bahwa lembaga Anda akan menghargai waktu yang Anda investasikan di sini dan menghargai Anda, saya kuatir Anda salah,” ujar Chris Hedges dari The New York Times.

Nieman Hingga Columbia- Banyak organisasi internasional menawarkan program beasiswa di seluruh dunia. Cambridge, kota tempat kampus Harvard, menawarkan program Nieman Fellowship on Journalism

Bukan itu saja. Beasiswa buat wartawan juga bisa menimbulkan ketegangan dalam perkawinan sang penerimanya. Logikanya sederhana. Sang wartawan sekolah lagi, ikut seminar, bertemu profesor, baca buku, mengasah otak, sementara si istri atau di pacar mungkin harus meninggalkan karirnya, lalu sibuk mengurus anak, memasak, tinggal di apartemen yang sempit dan hidup dengan dana terbatas. Hidup tidak senyaman di Indonesia.

Saya beri contoh pada program yang saya ikuti. Pada dekade-dekade awal berdirinya Nieman Fellowship, program beasiswa ini bukan saja meningkatkan mutu para pesertanya tapi juga menghasilkan banyak perceraian. Pilihannya memang sulit. Keluarga ditinggal di rumah susah. Dibawa sekolah juga susah.

Namun Nieman Foundation memperbaiki diri dalam sepuluh tahun terakhir ini dengan melibatkan para istri atau suami. Semua program untuk peserta dinyatakan terbuka buat pasangan mereka. Para istri juga diberi kartu perpustakaan untuk meminjam buku dari perpustakaan raksasa Harvard.

Namun enaknya juga banyak. Umumnya program-program beasiswa buat wartawan yang diberikan di Amerika Serikat menekankan unsur human development. Mulai dari Nieman Fellowship di Harvard hingga Knight Fellowship di Universitas Stanford, dari yang tidak pakai gelar hingga yang bergelar, dari yang empat bulan hingga yang setahun, tujuannya sama: membuat wartawan menjadi wartawan yang lebih baik.

Nieman, Knight dan Michigan Journalism Fellowship memberikan kebebasan kepada fellow (peserta) mereka untuk ikut kuliah dua semester di universitas masing-masing. Kuliah didisain sesuai kebutuhan peserta. Yang suka masalah politik bisa kuliah pemerintahan. Tapi ada juga jurusan hukum, kedokteran, ekonomi, seni, biologi, filsafat dan lain-lain.

Di Cambridge kami setiap minggu sekali wajib mengikuti diskusi internal tentang jurnalisme di Nieman Foundation. Peserta merasa banyak belajar mengenai jurnalisme justru lewat diskusi-diskusi ini. Kemampuan mereka untuk membedakan mana yang adil, mana yang benar, mana yang etis dan mana yang berita, digenjot dan dipertajam setiap minggu oleh kurator Nieman Foundation Bill Kovach. Wartawan kawakan dari The New York Times ini selalu menekankan pentingnya menjaga integritas wartawan. Kovach mempersiapkan murid-muridnya untuk menghadapi pertanyaan-pertanyaan dasar mengenai jurnalisme.

Indonesia butuh lebih banyak wartawan

Saya jelaskan kepada teman dari Singapura itu, alangkah baiknya, kalau lebih banyak wartawan Indonesia yang juga mau mencari beasiswa. Dalam era pasca-Presiden Suharto, wartawan Indonesia tidak bisa terlalu mempertimbangkan faktor tidak enak. Kebebasan pers di Indonesia perlu cepat-cepat diperkuat antara lain dengan mengembangkan kemampuan jurnalisme dan memperbanyak jumlah wartawan yang memperdalam ilmunya.

Dalam dua tahun ini di Indonesia mungkin ada lebih dari 1,000 penerbitan baru. Radio-radio berlomba-lomba bikin berita. Televisi sedang menambah jumlah stasiunnya. Pemain baru juga muncul lewat internet. Lapangan kerja tercipta dengan cepat. Industri media bergeliat dengan penuh gairah.

Tapi sumber daya manusia di bidang media sangat terbatas. Banyak media baru tapi sedikit wartawan. Redaktur juga banyak yang tidak memenuhi syarat. Lembaga pendidikan kurang siap. Di Indonesia hanya ada beberapa perguruan tinggi yang punya jurusan jurnalisme: Universitas Pajajaran Bandung, IISIP Jakarta, Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Komunikasi Massa Surabaya.

Dibandingkan negara-negara Asia lainnya, wartawan Jakarta juga termasuk ketinggalan dalam mencari beasiswa. Ambil contoh Nieman Foundation di Universitas Harvard. Indonesia sejak program ini berdiri 1938 hanya memiliki tiga alumni: Sabam Siagian (The Jakarta Post), Goenawan Mohamad (Tempo) dan Ratih Hardjono (Kompas).

Coba kita bandingkan dengan Jepang (26), India (17) dan Cina (14). Atau kalau mau dibandingkan dengan negara-negara Asia yang lebih kecil: Korea Selatan (19), Filipina (11), Malaysia (4) dan Thailand (4). Indonesia hanya lebih tinggi dari Vietnam (2) dan Singapura (1).

Beasiswa ini macam-macam. Ada yang program satu tahun, ada yang pertukaran wartawan, ada hibah buat proyek tertentu, ada waktu buat menulis dan lain-lain. Syaratnya juga beda-beda. Untuk wartawan muda. Untuk paruh karir. Ada yang umum namun ada pula untuk wartawan spesialis: bisnis, lingkungan hidup, olah raga, kesehatan, ilmu pengetahuan dan lainnya. Di Amerika Serikat mungkin ada lebih dari 300 program beasiswa buat wartawan.

Bagaimana mendapatkannya?

Rekan dari Singapura itu bertanya bagaimana strategi mendapatkan beasiswa? Bagaimana cara membuat proposalnya? Mungkin untuk wartawan Indonesia di mana bahasa Inggris bukan merupakan bahasa ibu perlu ditambah dengan pertanyaan seberapa jauh kemampuan bahasa Inggris diperlukan?

Boleh jadi pendekatan mendapatkan beasiswa yang baik sama dengan cara kita mendekati suatu berita. Kita tahu di luar kepala bahwa kita wajib memperhatikan unsur 5W 1H (what, who, why, where, when, how). Lebih banyak detail yang didapat lebih baik. Kalau seorang wartawan datang ke sebuah lokasi, ia diharapkan untuk memperhatikan dari jenis lantai hingga warna dinding lokasi tersebut. Keterangan waktu selalu dicek ulang. Ejaan nama jangan salah!

Mendapatkan beasiswa juga demikian. Kita harus tahu siapa yang terlibat dalam proses penyaringannya? Siapa orang-orang yang bisa kita mintai rekomendasi hingga orang-orang yang duduk dalam tim seleksi. Apa tujuan lembaga pendidikan tersebut mengeluarkan beasiswa? Bagaimana proses seleksinya? Di mana dan berapa lama beasiswa itu diberikan? Apa saja syarat-syaratnya? Buat yang muda atau buat yang paruh-karir?

Bikin riset yang kuat. Pergunakan internet. Semua program buat wartawan, boleh percaya boleh tidak, bisa didapatkan syarat-syarat bahkan formulirnya lewat internet. Ada program yang tidak menyediakan dana buat para peserta. Tapi kebanyakan mereka membantu peserta yang lolos untuk mendapatkan dana. Besarnya antara $25,000 hingga $60,000 setahun tergantung lokasi dan biaya hidup. Sediakan waktu yang cukup, katakanlah setahun, untuk mempersiapkan proposal.

Soal bahasa Inggris, Kovach mengatakan bahwa kita toh tidak diharapkan menulis (secara profesional) dalam bahasa Inggris. Kovach bahkan tidak menganjurkan peserta Nieman untuk belajar bahasa apapun ketika mereka ada di Harvard. “Anda bisa belajar bahasa di mana pun tapi tidak semua kuliah di Harvard bisa Anda dapatkan di tempat lain,” ujar Kovach.

Mungkin ukurannya adalah kemampuan kita untuk berdebat atau membuat laporan dalam bahasa Inggris. Atau setidaknya kita bisa mengerti kuliah profesor kita walaupun sedang mengantuk berat karena semalam begadang. Jangan lupa bahwa mayoritas teman kelas kita adalah orang Amerika dan mereka bicara bahasa Inggris sejak bayi!

Rekomendasi biasanya memainkan peran penting. Kalau Anda mendapatkan rekomendasi dari wartawan-wartawan Indonesia yang pada jaman Presiden Suharto ikut bertanggungjawab atas penindasan pers, kemungkinannya rekomendasi itu hanya berlaku untuk lembaga-lembaga pendidikan yang kurang begitu baik. Tapi kalau rekomendasi datang dari wartawan asing maupun Indonesia yang punya nama harum, setidaknya itu sudah menjadi bekal yang bagus agar lamaran Anda diperhatikan.

Tapi bagaimana pun bagusnya surat lamaran Anda, sebagai wartawan, kita harus ingat hukum penting dalam jurnalisme: fairness. Kita harus fair terhadap lembaga di mana kita melamar dan juga fair terhadap diri kita sendiri. Ada self-respect terhadap diri sendiri.

Ketika saya hendak mengirimkan lamaran, saya sempat diberitahu seorang rekan di Jakarta bahwa program-program yang saya incar di Amerika Serikat adalah fellowship buat wartawan-wartawan yang “lebih senior.” Saya termasuk junior kalau dibanding dengan Siagian, Goenawan atau Hardjono. Sempat grogi juga.

Tapi saya putuskan untuk mempelajari usia atau karir alumni program-program tersebut. Ternyata dalam sejarah Nieman Fellowships ada seorang peserta yang umurnya baru 22 tahun! Saya jauh lebih tua dari peserta tersebut. Saya juga perhatikan peserta dari negara-negara lain. Ternyata banyak yang usianya atau karirnya setara dengan saya.

Tak terasa sudah dua jam kami bicara. Sayap ayam masak kecap kami lahap dengan cepat. Sebelum kami meninggalkan John Harvard Café, teman wartawan itu dengan hangat mengucapkan terima kasih. Ia merasa yakin bahwa ia memang harus mengejar beasiswa itu. Saya juga senang karena telah membantunya. Mudah-mudahan saya juga bisa membantu wartawan-wartawan lain di Indonesia.

Di luar udara dingin sekali. Musim dingin mulai menggigit tulang.

Dari Nieman hingga Columbia

Andreas Harsono
Institut Studi Arus Informasi

Di seluruh dunia ada ratusan beasiswa buat wartawan. Salah satu negara yang paling banyak memberikan beasiswa buat wartawan –dalam format yang bermacam-macam— adalah Amerika Serikat. Di bawah ini adalah ringkasan dari sebagian kecil dari beasiswa tersebut. Mayoritas di Amerika tapi ada beberapa di Inggris. Bagi yang tertarik untuk mengetahui lebih banyak, silahkan melihat website berbagai organisasi media internasional yang memberikan informasi soal beasiswa wartawan.

Diolah dari www.icij.org dan www.rtnda.org


FELLOWSHIP (setahun dan di perguruan tinggi)

Universitas Harvard - Nieman Foundation for Journalism
Diberikan setiap tahun kepada 24 wartawan paruh-karir (12 Amerika dan 10-12 international) untuk satu tahun akademik. Peserta mendisain sendiri studi mereka dan semua ruang kuliah di Harvard terbuka buat mereka. Tidak ada kredit atau gelar. Alumni dari Indonesia termasuk Sabam Siagian, Goenawan Mohamad dan Ratih Hardjono.
Kontak: Bill Kovach, Susan Goldstein, (617) 495 2238
Beasiswa: Uang kuliah, uang saku $40,000; peserta internasional dibantu mencari dana
Deadline: 31 Januari 31 (Amerika), 1 Maret (Internasional)
E-mail: sgoldstein@harvard.edu
Web: http://www.nieman.harvard.edu

Universitas Stanford - John S. Knight Fellowship
Stanford menyediakan satu tahun akademik, perkembangan intelektual dan kepribadian buat pesertanya. Program ini diberikan kepada 12 wartawan Amerika dan enam internasional. Salah seorang alumni dari Indonesia termasuk Aristides Katoppo (Sinar Harapan).
Beasiswa: uang sekolah, uang saku $50,000, dana beli buku
Deadline: 1 Februari
Kontak: James Risser, (650) 723 4937
E-mail: knightfellow@forsythe.stanford.edu
Web: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/communication/general/knightfellow.html

Universitas Michigan - Michigan Journalism Fellowship
Menerima baik wartawan Amerika maupun internasional. Programnya sama dengan Nieman dan Knight. Selama setahun para peserta boleh mengambil kuliah apa saja. Nieman, Knight dan Michigan adalah rival satu dengan yang lain. Beda dengan Nieman dan Knight, Michigan di kota Ann Arbor ini belum pernah menerima peserta dari Indonesia.
Beasiswa: Uang kuliah, uang saku $40,000
Deadline: February 1
Kontak: Charles Eisendrath, 734.998.7666
E-mail: drath@umich.edu
Web: http://www.mjfellows.org

Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Knight Science Journalism Fellowship
Beasiswa untuk 10 wartawan khusus di bidang sains, kesehatan, teknologi atau lingkungan hidup. Mereka berhak tinggal di MIT Cambridge selama setahun dan mengambil berbagai matakuliah baik di MIT maupun Harvard. Minimal tiga tahun pengalaman di bidangnya penuh waktu.
Beasiswa: $35,000 uang saku to cover living costs
Deadline: 1 Maret 1
Kontak: Martha Henry atau Boyce Rensberger, (617) 253 3442
E-mail: boyce@mit.edu
Web: http://web.mit.edu/knight-science/

Ohio State University - Kiplinger Public Affairs Fellowships for Journalists
Beasiswa untuk delapan wartawan khusus masalah kemasyarakatan dan pemerintahan (ilmu politik). Peserta mendapat gelar master di bidang jurnalisme setelah menyelesaikan program selama setahun. Mereka juga diminta menjadi asisten dosen.
Beasiswa: Uang kuliah, biaya hidup $20,000
Deadline: 1 Januari
Kontak: Pam Hollie Kluge, (614) 292 2607
E-mail: kip-program@osu.edu

Universitas Harvard -- Edward S. Mason Program in Public Policy and Management
Program ini bernaung di bawah Kennedy School of Government di Universitas Harvard dan dibuat untuk mereka yang diperkirakan akan menjadi pemimpin di masa depan. Selama setahun para peserta diberi kesempatan untuk mengambil program master di bidang pemerintahan (berbagai spesialisasi). Para pelamar kebanyakan dari lembaga pemerintahan tapi juga banyak yang datang dari partai, organisasi nonpemerintah maupun media. Bambang Harymurti dari TEMPO dan Agus Wirahadikusumah dari TNI adalah alumni Mason Program. Jumlah peserta program ini tidak tetap tapi antara 60 hingga 70 orang.
Beasiswa: biaya perjalanan, biaya hidup dan kuliah
Kontak: Office of International Development Program Universitas Harvard
Tel. (617) 495-2133 Fax: (617) 495-9671
Email: idprograms@ksg.harvard.edu

Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program
Program ini diperuntukkan wartawan dari negara berkembang, Eropa Timur dan bekas Uni Soviet untuk belajar selama setahun di sebuah universitas di Amerika yang mereka pilih sendiri. Mereka harus ikut tes agar bisa diterima di universitas pilihannya. Selain mengikuti kegiatan akademik, peserta juga mengikuti diskusi jurnalisme di Washington D.C.
Beasiswa: uang kuliah, apartemen, biaya hidup
Kontak: Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Division, Institute of International Education
Tel. (202) 326 7701
E-mail: hhh@iie.org or humphrey@usia.gov

Louisiana State University - Manship Fellowship
Satu atau dua wartawan internasional dipilih setiap tahun untuk pragram 12 bulan ini (tiga semester termasuk summer). Peserta mendapatkan gelar master komunikasi setelah menyelesaikan program ini.
Beasiswa: Sekitar $10,200 untuk uang kuliah, akomodasi dan biaya perjalanan
Kontak: Richard Alan
Tel: (504) 388-2336 Fax: (504) 388-2125
E-mail: rnelson@unix1.sncc.lsu.edu


Riset, penulisan buku dan proyek foto

Jennings Randolph Program for International Peace, United States Institute of Peace
Program ini diberikan untuk 14 peserta dari berbagai profesi termasuk wartawan. Prioritas diberikan kepada mereka yang mempunyai proyek penelitian atau penulisan untuk mengatasi atau menawarkan jalan keluar dari pertikaian-pertikaian internasional. Para peserta menjalankan proyek mereka di Washington D.C. Beasiswa selama 12 bulan dan mulai bulan September. Beasiswa termasuk asuransi kesehatan dan ongkos perjalanan.
Tel: (202) 429-3886 Fax: (202) 429-6063
E-mail: jrprogram@usip.org

Media Studies Center Residential Fellowship Program
Program ini didanai Freedom Forum untuk 10 hingga 12 peserta setiap tahun. Beasiswa diberikan kepada wartawan atau akademisi yang tertarik untuk mempelajari isu media secara mendalam. Peserta ditempatkan di New York antara tiga bulan hingga satu tahun tergantung riset yang mereka adakan. Uang saku disediakan sesuai dengan gaji masing-masing peserta. Rumah, ruang kerja dan sekretariat juga disediakan.
Kontak: Larry McGill
Tel: (212) 317-6500 Fax: (212) 317-6572
E-mail: McGill@ffnyc.mhs.compuserve.com

The Reuter Foundation Fellowship Programme
University of Oxford, Green College
Program ini untuk wartawan cetak maupun tulis dari seluruh dunia untuk belajar di Universitas Oxford, Inggris, antara tiga hingga sembilan bulan. Reuter Foundation menyediakan dana buat peserta dari negara berkembang macam Indonessia.
Tel: (44-186) 551-2542 Fax: (44-186) 551-3576
E-mail: godfrey.hodgson@green.ox.ac.uk

The University of Hawaii Asia Fellowship
Program ini memberi kesempatan kepada enam wartawan paruh-karir untuk meningkatkan pemahaman mereka akan masalah-masalah Asia. Program ini berjalan sejak 1 Agustus hingga 31 Mei (18 kredit per satu tahun akademik). Ada dua tambahan bangku khusus untuk wartawan dari Asia Timur.
Beasiswa: Uang saku, uang kuliah, lengkap didanai
Kontak: D.W.Y. Kwok
Tel: (808) 956-7123/7733 Fax: (808) 956-9600

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Fellowships
Program ini punya sekitar 20 bangku untuk berbagai macam profesi termasuk wartawan. Para peserta tinggal di Woodrow Wilson Center selama satu tahun akademik (September hingga Mei). Prioritas diberikan kepada pelamar dengan proposal yang bagus di bidang kemanusiaan, ilmu sosial atau masalah internasional.
Beasiswa: uang saku $41,600 termasuk biaya perjalanan
Tel: (202) 691-4170
E-mail: fellowships@wwics.si.edu

University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Journalism
Program ini menyediakan dana buat seorang wartawan dari Eropa Timur serta dua bangku buat peserta dari Cina. Namun pelamar yang bisa menyediakan dananya sendiri tetap terbuka untuk diterima. Indonesia adalah salah satu negara transisi yang kemungkinan besar menarik buat pengelola program ini. Program ini menarik karena di universitas ini juga terdapat sebuah unit yang khusus bergerak di bidang pelatihan jurnalisme investigasi.
Kontak: Professor Byron Scott
Tel: (573) 882-7792 Fax: (573) 882-9002
E-mail: byron_scott@jmail.jour.missouri.edu

Duke University - DeWitt Wallace Center for Communications and Journalism
Wartawan dari seluruh dunia bisa melamar untuk studi di universitas ini dari beberapa minggu hingga satu tahun akademik. Para peserta mendisain sendiri kebutuhan akademiknya dengan menghadiri kuliah, ceramah, seminar, pertunjukan seni dan sebagainya. Pendanaan diusahakan sendiri namun pihak universitas membantu memberikan rekomendasi bila pelamar lolos seleksi.
Kontak: Dee Reid
Tel: (919) 613-7330 Fax: (919) 684-4270
E-mail: dee@pps.duke.edu

Universitas Harvard - Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy Fellowships
Beasiswa ini dibuat selama enam bulan untuk sejumlah kecil wartawan dari berbagai penjuru dunia yang berniat menulis buku atau bikin riset. Program ini ada dalam naungan Kennedy School of Government di Universitas Harvard. Peserta diminta menulis makalah 30 halaman selama mereka ada di Harvard. Setiap minggu mereka juga diminta hadir dalam diskusi soal media dan politik.
Beasiswa: Uang saku $15,000, biaya perjalanan dan biaya hidup tidak ditanggung
Kontak: Edith Holway
Tel: (617) 495-8269 Fax: (617) 495-8696
E-mail: Edith_Holway@Harvard.edu

Alfred Friendly Press Fellowship
Program ini untuk 10 wartawan cetak dari negara berkembang atau transisi. Peserta akan ditempatkan di berbagai kantor berita di seluruh Amerika Serikat selain mengikuti pertemuan-pertemuan rutin di Washington D.C. Berbeda dengan mayoritas fellowship, yang kebanyakan buat wartawan paruh-karir dengan pengalaman sekitar 10 tahun, program ini diutamakan untuk wartawan muda dengan prestasi yang menjanjikan.
Beasiswa: Biaya perjalanan, biaya magang dan uang saku $1,400 per bulan.
Kontak: John Sirek
Tel: (202) 416-1691 Fax: (202) 416-1695
E-mail: afpf@aol.com

Freedom Forum/American Society of Newspaper Editors International Journalism Exchange
Program pertukaran ini buat 10 wartawan non-Amerika dan non-Eropa Barat. Mereka diundang ke Amerika Serikat selama lima minggu –sebulan di antaranya untuk magang di sebuah suratkabar Amerika Serikat. Redaktur dari negara-negara transisi, termasuk Indonesia, akan diprioritaskan dalam seleksi program ini.
Beasiswa: Biaya perjalanan, rumah dan uang saku
Kontak: International Center for Journalists
Tel: (202) 737-3700 Fax: (202) 737-0530
E-mail: editor@icfj.org

Freedom Forum International Journalists-in-Residence Program
Program ini untuk 12 wartawan dari Afrika, Asia, Eropa Timur, bekas Uni Soviet dan Amerika Selatan. Tujuannya adalah mempekenalan para peserta dengan media Amerika. Programnya selama empat bulan di mana peserta dicangkokkan di sebuah universitas di Amerika Serikat.
Beasiswa: Biaya perjalanan, rumah dan uang saku
Kontak: International Journalists-in-Residence Program
Tel: (703) 284-2860 Fax: (703) 528-3520
E-mail: intl@freedomforum.org

Jefferson Fellowship - East-West Center Media Program
Enam wartawan Amerika dan enam wartawan dari Asia Pacific dipilih setiap tahun untuk mengikuti program pertukaran ini di East-West Center di Hawaii. Para peserta mengikuti seminar awal mengenai masalah-masalah gawat di Asia Pacific. Mereka lantas diberi biaya untuk bepergian ke Amerika (untuk wartawan Asia) dan ke Asia (untuk peserta Amerika) selama empat minggu sebelum kembali ke Honolulu untuk seminar akhir. Tujuannya adalah tukar-menukar pendapat.
Beasiswa: Uang saku, biaya hidup, biaya perjalanan
Kontak: Webster K. Nolan
Tel: (808) 944-7192/7199 Fax: (808) 944-7670
E-mail: nolanw@ewc.hawaii.edu

University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography
The Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting
Sekolah ini menawarkan 12 kursi buat wartawan dari berbagai media dan negara yang mempunyai spesialisasi di bidang lingkungan hidup dan kehidupan laut. Mereka diundang mengikuti sanggar kerja selama empat hari bersama para periset dan pengambil keputusan di bidang ini. Lama pendeknya program lanjutan sangat beragam.
Beasiswa: Uang saku, akomodasi dan tanpa biaya perjalanan
Kontak: Jackleen de La Harpe
Tel: (401) 874-6499 Fax: (1-401) 874-6486
E-mail: jack@gso.uri.edu

Willie Vicoy Fellowship
Program ini khusus untuk wartawan foto untuk selama satu semester belajar di Universitas Missouri. Para peserta harus dari negara berkembang. Mereka diberi kesempatan untuk belajar dan praktek lebih jauh soal fotografi media.
Beasiswa: Uang kuliah, uang saku dan biaya perjalanan
Kontak: Reuter Foundation
Tel: (44-171) 542-2913

World Press Institute Fellowship
Program ini menyediakan 10 kursi untuk wartawan internasional agar bisa tinggal selama empat bulan di Amerika Serikat. Peserta bepergian selama tiga bulan untuk mengetahui Amerika, dari bisnis, pemerintahan, masyarakat, masalah sosial, pendidikan, kesehatan dan sebagainya, sesuai minat masing-masing. Waktu sebulan dipakai untuk diskusi baik di ujung dan di akhir program. Program ini menarik buat wartawan muda yang ingin mengenal kehidupan Amerika.
Beasiswa: Biaya perjalanan, per diem $25 per diem dan biaya akomodasi
Kontak: John Hodowanic
Tel: (612) 696-6360Fax: (612) 696-6306
E-mail: wpi@macalister.edu

W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund
Lembaga ini memberi hibah senilai $20,000 buat seorang wartawan foto yang hendak mengerjakan sebuah proyek foto kemanusiaan.
Kontak: International Center of Photography
Tel: (212) 860-1777 Fax: (212) 360-6490

Tuesday, October 12, 1999

Playing the East Timor mind game

ANDREAS HARSONO
The Nation

CAMBRIDGE -- You are supposed to be a patriotic leader. And your task is to safely bring the tiny island on the northern coast of Australia to be an independent state.

Think about building democratic institutions and establish a market-oriented economic mechanism. It is a challenging mission as the world has rarely seen the birth of a new state over the past two decades. In fact East Timor will be the first new of the new millennium.

Think of your role as something akin to that of American statesman Thomas Jefferson more than 300 years ago when he was preparing the Declaration of Independence.

Here is some historical background. East Timor is expected to be an independent country very soon, 78 per cent of East Timorese having voted in August for independence rather than an autonomous state of Indonesia. The ballot organised and monitored by the United Nations is accepted internationally.

But today, East Timor is still the Indonesian province it became in 1975 when the military-backed Suharto regime invaded the former Portuguese colony.

With the brutal invasion, the saga of East Timor has gone from brutality to brutality to brutality. East Timorese were interrogated, tortured and killed, their women raped and brutalised by Indonesian soldiers.

So it is nothing new that a few days after the UN ballot ended a decisive shout for self-determination that Jakarta-backed militias began terrorising the whole area, burning houses and hunting down and killing pro-independence leaders and sympathisers.

When president General Suharto was forced to step down last year in an uprising by Indonesian students fed up with the old man, it was not necessarily because of East Timor. Suharto also treated Indonesians like slaves.

The reputation of the military was heavily eroded and denied the same backing in many western countries, including the United States.

Back home, mothers refused to allow their daughters to marry soldiers. The newly-established democratic parliament is more than prepared to officially let East Timor go in the next two weeks.

This mind game is easier if you pretend you are Xanana Gusmao!

Xanana is a poet-turned-journalist-turned-teacher-turned-guerrilla fighter-turned-political prisoner-turned diplomat. The 53-year-old gentleman and charismatic leader is tipped to be East Timor's first president!

Xanana was released from Jakarta's prison only last month. Some even compare him to South Africa's Nelson Mandela although typically, Xanana humbly fended off such a comparison.

Xanana repeatedly says that his main immediate agenda is reconciliation and reconciliation. War-torn East Timor has more than just two opposing factions. The pro-independence camp, itself, has long-standing rivalry among exiled groups in Mozambique, Portugal and Australia. The pro-autonomy camp also has its own factions, ranging from the moderate to the violent militias.

Reconciliation, within each camp and then together, is not going to be an easy task. Some intra-East Timor meetings were organised internationally over the past few years. They went nowhere.

An independent East Timor should also try to figure out what kind of mutually beneficial relationship it is going to forge with Indonesia.

How will it deal with the Indonesian army whose business interests -- coffee plantations, construction companies and oil exploration -- are in East Timor's sovereign area? How will it view the democratisation process in Indonesia? How could Xanana use his friendships with many Indonesian leaders to build a healthy link between the two countries?

Xanana befriended most of the Indonesian democracy leaders while they were all inside the Cipinang prison in Jakarta.

What does one do about Australia? It is a neighbour to be courted, even though when Indonesia invaded East Timor, Australia and big brother, the United States, gave the green light and even provided the weapons and military training to Indonesian soldiers.

Successive Australian governments, both Labor and Liberal, kept supporting the Indonesian occupation of East Timor until January this year. Prime Minister John Howard made the U-turn because of a weak and an unpopular administration of President B J Habibie in Jakarta. Such a drastic change does not necessarily means a change of heart.

Indonesia economically and politically is still too big and too important to be compared with the tiny East Timor.

Last but not least for you to consider in your mind game is the United States of America. The future of your country partly depends on what Washington decides. It recently endorsed the gist of a proposal by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan for the UN to take control of all government functions in East Timor and rebuild the infrastructure in the battered province.

The plan is pretty similar to the Cambodian model. In March 1992, the UN took over administrative functions in Cambodia after an international agreement ended years of civil war. The operation lasted until September 1993, involved 19,000 troops, police officers and administrators, and cost US$1.66 billion.

But Cambodia today is not as democratic and institutionally as strong as many have expected. Critics said many UN officers had no commitment to build a democratic Cambodia. Many simply wanted to make a living out of Cambodia, pocketing the large $130 daily allowance and even keeping Khmer mistresses.

Why does the UN need to have such a massive presence in East Timor. The New York Times provides a clever explanation. It editorialised that the forces opposed to East Timor independence, Indonesia's military and its allied militias, "were too slow to let go of East Timor".

By contrast, "Indonesia's civil administration -- the police, the judges, the officials who ran the water and electric utilities -- disappeared too fast".

The question is to what extend you could minimise the presence of UN officials in East Timor? To what extend could the leaders of East Timor have a wide-ranging discussion on the future democracy with minimum supervision by the UN? What is going to be the philosophy of an independent East Timor? Is it going to be a parliamentary or a presidential system? How many political parties? What is the political threshold? What about the protection of civil liberty?

You have to think economy. During the Indonesian rule East Timor produced about 10 per cent of its gross national product. But East Timor is a relatively small country of 800,000 people. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are very likely to assist.

In a Washington meeting earlier this month, the international money lenders invited Xanana and his comrade-in-arms Jose Ramos-Horta, the Nobel peace laureate, to meet world financial chiefs for talks about rebuilding their devastated nation.

The meeting ended with pledges from 18 countries and 10 aid agencies expressing strong support for a plan to jump start reconstruction and development.

Easier said than done. But let's play the game! Who knows, you might have a good scenario and the perfect solution to this complex set-up. If so, you should send your advice to either Annan or Xanana, their minds are on these very issues right now.

Andreas Harsono is The Nation's Jakarta correspondent who is currently on a Harvard Fellowship in Cambridge.

Monday, September 27, 1999

Journalist's Death Shows Who Controls E Timor

by Andreas Harsono

(AR) BOSTON -- He sent an e-mail message to more than three dozen correspondents earlier this month, asking them whether they would like to jointly charter a plane to fly them from the Indonesian of capital Jakarta to the riot-torn Dili in East Timor.

"You only get on the list if you put down $476. If there are 78 or 100 seats the price goes down to possibly $420," wrote reporter Sander Thoenes.

That was typical of Thoenes' style. The 30-year-old reporter, who died in Dili on Tuesday, never hesitated to take on such extra work to help others do their reporting.

His chartered plane full of journalists landed in Dili early that day. Like most of his colleagues, he had a room at the Turismo, the hotel which has been commandeered as a media center by the Australian Army. He dropped off his baggage, located a motorcycle driver, and immediately went to work.

His body was found mutilated on Wednesday morning in Becora, a suburb just outside of Dili.

Most of the foreign soldiers do not speak the local language or even know what kind of strange land they are working in now. "A sad day for everyone," said Jakarta correspondent Jeremy Wagstaff of the Asian Wall Street Journal.

Thoenes was the Jakarta correspondent of the London-based Financial Times daily. He also wrote regularly for the Amsterdam-based Vrij Nederland, the Dutch political magazine. He spoke fluent Russian and Indonesian and was virtually bilingual in English and Dutch.

The Times editorialized, "Thoenes was an excellent correspondent. He had a fierce determination to get to the heart of a story, and to report with accuracy and authority. His death is a terrible blow."

But the circumstances of his death are still unclear, although it is confirmed that he was riding on a motorbike with a local driver towards Becora on Tuesday afternoon.

Driver Florindo da Conceicao Araujo said he and Thoenes tried to flee when they spotted a checkpoint manned by at least six armed men wearing dark green Indonesian army uniforms. They were members of the notorious pro-Indonesia militias.

"I told the journalist to hang on tight and I tried to turn around and they started shooting, pa-pa-pa-pa, 10 or 20 times," Araujo told the New York Times. A tire was hit and the two men fell. The driver ran, pursued by some of the armed men. "I saw the journalist looking like he was asleep on the ground," the driver said back in Dili.

More than 12 hours later United Nations-sanctioned peacekeepers found Thoenes' body behind a burned-out house on Wednesday. It had apparently been dragged. An ear was slashed. A notebook and a pen lay beside it.

Indonesian officers in East Timor confirmed the death, saying that an autopsy had revealed that Thoenes died from blows by sharp instruments in his chest and said no gunshot wounds were found on his body. "There is a stab wound on his left chest," said Maj. Gen. Kiki Syahnakri, an Indonesian officer in charge of withdrawing Indonesian soldiers from East Timor.

In a different place, the militias also ambushed Jon Swain of the London-based Sunday Times and American photographer Chip Hires. They escaped into the bush and were rescued in the early hours of Wednesday morning by Australian troops backed by helicopter support.

Both Indonesian and UN forces promised to investigate the violence. But it is hard to believe that the Indonesian military -- which had six times broken its earlier promises to bring order to East Timor -- has the political will to arrest and sacrifice its own men in the interest of justice for a dead foreign correspondent. The UN forces have also just arrived in the area. Most of the foreign soldiers do not speak the local language or even know what kind of strange land they are working in now.

It is a public knowledge that the Indonesian military has trained and organized the militia since the 1970's to help Indonesian officers control this internationally-disputed territory. They intensified the effort in January when Indonesian President B.J. Habibie agreed to conduct an UN-sponsored referendum in East Timor, hoping that the militias could do something to discourage voters from exercising their rights.

But that plan turned sour. Around 78 percent of the voters voted for independence. Resentment has since been building against foreigners and journalists like Thoenes on the part of the pro-Indonesian militias.

"We East Timorese are thirsty for the blood of white people," said militia leader Eurico Guterres last week. Guterres, the leader of the Dili-based Aitarak group, really did mean it, saying that it is better to divide East Timor into two areas: the independent one and the Indonesian one. His statement and the killing obviously showed that the militias continue to operate under central direction from their masters in the Indonesian army. It also takes the militia tactics against foreign citizens to a new level.

Thoenes, indeed, knew very well about all those risks and threats. Yet he was the first to try to organize his many friends to jointly charter a plane to go to Dili when no commercial flights were able to take them there. He knows the devastated city very well and just two hours after putting away his baggage, he got into a motorcycle to take a look around town.

Now all depend on the international community to put pressure on Jakarta to arrest the murderers of Sander Thoenes. As a practical matter, it is not difficult to locate a group of armed men who were assigned on a certain night to guard an official roadblock in Becora. Officers like Syahnakri, a veteran of the East Timor war, could easily order the arrest of the suspects.

The journalist might be dead, but it is wrong to assume that the Indonesian military and their militias have succeded in discouraging journalists, both Indonesian and foreign reporters, from covering the violence in Dili. If Thoenes had a second chance, he would very likely send another e-mail and ask other journalists to go to Dili with him.

Andreas Harsono is an Indonesian journalist on a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University

Saturday, August 07, 1999

Dewan Pers dan Ombudsman dalam RUU Pers



Oleh Andreas Harsono
Institut Studi Arus Informasi


JAKARTA -- Kejadiannya bermula di Jeuram, sekitar 275 km selatan Banda Aceh, akhir Mei 1999. Golkar adakan kampanye dan mendatangkan politikus Abdul Gafur dari Jakarta. Namun tampaknya tidak semua orang Aceh suka dengan pertemuan itu.

Harian Kompas memberitakan sebelum Gafur bicara, kampanye itu sudah berakhir. Batu-batu berterbangan. Seorang pengurus Golkar mencoba tenangkan massa. Mobil Kijang milik Golkar dibakar massa sehingga Gafur terpaksa menyelamatkan diri dengan "mobil lain." Kompas menaruh berita itu sebagai headline di halaman satu: "Kampanye Golkar di Aceh Barat: Rusuh, Abdul Gafur Selamat."

Sehari sesudahnya, Kemala Motik, isteri Gafur yang ikut ke Aceh, melayangkan surat protes kepada Kompas. Menurut Motik, "keadaan memang tidak mengijinkan" namun mereka berdua turun panggung "seraya melambaikan tangan dan bersalaman dengan massa rakyat yang berkerumun." Kalau keadaannya seseram berita Kompas, apakah mungkin Gafur dan rombongan berleha-leha meninggalkan panggung? Menurut Motik, Kompas memuat "pemberitaan yang amat berat sebelah."

Ini hanya satu dari puluhan, bahkan mungkin ratusan, ketidakakuratan berita pers di Indonesia. Dari Kompas dan Tempo, dua penerbitan paling berpengaruh di Indonesia, hingga tabloid-tabloid sensasional, dari RCTI yang swasta hingga TVRI yang pemerintah, selalu muncul berita-berita yang dituduh tidak akurat. Syukur kalau para editor memahami persoalan dan memberikan hak jawab yang layak kepada sumber-sumber mereka.

Namun yang sering terjadi adalah persoalan ini tak jelas penyelesaiannya. Mekanisme penyelesaian bisa berlapis-lapis dari yang paling sederhana (hak jawab) hingga yang paling rumit dan mahal (sidang pengadilan). Ada yang terkatung-katung dalam prosedur hukum yang tidak jelas. Namun banyak juga yang mencapai kesepakatan kabur di belakang pintu. Mungkin minta maaf. Mungkin main gertak.

Apalagi sejak jatuhnya presiden Suharto bulan Mei 1998, pers jadi lebih leluasa dalam bekerja. Koran-koran lebih lugas dalam buat berita. Televisi dan radio juga berlomba lomba memperbaiki dirinya. Namun keluhan anggota-anggota masyarakat terhadap berita berita pers yang tidak akurat, bahkan yang sensasional, juga deras mengalir.
Wartawan-wartawan baru cenderung bekerja tergesa-gesa dengan sarana dan anggaran terbatas sehingga membuat kesalahan lebih sering.

Dulu ketika Suharto berkuasa, kesalahan-kesalahan ini dipantau oleh Departemen Penerangan atau kantor-kantor pemerintah dan militer lainnya. Bila ada wartawan yang salah, langsung saja pemerintah mengambil tindakan. Ada yang sekedar teguran. Namun ada yang vonis mati dengan pembredelan. Kekuasaan pemerintah ini dikorupsi sehingga penafsiran salah atau benar menjadi monopoli pemerintah. Pengalaman itu berlalu dengan sangat menyakitkan karena timbulnya korban-korban semacam mingguan Tempo, harian Indonesia Raya dan lain-lain.

RUU soal Dewan Pers dan Ombudsman

Dengan berlalunya era Suharto, seyogyanya Indonesia mencari cara-cara baru untuk mengatasi ketidakakuratan berita maupun penyalahgunaan pers. Masyarakat harus terlibat dalam mengawasi media massa. Usaha ini sudah memperlihatkan bentuk dalam dua versi RUU Pers yang sejak bulan Juli ini dibahas di Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR). Masing-masing dibuat oleh Departemen Penerangan (bersama dengan RUU Siaran dan RUU Film) dan inisiatif anggota-anggota DPR.

Dalam kedua RUU itu terdapat pasal-pasal mengenai Dewan Pers dan ombudsman untuk mengatasi persoalan macam Kemala Motik. RUU versi Departemen Penerangan hanya mencantumkan soal Dewan Pers (pasal 11). Sedangkan RUU versi usulan anggota-anggota DPR --yang sebenarnya disusun oleh Masyarakat Pers dan Penyiaran Indonesia-- mencantumkan Dewan Pers (pasal 16, pasal 17 dan pasal 19) maupun ombudsman (pasal 18).

Kata "ombudsman" berasal dari bahasa-bahasa di daerah Skandinavia. Dalam bahasa Inggris, OM-buds-man artinya kurang lebih "orang yang go-between" atau "intermediary." Dalam bahasa Indonesia kurang lebih artinya "orang yang di tengah" atau "perantara." Ombudsman biasanya bertugas menjadi perantara antara dua pihak yang bersengketa.

Kedua RUU sepakat bahwa Dewan Pers harus mandiri dari kekuasaan pemerintah. Dewan Pers ini tidak secara ex-officio dikepalai oleh Menteri Penerangan seperti yang berlaku selama era Suharto. Anggota-anggota Dewan Pers versi baru dipilih oleh organisasi-organisasi media dan ditetapkan oleh Presiden.

Dewan Pers ini terdiri dari 15 orang yang mewakili organisasi wartawan (5 orang), organisasi pemilik media (5 orang) dan pakar media massa (5 orang) yang ditunjuk oleh organisasi wartawan dan organisasi pemilik media.

Kata "ombudsman" memang tidak tersurat dicantumkan dalam RUU versi MPPI namun maksudnya jelas mengacu pada fungsi-fungsi ombudsman. Lengkapnya pasal 18 versi MPPI itu berbunyi, "(1) Dewan Pers menunjuk seorang atau lebih tokoh masyarakat di provinsi-provinsi yang dianggap perlu yang bertugas: a. Membantu Dewan Pers untuk menerima dan menyelidiki keluhan anggota masyarakat yang dirugikan oleh pemberitaan suatu media tertentu; b. Memberikan rekomendasi dan laporan penyelidikan kepada Dewan Pers maupun media yang bersangkutan. (2) Tokoh masyarakat ini hanya menindaklanjuti pengaduan dari individu bukan organisasi atau lembaga-lembaga pemerintahan."

Saya berpikir alangkah baiknya bila ide soal ombudsman dan Dewan Pers ini digodok lebih matang dan dipakai secara efisien di Indonesia. Dalam tradisi pers bebas yang lebih tua dari Indonesia, keberadaan ombudsman memang menjadi prosedur yang cukup baik buat menyelesaikan masalah macam Kemala Motik. Mereka biasanya menunjuk seorang yang berwibawa dan arief bijaksana untuk menjadi ombudsman. Ada yang terkait dengan Dewan Pers mereka. Namun ada yang total terpisah dari organisasi negara atau pemerintahan.

Swedia dan Amerika Serikat

Ada dua contoh menarik. Pertama adalah peranan ombudsman di Amerika Serikat. Kedua adalah peranan ombudsman dan Dewan Pers di Swedia.

Amerika Serikat menarik karena negara ini adalah negara dengan penduduk banyak dan beragam. Di negara raksasa ini ombudsman tidak diatur oleh negara. Tidak ada undang-undang yang mengharuskan media massa memiliki ombudsman. Namun sejumlah media massa memiliki ombudsman karena mereka merasa fungsinya diperlukan.

Swedia menarik karena negara ini memiliki ombudsman pertama kali di dunia. Mereka mengadakannya pada tahun 1960 untuk melengkapi fungsi Dewan Pers mereka yang didirikan sejak 1920. Berbeda dengan Amerika, di Swedia hanya ada satu ombudsman yang melayani kepentingan semua suratkabar di seluruh negeri Skandinavia itu. Ombudsman pertama di Amerika Serikat dibentuk oleh harian Courier Journal yang terbit di Louisville, Kentucky, tahun 1967.

Menurut Lynne Enders Glaser dalam sebuah laporan berjudul "Ombudsmen and the Bottom Line" yang diterbitkan oleh jurnal "The World and I" [Oktober 1995], tugas ombudsman dalam sebuah organisasi berita di Amerika Serikat adalah sebagai berikut:

  • Mendengarkan keluhan maupun usulan dari para pembaca;
  • Menyelidiki keluhan pembaca atau sumber berita serta menulis kolom secara teratur yang isinya mengkritik kekurangan-kekurangan suratkabarnya dan mendorong perbaikan dari segi editorial;
  • Membantu membangun kredibilitas suratkabarnya;
  • Membantu mempromosikan loyalitas para pembaca;
  • Membantu merangsang pertumbuhan sirkulasi suratkabar dan peningkatan iklan;
  • Dengan bertugas sebagai pendengar yang baik dan perantara yang jujur antara suratkabar dan anggota-anggota masyarakat yang dirugikan oleh pemberitaan suratkabarnya, ia juga berfungsi mengurangi kemungkinan gugatan hukum kepada suratkabarnya;

Memang tidak semua suratkabar di Amerika memiliki ombudsman. Menurut Glaser, yang pernah menjadi ketua Organization of News Ombudsmen (ONO), hanya sekitar 30-an dari 1600-an suratkabar di Amerika Serikat yang memiliki ombudsman. Mereka yang memiliki ombudsman antara lain: The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe dan Philadelphia Inquirer. Mereka yang menolak memiliki ombudsman antara lain: The New York Times, USA Today dan Wall Street Journal.

Salah satu cerita yang paling sering dikaitkan dengan fungsi ombudsman terjadi pada harian The Washington Post. Pada tahun 1981 suratkabar ini mengembalikan hadiah Pulitzer setelah ombudsman mereka, Bill Green, menangani reporter pemenang Pulitzer, Janet Cooke, yang ternyata mengarang keberadaan seorang tokoh utama, bocah Jimmy, dalam laporannya. Editor Washington Post Benjamin Bradlee menugaskan Green menyelidiki laporan Cooke. Cooke ternyata menipu. Bahkan riwayat hidupnya juga dipalsu. Ia mengaku mampu berbahasa Perancis dan Green mewawancarainya dalam bahasa Perancis namun gagal. Dan rekomendasi Green adalah permintaan maaf dari Washington Post kepada masyarakat pembacanya serta pengembalian hadiah Pulitzer. Bradlee menerima semua rekomendasi Green dan meminta maaf. Cooke mengundurkan diri dan tidak pernah bisa bekerja sebagai wartawan lagi.

Washington Post memang malu namun kredibilitas mereka sebagai suratkabar justru naik karena mau mengakui kesalahannya dan mengambil tindakan-tindakan tegas untuk memperbaiki diri mereka.

A.M. Rosenthal dari The New York Times berpendapat keberadaan ombudsman membuat para editor jadi malas. Mereka malas dalam melakukan koreksi terhadap kebijakan editorial mereka karena sudah ada orang lain yang melakukan pekerjaan tersebut. Alasan inilah yang membuat The New York Times, salah satu harian paling berpengaruh di dunia, menolak mempekerjakan seorang ombudsman.

Menurut Olle Stenholm, mantan ketua National Press Club, di Swedia seorang ombudsman ditunjuk oleh Dewan Pers. Berbeda dengan usulan MPPI maupun Departemen Penerangan, Dewan Pers di Swedia hanya memiliki enam anggota di mana tiga di antaranya mewakili asosiasi penerbit suratkabar, serikat buruh wartawan dan organisasi professional media (National Press Club). Tiga yang lain mewakili organisasi non media seperti pengacara serta konsumen. Dewan Pers inilah yang menunjuk seseorang untuk menjadi pressombudsman buat Swedia. Namanya disebut "pressombudsman" untuk membedakannya dengan ombudsman-ombudsman untuk urusan lain misalnya parlemen, konsumen dan sebagainya.

Tugas ombudsman di Swedia hampir mirip dengan rekan-rekannya di Amerika Serikat. Mereka menerima keluhan dari masyarakat dan menyelidikinya. Ia mendengarkan kedua belah pihak. Dari sisi suratkabar maupun dari orang yang mengeluh. Dari hasil temuannya itu, ombudsman mencoba menyelesaikannya lewat pendekatan hak jawab. Biasanya penyelesaian itu sudah cukup. Kedua belah pihak puas dan tidak ada gugatan hukum lagi. Namun bila berlarut-larut ombudsman bisa memberikan rekomendasi kepada Dewan Pers yang akan mengambil keputusan akhir.

Stenholm menekankan bahwa apabila seseorang hendak menggunakan jasa ombudsman, maka orang itu tidak boleh menggunakan pengacara dan tidak boleh menuntut ganti rugi material. Maksudnya sangat jelas. Ini urusan benar tidaknya media. Uang ganti rugi terkadang mengaburkan gugatan. Ombudsman hanya melayani tuntutan kawula alit. Ia menolak mengurusi keluhan organisasi -baik organisasi pemerintah, militer, bisnis maupun agama-atau para pejabat pemerintah. Organisasi dan pejabat publik di Swedia dianggap memiliki caranya sendiri untuk mengatasi persoalan media.

Mengapa di Swedia hanya ada satu ombudsman yang berlaku untuk semua suratkabar sedangkan di Amerika Serikat satu suratkabar memiliki satu ombudsman? Analisanya sederhana saja. Swedia adalah negara maju dengan penduduk sekitar delapan juta orang. Sedangkan Amerika Serikat adalah negara berpenduduk terpadat ketiga di dunia (setelah Cina dan India). Sulit membayangkan negara dengan penduduk hampir 300 juta jiwa ini hanya memiliki seorang ombudsman.

Ombudsman dan Indonesia

Bagaimana dengan Indonesia yang memiliki penduduk sekitar 210 juta dan lebih dari 1,000 suratkabar? Model Swedia atau model Amerika Serikat?

Kalau Indonesia hendak menerapkan model Amerika Serikat, tidak banyak organisasi berita di Indonesia yang sanggup mempekerjakan seorang ombdusman. Jangankan mencari ombudsman, mencari wartawan saja mereka masih mengalami kesulitan.

Berdasarkan survei Organization of News Ombudsmen, suratkabar Amerika Serikat yang memiliki ombudsman memiliki sirkulasi rata-rata antara 125,000 dan 400,000. Koran kecil jarang yang sanggup memiliki ombudsman. Padahal di Indonesia sirkulasi koran kecil sekali.

Namun masih mungkin bagi organisasi semacam Kompas-Gramedia untuk memiliki ombudsman cara Amerika Serikat. Kelompok media paling besar di Indonesia ini memiliki semua kemungkinan buat memasang seorang ombudsman. Selain Kompas, suratkabar besar macam Jawa Pos (Surabaya), juga memiliki kemampuan untuk memiliki ombudsman.

Model Swedia juga sulit dipakai di Indonesia mengingat skala Swedia yang kecil. Tidak mungkin buat Indonesia untuk hanya memiliki seorang ombudsman untuk melayani pembaca, pendengar dan pemirsa dari Sabang sampai Merauke.

Pekerjaan seorang ombudsman pada dasarnya adalah mendengar keluhan orang.

Bagaimana mungkin seseorang bertugas mendengarkan keluhan seorang pembaca suratkabar di Medan dan keesokan harinya harus berada di Surabaya untuk melakukan hal yang sama? Stenholm, dalam kunjungan selama satu minggu ke Indonesia bulan April 1999, berpendapat bahwa Indonesia seharusnya membangun sistem ombudsman sendiri.

Saya setuju dengan penyelesaian ala RUU Pers versi MPPI. Versi ini mengawinkan versi Swedia maupun Amerika Serikat. Versi ini menyebutkan seorang ombudsman di Indonesia dipilih oleh Dewan Pers di provinsi-provinsi di mana keberadaan seorang ombudsman dianggap perlu. Jadi wilayah kerja seorang ombudsman tak harus pada batas negara. Ia bekerja dengan batas-batas provinsi-provinsi saja.

Dengan cara kerja semacam ini, seorang pembaca yang dirugikan harian Waspada dengan mudah bisa mendatangi ombudsman yang bertugas di Medan. Seorang sumber yang dirugikan Jawa Pos atau Surabaya Post atau Surya juga dengan mudah mendatangi kantor ombudsman Surabaya. Hal yang sama bisa dilakukan di Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Semarang atau Ujungpandang. Dewan Pers hanya perlu menentukan kota-kota mana yang memberlukan ombudsman serta menunjuk ombudsman di kota tersebut. Tidak semua provinsi otomatis memiliki ombudsman.

Namun ada satu hal yang mengganggu saya dalam RUU versi MPPI itu. Mereka keberatan memakai istilah ombusdman. MPPI mungkin berpendapat bahwa ombudsman adalah istilah “asing” yang lebih baik dicarikan istilah dalam bahasa Indonesianya saja. Karena itu MPPI memakai istilah "seseorang" atau "seorang tokoh masyarakat" dalam draft yang mereka sampaikan ke DPR.

Saya bertanya pada Prof. Liek Wilardjo dari Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana serta pakar istilah umum dari Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Bahasa. Menurut Wilardjo, kalau istilah ombudsman ini hendak dipakai di Indonesia, sebaiknya dipakai saja istilah ombudsman tanpa harus dicari-cari istilahnya dalam bahasa Indonesia. "Dari Sansekerta bisa saja dicari-cari tapi saya rasa lebih baik tidak usah diubah," ujarnya.

Wilardjo punya beberapa alasan. Pertama dalam bahasa Indonesia memang belum ada konsep ombudsman. Bahasa Indonesia mengenal istilah "parampara" namun artinya lebih mirip istilah "counselor" atau "penasehat yang berimbang". Istilah ombudsman juga sudah menjadi istilah internasional. Bahasa Inggris juga menyerap istilah itu dari bahasa Swedia. Jurnal-jurnal sains juga secara luas memakai istilah ombudsman. Wilardjo juga berpendapat kata ombudsman mudah dilafalkan dalam bahasa Indonesia dan ejaannya mudah.

Menurut Wilardjo, orang yang disebut ombudsman biasanya diasosiasikan dengan seseorang yang berwibawa, memiliki integritas tinggi dan mampu buat keputusan yang arief dan bijaksana. Seorang ombudsman tidak harus seorang wartawan. "Biasanya cukup tua, bukan anak muda yang ambisius," ujar Wilardjo. "Ombudsman ini tidak harus orang yang secara teknis menguasai media. Soal-soal teknis dia bisa konsultasi, yang lebih penting, dia harus bikin keputusan yang arief dan bijaksana," kata Wilardjo.

Stenhold juga mengiyakannya. Di Swedia sendiri omdusman pertama, ketika lembaga ini didirikan tahun 1960, adalah seorang mantan hakim. Ia juga digantikan oleh seorang mantan hakim. Ketiga kalinya jabatan ini diduduki oleh seorang akademisi senior dan keempat diduduki oleh seorang pensiunan pemimpin redaksi.

Siapa yang nanti akan menjadi ombudsman-ombudsman pertama di Indonesia?

Kita tunggu saja pembahasan di ruangan-ruangan DPR. Mudah-mudahan anggota-anggota DPR memahami konsep ini dan membuat ombudsman menjadi satu institusi baru dalam dunia pers di Indonesia. Setidaknya orang bisa mengeluh kepada institusi ini daripada menyimpan dendam atau melancarkan gugatan hukum.

***


Majalah Pantau, edisi 05 - Agustus 1999

Thursday, August 05, 1999

Suharto hospitalised amidst student protests

ANDREAS HARSONO
The Nation

JAKARTA -- Former Indonesian president Suharto was hospitalised yesterday morning amidst growing public demands that he be brought to justice for granting government contracts to his children and cronies while in power.

Syahrir Muhammad, spokesman for the Pertamina hospital in southern Jakarta, told the media that Suharto had been brought to the hospital around midday for a "medical check-up", saying that the hospital had been contacted by the family earlier in the morning for an examination of the 78-year-old former leader.

Syahrir declined to elaborate on the result of the check-up but promised to give updates to the media.

The SCTV channel, however, reported last night that Suharto had been treated at the hospital's intensive care unit on the sixth floor for what had been speculated to be a mild heart attack. He was very likely to stay the night in the state-owned hospital, the report added.

Some family members, including Suharto's eldest daughter Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, her sister Siti Hutami Adiningsih and her younger brother Hutomo Mandala Putra, were also seen entering the hospital.

One of Suharto's grandchildren, Ari Sigit, told journalists that his grandfather was in good condition, saying that the former president had been admitted to the hospital for just a "regular medical examination".

Despite repeated denials, the arrival of many relatives and VIPs prompted speculation in Jakarta that the hospital visit was not a simple medical check-up.

Former vice president Sudharmono, a long-time friend of Suharto's, and some businessmen were also seen entering the heavily guarded sixth floor.

"I also heard that he was hospitalised for a stroke, but I am still waiting," said Enggartiarso Lukito, a business associate of Bambang Trihatmodjo, Suharto's middle son, who heads the widely diversified Bimantara business group.

The health of the overweight Suharto began to attract public attention a few months after his wife, Tien Suharto, died in April 1996 of a heart attack.

Suharto had a medical check-up in a German hospital in 1997, but the German doctors declared him fit for a man of his age.

The ex-president's current stay at the Pertamina hospital has also raised questions among dozens of local and foreign journalists who flocked to the hospital yesterday. Suharto usually uses the army-owned Gatot Subroto hospital, whose doctors are more familiar with his medical record.

Suharto took power from President Sukarno in 1968 the pretext of a threat of communist insurgency and ruled the country from then on. Nationwide student protests forced him to step down last May.

He was replaced by then vice president B J Habibie, who has made several efforts to liberalise the fourth most populous country on earth while protecting his mentor Suharto from trial on charges of corruption, collusion and nepotism.

Various organisations estimate that Suharto's children amassed a fortune ranging from US$9 billion to $40 billion while their father was in power. The latest investigations by Time magazine concluded that the Suhartos had amassed $15 billion in cash, jewellery and various other forms including property investments in many locations around the world.

Suharto denied the report and filed a lawsuit against the American news weekly in a Jakarta district court earlier this month.

Friday, June 25, 1999

Ramos-Horta flying to Jakarta

ANDREAS HARSONO
The Nation

JAKARTA, 25 June 1999 -- Nobel peace laureate and exiled East Timor leader Jose Ramos-Horta is due to arrive in Indonesia tonight amid disappointment among East Timorese over a United Nations (UN) decision to delay a referendum in the province for two weeks.

Sonny Inbaraj, an assistant to Ramos-Horta, told The Nation yesterday by telephone that Ramos-Horta was due to leave New York last night, adding this visit will mark the first time the exiled leader has been in Jakarta since June 1974.

Ramos-Horta represented the Fretilin resistance group in 1974 at a meeting with the then Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik. During the meeting Malik assured Horta that ''the independence of every country is the right of every nation, with no exception for the people of East Timor''.

But Indonesia invaded East Timor in December 1975 and has occupied the former Portuguese colony since 1976. The UN, however, does not recognise Indonesia's rule over East Timor and has managed to persuade the sprawling nation to let the international body conduct a ballot on Aug 8 in which the people of East Timor will vote either for greater autonomy from Jakarta or complete independence.

Inbaraj said Indonesian Foreign Minister Ali Alatas was very likely to allow Ramos-Horta to travel to East Timor from Jakarta for a day visit, to take a look at the UN office in the province's capital of Dili, and then back to Jakarta.

''There are security concerns. The most important thing, however, is that he makes it to East Timor,'' said Inbaraj, referring to various death threats made against Ramos-Horta by pro-Indonesian militia organisations.

Alatas said on Monday that the Indonesian government would consider granting Ramos-Horta an entry visa under ''certain circumstances'', such as his attendance at the Dare II reconciliation talks.

''I never said we wouldn't grant Ramos-Horta an entry visa for the territory. The only thing I reacted against was his statement that he would go to East Timor directly from Darwin (Australia), with or without our authorisation. That's something I'll not allow. Who does he think he is?'' Alatas said.

Leading East Timorese residents abroad have been participating in the reconciliation talks, which began on Tuesday and will continue until Wednesday, in Jakarta. The reconciliation talks have become popularly known as the Dare talks after an East Timor town where the initiative was taken.

The talks are being organised by East Timor's two Catholic bishops, Carlos Ximenes Belo and Basilio de Nascimento. In the first phase, held from Tuesday until yesterday, 20 representatives of pro- and anti-independence factions resident in East Timor and Indonesia participated.

The second round of meetings will take place from Sunday until Tuesday, with participation widened to include the East Timorese diaspora. Ramos-Horta and other leaders including Joao Carrascalao and Mari Alkatiri are among the exiled East Timorese invited to the talks.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan decided on Wednesday that the UN- sponsored vote will be delayed from Aug 8 to Aug 28, citing security and logistical problems in East Timor.

The UN ballot in East Timor, projected to cost US$50 million, will involve some 600 personnel, including almost 280 unarmed police. The first contingent of police advisers arrived in the troubled territory on Tuesday from the nearby northern Australian city of Darwin.

Wednesday, June 02, 1999

Flexing their political muscles

The Nation [Bangkok]
Editorial & Opinion

After decades of being in the political wilderness, Indonesian Chinese are now seeking to make their presence felt, writes Andreas Harsono.


SEMARANG, Indonesia -- Decades of discrimination have made Chinese-descent Indonesians skeptical when talking about the relatively new political openness in the country as some of their most prominent leaders chose to join various political parties to advocate multi-culturalism in the world's largest archipelago.

''Ethnic Chinese are still traumatised by politics. They don't want to be involved in politics as they are still scared,'' said Alvin Lie, a Chinese businessman who owns the popular Nyonya Meneer medical firm, referring to various anti-Chinese riots which broke out in several Indonesian cities last year.

But Lie is not a typical Chinese. He is also a local leader of the newly-established National Mandate Party (PAN) led by opposition leader Amien Rais.

Across Semarang, other Chinese figures, with their respective business networks and constituents, now either work for exclusive Chinese organisations or are directly involved in political work. But whatever their involvement, most have turned their backs on their traditional patron, the ruling Golkar party which was the political tool of the repressive Suharto regime.

These Chinese figures are mostly successful business leaders. If they want to be involved in politics, they have two major choices: joining the exclusive Indonesian Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Party or joining other mainstream political parties whose platforms include fighting anti-Chinese discrimination.

The phrase Bhinneka Tunggal Ika literally means ''unity in diversity'', which is printed on the official seal of the Republic of Indonesia.

Daniel Budi Setiawan, who runs the Semarang-based PT Siba Surya, Indonesia's largest truck company, believes it is better for him to join the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle led by Megawati Sukarnoputri, whom most opinion polls indicate is the front runner in the race for Indonesia's next president.

''I don't think I represent the Chinese. I represent everyone who votes for the PDI-Struggle in my constituency,'' said Setiawan, adding that although he himself is a Chinese, he is not interested in taking the Chinese problem as an exclusive problem or the Chinese as a special group.

''We should not be trapped in the New Order frame of thinking,'' he quipped, referring to the self-proclaimed name of the Suharto regime. Both Lie and Setiawan are parliamentary candidates who are now busy campaigning for the Indonesian election scheduled for Monday.

Taking off his business suit and tie, Setiawan jumps on a motorcycle almost every day to roam the dozens of remote villages in the Karanganyar area close to Semarang to meet his would-be voters. Lie, on the other hand, prefers to attend bigger rallies. Clad in PAN's blue-and-white T-shirt, he regularly gives speeches to urban middle-class voters.

Chinese make up five per cent of the 1.1 million people in Semarang, Indonesia's fifth largest city and the most important city in the central part of the main island of Java.

Other Chinese figures in Semarang have other approaches. Budi Dharmawan, perhaps the most senior Chinese figure in Semarang, preferred not to officially join any political party. But it is an open secret that he is in the Megawati camp.

Dharmawan, alias Kwik Kian Djien, is a younger brother to Dutch-trained economist Kwik Kian Gie, a close aide to Megawati. Older Kwik is also a popular columnist whose pieces appear in the Kompas daily every Monday. Kwik Kian Gie is perhaps the most popular Chinese figure in Indonesia and was once labelled as the most trusted economics writer in Indonesia.

Kristanto, a veteran politician who used to help thousands of poor Chinese to overcome Indonesia's red tape and get their Indonesian passports, believed that he could do his job better by staying inside Golkar, the party which the Chinese were mostly forced to vote for during the Suharto rule.

Another Chinese leader, Adi Tresnanto, chose to join the Nation Awakening Party of Muslim leader Abdurrahman Wahid. Tresnanto took the name of Anwar Mujahid when he converted to Islam not too long ago. Meanwhile, Arief Pawiro joined the Indonesian Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Party whose official platform is an open party but in practice woos Chinese voters with Chinese messages.

All of these parties, with the exception of the Indonesian Bhinneka Tunggal Ika Party, are widely expected to receive sizable votes in the election.

''As a Golkar cadre, I'm sad to know these people are leaving Golkar. But as a Chinese politician, I'm glad that they are voluntarily participating in politics. They're players, now albeit still on the margin,'' said Kristanto. He himself decided to stay with Golkar although his move is not popular among his peers.

The on-going campaign period has been accompanied by antagonistic feelings directed not only towards Golkar's nomination of President B J Habibie as its sole presidential candidate, but also towards the ruling party itself. Golkar flags and banners have been torn down and burned throughout Indonesia, including Semarang.

Interestingly, Chinese politicians such as Kristanto, Tresnanto, Pawiro and Lie actually share similar goals on the Chinese question. They want the new government to scrap anti-Chinese regulations such as discriminative land ownership or the ban on the construction of new Chinese temples.

Suharto issued a presidential decree in 1967 which basically bans the Chinese minority from publicly displaying such cultural activities as the dragon dance or the commemoration of Confucian-related religious affairs. The racist decree is still in place today. In fact, it is usually referred to by other government officials when enacting other anti-Chinese regulations.

Lie said that his chairman, Amien Rais, had agreed to launch a party platform in which the party would try to change such racist regulations. ''We will legalise the usage of Mandarin in schools as well as other cultural activities,'' he said.

The Chinese were periodically made scapegoats during the Suharto rule. He implemented a divide-and-rule policy in which he encouraged some of his Chinese cronies to develop huge business empires in a bid to hamper politically-strong non-Chinese from exercising their economic muscle.

Dharmawan believes that younger Chinese Indonesians have no problem in being involved in politics. ''They are very active, unlike their parents.'' He estimated that if the on-going reform process goes smoothly, in the next five years, the Chinese will be blended into mainstream politics. Then there would not be any need for an ethnically-base political party.

Andreas Harsono is The Nation's Jakarta correspondent.

Thursday, May 27, 1999

Nieman Foundation Names 12 International Fellows

HARVARD GAZETTE ARCHIVES

Twelve international journalists have been named Nieman Fellows for the 1999-00 academic year. They will join 12 American journalists whose names were announced earlier in May to make up the 62nd class of Nieman Fellows.

Established in 1938, the Nieman Fellowship program is the oldest mid- career fellowship program for journalists in the world. The fellowships are awarded to working journalists of particular accomplishment and promise for an academic year of study in any part of Harvard. More than 1,000 journalists from the United States and from 69 other countries have participated in the program.

The international journalists in the new Nieman class and their areas of interest are:

Mark Chavunduka, editor, The Standard, Harare, Zimbabwe; comparative study of the media in the developed world and in developing countries. Ruth Cowan Nash Fellow; funding provided by the Nash Fund.

Dennis Cruywagen, deputy editor, Pretoria News, South Africa; democracies, young and old. Funding provided by the United States-South Africa Leadership Development Program.

Nikola Djuric, owner and manager of the banned City Radio station, Nis, Serbia; U.S. management techniques and the electronic media. Ruth Cowan Nash Fellow; funding provided by the Nash Fund.

Ragip Duran, correspondent, based in Istanbul, Turkey, Libération of Paris; media criticism and civic journalism. Partial funding provided by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute.

Benjamin Fernandez, head of the news department, SNT Continental‹Canal 9, Asuncion, Paraguay; moral values in the political process from dictatorship to democracy, media business management and regional political agreements. Knight Latin American Fellow; funding provided by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Aytul Gurtas, correspondent, based in Ankara, Turkey, ANSA (Italian News Agency); international relations, human rights, nationalism and ethnicity, and media studies. Partial funding provided by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute.

Andreas Harsono, freelance journalist, Jakarta, Indonesia; government, economics, human rights and national security issues. Funding provided by The Ford Foundation.

Tatsuya Inose, documentary program director, NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Tokyo; U.S. economic recovery, development of start-up companies and industrial competitiveness. Funding provided by NHK.

Mojgan Jalali, editor, Iran News, Tehran; American and English literature, politics and journalism. Partial funding provided by the Central Eurasia Project of the Open Society Institute.

Rakesh Kalshian, correspondent, Outlook, New Delhi, India. Geopolitical debate over climate change, technological solutions to global warming and the economic consequences. Environmental Fellow; funding provided by the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation.

Lee Kwangchool, deputy editor and anchorman, KBS (Korean Broadcasting System) Evening News, Seoul; business competition, customer service, the environment and human values. Funding provided by The Asia Foundation and The Sungkok Journalism Foundation.

Laura Lynch, national reporter, CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio, Vancouver, British Columbia; how human rights and written constitutions shape society; decision-making, ethics and economics. Martin Wise Goodman Canadian Nieman Fellow; funding provided by the Goodman Trust in Canada and the Goodman Fund in the U.S.

Wednesday, May 26, 1999

Indonesian kingmaker wants ties with India, China

THE NATION May 26, 1999, Wednesday

ANDREAS HARSONO

MEDAN -- Indonesia's kingmaker said in a television talk show on Monday evening that he would like the future democratic Indonesia to build better cooperation with Asian countries such as India and China.

Abdurrahman Wahid, chairman of Indonesia's largest Muslim group, Nahdlatul Ulama, said that these two countries were the world's most densely populated with “huge domestic markets” and technical capabilities to develop small and medium-sized business corporations.

“We could tap into not only their huge markets but also their know- how. Our economy should be based on common sense just like theirs. It should not be based on an abrupt concept like what is being implemented now,” said Wahid, referring to a programme called the “people's economy” developed by Cooperation and Small Business Minister Adi Sasono, who is a close aide to President BJ Habibie.

Critics say the programme, which basically provides for low bank interest for cooperatives and small businesses, is politically motivated as it has some anti-Chinese elements and favouritism towards groups connected to both Sasono and Habibie.

Wahid, who is affectionately known here as Gus Dur, also mentioned his eagerness to see Indonesia work with developed Asian countries such as Singapore and Japan in a bid to cooperate with Western European countries as well as the United States.

“I'm not saying that we are not going to cooperate with these Western countries, but we should give more attention to India and China,” Gus Dur said. The Muslim leader is frequently thought to have great influence over opposition leaders like Megawati Sukarnoputri of the Indonesian Democratic Party-Struggle and Amien Rais of the National Mandate Party.

The three of them earlier this month issued a communique in which they called on the public to prevent the old regime of Suharto from coming back to power in the elections scheduled for early next month.

Gus Dur is also widely respected in Indonesia's Java Island rural areas, making him an important figure for anyone who wants to rule Indonesia as well as the powerful Indonesian armed forces. The nearly blind Gus Dur, who had a mild stroke two years ago, appeared to be healthy during the 90-minute talk show on the TPI channel. It was broadcast live, received telephone callers and had a studio audience of dozens of students as well as two political commentators.

Gus Dur became emotional when political commentator Indria Samego of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences suggested that he was only indulging in rhetoric. “Come on, where were you when Suharto was in power? I was there for 15 years being trampled by Suharto, who did not want to see me as the head of the Nahdlatul Ulama. I did not see you there, sir,” said Gus Dur.

He stressed that if his group won the election the first thing that they would like to do was change the way Indonesia had been governed over the last five decades. The government should be responsible to the people, not only in rhetoric, but also in practice, he said, and the people should be able to change the government by an election.

Local parliaments should be able to elect their leaders, he said, and governors should not be able to change the results of elections and indeed should be elected by provincial parliaments in polls not subject to alteration by central government.

When a caller asked Gus Dur about his involvement in the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, a think-tank closely associated with Suharto in the 1970s and alleged to have helped suppress several local resistance movements in Indonesia, Gus Dur said that he had agreed to sit on the board of the CSIS because he believed that it had changed a lot.

He said he would like to see more Muslim figures managing the day-to- day affairs of the CSIS, adding that he was now nominating Muslim Abdurrahman, a Muslim thinker just returned from the United States, to head the body.

Many Muslim groups dislike the CSIS, which is perceived as having been widely involved in controversial policies such as the suppression of Muslim opposition parties in the 1970s. The think-tank is also considered to be a Christian-dominated organisation financed by Chinese tycoons, though it is also well known for its extensive library and economic research.

Thursday, May 20, 1999

Protesters tell Suharto to quit now

ANDREAS HARSONO
The Nation

JAKARTA, 20 May 1998 -- Tens of thousands of students camped outside the Parliament early Wednesday were clearly showing President Suharto that his surprise announcement Tuesday that he would resign after instituting reform measures was not good enough --they want him out immediately.

The crowd of young protesters, estimated Tuesday night as between 50,000 to 70,000, was swelling by the hour as more students from outlying areas poured into the capital to support the push for the President's immediate removal.

The authorities, fearing a new day of nationwide mass demonstrations Wednesday, were Tuesday night deploying extra troops and tanks close to the presidential palace.

In a move which stunned both opponents and supporters, President Suharto said Tuesday he will resign after instituting a series of reform measures, including calling an immediate general election.

Suharto announced his intentions after meeting with nine prominent Muslim figures in the Merdeka Palace earlier in the morning, including Abdurrahman Wahid, chairman of the 30-million strong Nahdlatul Ulama organisation, and Muslim scholar Nurcholish Madjid.

However, thousands of students occupying Parliament House greeted the nationally-broadcast announcement with derision.

Student protesters siezed control of the public address system in the Parliament compound and allowed speaker after speaker to denounce Suharto. The students and opposition politicians, who have been staging rallies since March, denounced the proposal, saying Suharto must resign as soon as possible.

They vowed to organise massive rallies Wednesday in Jakarta as well as other major cities to keep up the pressure.

The 77-year-old Suharto said he wants to become a pandito, or sage, after retiring from office. "'Being an ordinary citizen doesn't mean less honour than being president as long as we can contribute to the people and the country.''

During his 15-minute media briefing, Suharto described the three-step proposal in front of the nine guests and more than 50 reporters and photographers.

The reforms will start with a Cabinet reshuffle and the establishment up a reform committee, which will include university professors, intelletuals and religious leaders.

The committee is also assigned to reshape the widely-citicised laws regulating general elections, political parties, the House of Representatives and local Parliaments, monopolies and corruption.

''If deemed necessary, the committee is welcomed to draft other bills,'' Suharto said, adding that a general election will be organised shortly after the laws have been passed.

Suharto, who read a prepared text after giving the background to his thoughts, said the new Parliament is to convene and elect a new president and vice president as soon as possible.

''I myself am kapok (tired) of being president. Resignation is not an issue. I'm more than prepared to resign, but will my resignation mean that the problems will be solved? Constitutionally, it should be the vice president who takes over,'' Suharto said.

The president, however, answered his own question and said that Vice President BJ Habibie is likely to face similar problems. ''People will question his position, and it might lead to further turmoil.''

Although Suharto did not mention any time frame, both Nurcholish and legal professor Yusril Ihsa Mahendra, who is Suharto's speech writer and who also attended the meeting, told the media that the Muslim leaders and Suharto had talked about the proposal taking around six months to implement.

After completing the six-month proposal, Suharto said he will step down. ''I hereby declare that I do not want to be renominated as president again.''

Chronicling the meeting, Nucholish said he opened the discussion by telling Suharto that he has to resign as of Tuesday. ''My calculation of the crisis in based in seconds, instead of minutes, which means that the longer he stays the more serious the damage will be.''

But Suharto rejected the suggestion and asked whether his resignation would not spark further problems as people would question Habibie's position.

Wahid said the Suharto proposal is ''very positive'', and called on the students, who plan to organise mass rallies Wednesday, to cancel the demonstrations as they have already received what they want.

Another Muslim figure, Emha Ainun Najib, who last week called on Suharto to step down and even to donate his personal wealth to the state, said the proposal is the ''most moderate'' solution under the current situation.

But two other prominent figures missed the two-hour meeting -- Muslim leader Amien Rais, who is also the chairman of the 25-million strong Muhammadiyah organisation, and nationalist leader Megawati Sukarnoputri, the eldest daughter of the late President Sukarno.

Both are nationally known as outspoken critics of the government and openly challenged Suharto's re-nomination and re-election in March.

At a separate conference Tuesday, Amien, who was accompanied by Madjid, deplored the proposal and said Suharto must step down first and leave Vice President Habibie to organise the election. ''The offer lacks details. I have reached the conclusion that the reform movement would go on and on and on.''

He said the Suharto proposal is a ''cheap game to fool his own people'', calling it ''disappointing'' and showing that the aging leader is ''unrealistic...full of illusions and hallucinations''.

''Tomorrow the people will hammer the same issue -- there is no other issue but that he must step down,'' Amien Rais said.

''There is no question about tomorrow. There will be huge crowds from every walk of life, and I will join them,'' he said.

His statement was obvioulsy addressed at the thousands of students and activists nationwide to encourage them continue with their planned million-strong street rally. Amien himself will lead the rally from Parliament to the Merdeka Palace.

The students set up a bigger banner which read ''Suharto and Habibie step down now''. Clad in the colourful jackets of their respective campuses, the students vowed to continue to occupy the Parliament building until the rubber-stamp Parliament holds another convention to hold Suharto accountable.

The students held free speech forums inside and outside the building, denouncing both Suharto and Habibie. Dozens scaled the building's green dome and raised their banners.

The Parliament compound has turned into a huge bazaar with food vendors opening stalls selling everything from soft drinks to fried rice.

It is talked widely here that engineer-turn-politician Habibie is not a capable politican. He is known as a big spender, with pet projects including aircraft and ship building indutries contributing heavily to Indonesia's debts.

In a related development, House Speaker Harmoko, whose office has also been occupied by the students, held a long meeting with other factions and his four deputies. At the end of the day, Harmoko read a written statement which said that the House is to support the ''acceleration of reforms''.

According to Harmoko, a former Cabinet member and the chairman of Suharto's Golkar ruling party, the Parliament supports the principle of ''constitutional presidential succession''.

But he declined to elaborate, denying that it was a reversal of his Monday statement calling on Suharto to step down. However, Tuesday's statement obviously contradicted his initial one.

Political developments moved very fast in Jakarta nowadays. Harmoko apparently altered his opinion after military commander Gen Wiranto openly opposed calls for Suharto's resignation.

Many journalists, politicians and diplomats here believe that the armed forces is now heavily split between the more moderate camp, headed by Wiranto, and the hardliner Lt Gen Prabowo Subianto, who commands the Army's strategic and reserve command.

The speculation is that Wiranto is trying to slow the parliamentarian and student's agendas in a bid to engage the Prabowo camp. Fast reforms might put the two camps on a collision course and even result in civil war.

Javanese linguist Farida Soemargono-Labrousse of the Paris- based Institute for Studies on Oriental Languages and Civilisation, said that in the Javanese context a person who is to become a sage does not publicly state his intention to become one.

''Most importantly, a would-be sage is not someone who is morally corrupt and materially rich,'' said Soemargono-Labrousse, adding that Suharto had obviously manipulated the meaning of the Javanese pandito.

Foreign embassies in Jakarta have issued circulairs asking their citizens not to go to Jakarta's main protest area Wednesday, fearing that the protests might turn violent, as happened last week when rioters razes many parts of the capital.

The killings inflamed the protests and prompted students to occupy the Parliament building.

As if trying to meet the students' challenge, Suharto's three most loyal generals -- Lt Gen Prabowo Subianto, who is also Suharto's son-in- law, Jakarta military commander Major Gen Sjafrie Sjamsuddin and elite Kopassus commander Maj Gen Muchdie -- gathered their soldiers Tuesday in Senayan Stadium, only a kilometre from the building.

Sjamsuddin even made a show of force, circling more than a dozen tanks around the occupied Parliament building.

The two-star general also stirred up his men with nationalistic speeches, asking them to follow his orders in a bid to ''save our people and our country''.

Sunday, April 18, 1999

The Book That Killed Colonialism


Pramoedya Ananta Toer
The New York Times

About 50 years ago, at a diplomatic reception in London, one man stood out: he was short by European standards, and thin, and he wore a black fezlike hat over his white hair. From his mouth came an unending cloud of aromatic smoke that permeated the reception hall. This man was Agus Salim, the Republic of Indonesia's first Ambassador to Great Britain. Referred to in his country as the Grand Old Man, Salim was among the first generation of Indonesians to have received a Western education. In this regard, he was a rare species, for at the end of Dutch hegemony over Indonesia in 1943, no more than 3.5 percent of the country's population could read or write.

Not surprisingly, Salim's appearance and demeanor --not to mention the strange smell of his cigarettes-- quickly turned him into the center of attention. One gentleman put into words the question that was on everyone's lips: "What is that thing you're smoking, sir?"

"That, your excellency," Agus Salim is reported to have said, "is the reason for which the West conquered the world!" In fact he was smoking a kretek, an Indonesian cigarette spiced with clove, which for centuries was one of the world's most sought-after spices.

Is my tale about an Indonesian at the court of King James the greatest story of the millennium? Certainly not, though I must smile at the irreverence shown by my countryman. I include it here because it touches on what I would argue are the two most important "processes" of this millennium: the search for spices by Western countries, which brought alien nations and cultures into contact with one another for the first time; and the expansion of educational opportunities, which returned to the colonized peoples of the world a right they had been forced to forfeit under Western colonization --the right to determine their own futures.

Max Havelaar
The latter process is exemplified by what is now an almost unknown literary work: Max Havelaar, or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company, a novel by Eduard Douwes Dekker, a Dutchman, which he published in 1859 under the pseudonym Multatuli (Latin for "I have suffered greatly"). The book recounts the experiences of one Max Havelaar, an idealistic Dutch colonial official in Java. In the story, Havelaar encounters --and then rebels against-- the system of forced cultivation imposed on Indonesia's peasants by the Dutch Government.

D. H. Lawrence, in his introduction to the 1927 English translation of the novel, called it a most "irritating" work. "On the surface, Max Havelaar is a tract or a pamphlet very much in the same line as Uncle Tom's Cabin," Lawrence wrote. "Instead of 'pity the poor Negro slave' we have 'pity the poor oppressed Javanese'; with the same urgent appeal for legislation, for the Government to do something about it. Well, the [American] Government did do something about Negro slaves, and Uncle Tom's Cabin fell out of date. The Netherlands Government is also said to have done something in Java for the poor, on the strength of Multatuli's book. So that Max Havelaar became a back number."

Before telling you more about Max Havelaar and its author, I would like to go back in time, even before the start of the present millennium, to tell you about the search for spices. The key word to remember here is "religion."

For hundreds of years, spices --clove, nutmeg and pepper-- were the primary cause of religious conflict. Their value was inestimable: as food preservative (essential in the age before refrigeration), as medicine and, at a time when the variety of food was almost unfathomably limited, for taste.

In A.D. 711, Moorish forces conquered Cordoba in southern Spain. By 756, the Muslim ruler Abdar Rahman proclaimed that he had achieved his goal of spreading Islamic culture and trade throughout Spain. That country became the world's center for the study of science and the guardian of Greek and Roman learning that had been banned by the Roman Catholic Church. By controlling the land on both sides of the entrance to the Mediterranean, the Moors were also able to maintain control over trade with the East, source of spices and other important goods. Christian ships were not allowed to pass.

For several centuries, the development of the Christian countries of Europe came to a virtual standstill; all available human and economic resources were being poured into the Crusades. The Holy Wars were waged not just to reclaim Jerusalem but also to expel the Moors from Spain and, in so doing, gain control over the spice trade.

In 1236, the Catholic forces of Europe finally succeeded. Islam was pushed from Europe. To their credit, the victors refrained from vandalizing symbols of Moorish heritage. Nonetheless, revenge toward Islam continued to burn --as did the passion to drive Muslim forces from any country they reached.

The first place to fall was Ceuta in Morocco, on Africa's north coast, which, together with Gibraltar, has always served as the gateway to the Mediterranean. With this, the Europeans had established an important toehold in wresting control of the spice trade. The problem was, they had little idea where spices actually came from.

Spain and Portugal, Europe's two great seafaring nations of the time, set out to find the answer. To preserve order among Catholic countries, a line of demarcation was drawn (later made official by Pope Alexander VI in 1493), giving Spain the right to conquer all non-Christian lands to the west of the Cape Verde Islands, and Portugal the authority to take pagan countries to the east of the islands and as far as the 125th meridian (which falls near the Philippines). It was for this reason that Columbus, helmsman for the Spanish fleet, sailed west and found a continent instead of the source of spices. Portugal, on the other hand, sent its ships eastward to Africa, from which they returned laden with gold, ostrich eggs and slaves -- but no spices.

In early 1498, Vasco da Gama reached the island of Madagascar, off the coast of east Africa. There he found a guide to lead him across the Indian Ocean to the port of Calicut in southwestern India. Arriving on May 20, da Gama "discovered" India. Unfortunately for the weary sailor, he also found that of the spices he sought, only cinnamon was in abundance. To reach the true source of spices, he would have to sail thousands of miles southeast to what is now known as Indonesia and then on to the Moluccas (located, incidentally, in Spain's half of the world). Over the next century, the Portuguese forged their way southeast, consolidating Muslim-held trade routes and converting souls along the way. By the time da Gama's ships made it to the Moluccas in the middle of the 16th century, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Malaya had all been subjugated in the name of both trade and Christ.

Other travelers had visited the region before --including Marco Polo-- but it was the Portuguese who established the first permanent foreign presence. With the help of handheld firearms, Portugal quickly spread its power across the archipelago. In no time, the country controlled the spice route from beginning to end.

There was a problem, though. Portugal lacked the population required to support a maritime force capable of controlling half the non-Catholic world. As a result, it was forced to hire sailors from Germany, France and especially the Netherlands. This weakness would eventually spell the downfall of its monopoly in the spice trade.

One Dutch sailor in the Portuguese fleet, Jan Huygen van Linschoten, made extensive notes during his six years of travel throughout the archipelago. He paid particular attention to the weaknesses of his employers. Portugal, not surprisingly, had done its best to mask its vulnerabilities, but all these were exposed in 1596, when van Linschoten returned home and published a book, A Journey, or Sailing to Portugal India or East India. The book --a virtual travel guide to the region-- was quickly translated into French, English, German and Latin.

Two years after van Linschoten's work was published, the Netherlands, through a consortium of Dutch companies, sent its own fleet to Indonesia. The Dutch fleet's first attempt failed, but gradually, wave after wave of Dutch ships reached the islands, driving out the Portuguese and bringing untold wealth to the Netherlands. Lacking not only manpower but also the diplomatic stature to protect its interests, the Portuguese were unable even to put up a fight.

In part, the success of the Dutch can be attributed to their good working relationship with Java's powerful feudal lords and to their professionalism. Initially at least, they had come to trade, not to conquer / and on that basis created what was then the largest maritime emporium in the world at its seat in Batavia (now Jakarta).

Over time, however, the Dutch shippers needed military force to safeguard their monopoly. To keep international market prices high, they also limited spice production. For this reason, almost the entire populace of the Banda Islands, source of nutmeg, was exterminated in the early 17th century. The island was then stocked with European employees of the company. For field workers they brought in slaves and prisoners of war.

Also for the purpose of controlling spice production, people from the Moluccas were forcibly conscripted, placed in an armada of traditional Moluccan boats and sent off to destroy competitors' nutmeg and clove estates. Buru Island, where I was a political prisoner from 1969 to 1979, was turned from an island of agricultural estates into a vast savanna.

Let us now fast forward to the mid-19th century. As a result of the Napoleonic and Java wars, the Netherlands and the East Indies had entered an economic downturn. Sugar, coffee, tea and indigo had replaced spices as the archipelago's cash crops, but with increased domestic production and limited purchasing power abroad, they were becoming increasingly unprofitable for the Dutch consortium. To replenish profits, the Governor General, J. van den Bosch, decided that the Government must be able to guarantee long-term property rights for investors and that a fixed supply of crops should be exported every year.

To that end, van den Bosch put into effect on Java a system of forced cultivation, known as cultuurstelsel, in which farmers were obliged to surrender a portion of production from their land to the colonial Government. Through this plan, the Government was able to reverse the Netherlands' economic decline in just three years. Java, however, was turned into an agricultural sweatshop. In addition to surrendering land for Government-designated production, paying high taxes to the Dutch and "tithes" to local overlords, peasants were forbidden by law to move away from their hometowns. When famine hit or crops failed, there was literally no way out. As a result, tens of thousands of peasants died of hunger. Meanwhile, Dutch authorities and feudal lords grew richer by the day.

On Oct. 13, 1859, in Brussels, Eduard Douwes Dekker, a former employee of the Dutch Indies Government, finished Max Havelaar. Concern for the impact of the colonial policies on the Indonesian people had marked the career of Dekker, who originally studied to be a minister. When he was posted in North Sumatra, he defended a village chief who had been tortured, and unwittingly found himself on the opposite side of a courtroom from his superior. As a result, he was transferred to West Sumatra, where he protested the Government's efforts to incite ethnic rivalry. Before long, he was called back to Batavia. Only his writing skills saved him from getting the sack entirely. After a few more bumpy stops, Dekker wound up in West Java. It was there, when Dekker was 29, that his disillusionment came to a head and he resigned. Judging from his autobiographical novel, we can assume he wrote the Governor General something like this: "Your Excellency has sanctioned: The system of abuse of authority, of robbery and murder, under which the humble Javanese groans, and it is that I complain about. Your Excellency, there is blood on the pieces of silver you have saved from salary you have earned thus!" He returned to Europe --not to the Netherlands, but to Belgium, where he poured his experiences into Max Havelaar.

Dekker's style is far from refined. In depicting the cultuurstelsel he writes: ''The Government compels the worker to grow on his land what pleases it; it punishes him when he sells the crop so produced to anyone else but it; and it fixes the price it pays him. The cost of transport to Europe, via a privileged trading company, is high. The money given to the Chiefs to encourage them swells the purchase price further, and . . . since, after all, the entire business must yield a profit, this profit can be made in no other way than by paying the Javanese just enough to keep him from starving. Famine? In rich, fertile, blessed Java? Yes, reader. Only a few years ago, whole districts died of starvation. Mothers offered their children for sale to obtain food. Mothers ate their children.''

The publication of Max Havelaar in 1859 was nothing less than earth-shaking. Just as Uncle Tom's Cabin' gave ammunition to the American abolitionist movement, Max Havelaar became the weapon for a growing liberal movement in the Netherlands, which fought to bring about reform in Indonesia. Helped by Max Havelaar, the energized liberal movement was able to shame the Dutch Government into creating a new policy known as the ethical policy, the major goals of which were to promote irrigation, interisland migration and education in the Dutch Indies.

The impact of the reforms was modest at first. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, a small number of Indonesians, primarily the children of traditional rulers, were beginning to feel their effects. One of them was Agus Salim, the man with the clove cigarette, whose reading of Max Havelaar in school proved an awakening. He, along with other Indonesians educated in Dutch, fostered a movement for emancipation and freedom, which eventually led, in the 1940's, to full-scale revolution.

The Indonesian revolution not only gave birth to a new country, it also sparked the call for revolution in Africa, which in turn awakened ever more of the world's colonized peoples and signaled the end of European colonial domination. Perhaps, in a sense, it could be no other way. After all, wasn't the world colonized by Europe because of Indonesia's Spice Islands? One could say that it was Indonesia's destiny to initiate the decolonization process.

To Multatuli -- Eduard Douwes Dekker whose work sparked this process, this world owes a great debt.