Sunday, July 28, 2002

Six Years after Indonesia's Revolution, Another Stirs

by Andreas Harsono

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- On Friday night I visited the office once again. It was more like a devotional visit to a sacred place than a mere reporting assignment. The compound was like the one I remembered, and it was pretty crowded. About 500 to 700 people, mostly clad in red or black, the traditional color of nationalist activists in Indonesia, were watching a documentary movie showing on the screen there.

A stage stood at the center of the compound with a long red banner which read "People's Stage." The atmosphere was rather quiet but relaxed. They sat on newspapers, men and women watching the movie and whispering, as if trying not to disturb others.

The documentary was entitled "Upeti Untuk Penguasa, Nasi Basi Untuk Rakyat," which literally translated means "A Bribe for the Rulers, Spoiled Rice for the People." It was directed by Lexy Rambadeta, a former student activist, who has made an impressive documentary about corruption in Indonesia.

I also saw street vendors selling "kacang rebus" (steamed peanuts) or "siomai" in the compound. Siomai is rather similar to the Chinese dish dim sum. It is popular throughout Jakarta but usually without pork, to cater to its many Muslim consumers, and has a lot of cabbages. The kacang rebus seller used a kerosene light and hot steam billowed out of his mountain of peanuts.

This office is the former headquarters of President Megawati Sukarnoputri's Indonesian Democratic Party. My last visit here took place six years ago, when Megawati was still an opposition leader then pushed into a corner by President Suharto's authoritarian regime.

Unlike in a genuine democracy, in which anyone can challenge the ruling politicians, Suharto never tolerated opposition. In a complicated but brutal political maneuver, Suharto ordered his men to topple Megawati as party chairwoman at a government-backed party congress in June 1996.

In an obvious bid to divide and rule, Suharto appointed Soerjadi, an old nationalist politician - and, ironically, Megawati's mentor - to replace her in the sham congress. Soerjadi happily took the offer. But Megawati and her loyal supporters challenged Soerjadi and fierce political tug of war took place. This office I am in became the symbol of who the real chairman was.

The office is actually in a dilapidated colonial building. It is located on Jalan Diponegoro in the elite Menteng area of Jakarta. It is a one-story and white-painted house that was cheaply renovated a number of times to create more rooms. It has some very small toilets, a rather spacious public kitchen, a spartan meeting room, and a rather gloomy atmosphere.

Many grassroots activists immediately made the office a symbol of resistance. Between June and July 1996, they held daily open forums here with anti-Soerjadi, anti-military and anti-Suharto speeches, mixed with music, dancing, and other forms of arts.

A little known but radical student group, the People's Democratic Party, joined forces with Megawati and spearheaded the campaign. These young people were mostly very bright. They knew how to formulate campaign materials and to publish leaflets. They also used Marxist analysis of comprehensive length to view social and political events.

Like many other journalists, I was covering the event with great enthusiasm. I came to their gatherings almost every other day and soon became familiar with this office. Reporters easily sauntered in and out. I once peeped into the kitchen and was surprised to see the amount of food they prepared every day. I interviewed Megawati and her lieutenants, like economist Kwik Kian Gie, Laksamana Sukardi, Sutardjo Surjoguritno, and Sutjipto, several times. They became the darlings of the media, both foreign and local.

Suharto would not tolerate such open opposition and ordered his military men to take over the building. In the wee hours of July 27, 1996, when it was still dark, thugs and police officers clad in red shirts stormed the building and tried to get rid of the activists, who fiercely defended their headquarters. A stone-throwing battle began and after more than eight hours of fighting, the police managed to take over the office.

On July 28, at midday, thousands and thousands of activists arrived at the scene and confronted the police, unwilling to accept the fact that a peaceful rally was suppressed violently. The police used tear gas to disperse them. People grew more angry. Several government buildings were burned down. Jakarta descened into chaos. Data from Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights shows that five people were killed, 149 people were injured, and 23 people went missing during the attack.

I happened to be at the scene that day. I watched as Megawati and her lieutenants encouraged their supporters to file a lawsuit against the Suharto government and Soerjadi. Soerjadi, and also Jakarta's military commander, Sutiyoso, were named as suspects in the case.

The all-powerful Suharto did not take it seriously. He showered both men with gifts and promotions, appointing Sutiyoso the governor of Jakarta in late 1997. The legal process slowly ground away for months, until May 1998, when Suharto was forced to step down amid the Asian economic crisis.

Megawati's fate was drastically altered. She became the ruling elite. Last year she was appointed president to replace President Abdurrahman Wahid who was impeached by the parliament. Her aides like Kwik, Sukardi, Surjoguritno, Sutjipto and many others are now VIPs. Kwik and Sukardi are cabinet members. Sutjipto and Surjoguritno are in the parliament.

Despite the fact that most of those Megawati supporters are members of the ruling elite, the legal process itself is still in limbo. Hundreds of party workers found that their request for justice was not fulfilled. Backroom deals, compromises with the military, and money in politics are speculated to be the reasons.

With the legal process still incomplete, Megawati declared the party's support for the nomination of Sutiyoso in the next gubernatorial election. She ordered her people to vote for Sutiyoso and threatened to take "disciplinary action" against those who vote democratically in accordance to their conscience.

On Saturday morning, apparently trying to question her rule, thousands of people turned up at the office. Just like six years ago, they held a forum here with anti-military and anti-Suharto speeches, mixed with music, dancing, and other forms of art.

Those participating in the event included those injured in the attack, as well as the families of those killed. Also present were families and victims of other similar tragedies such as the May 1998 violence, the Semanggi incidents in 1998 and 1999, and various student organizations.

"Megawati had made a mistake. She does not follow the ruling of the party that it is going to seek justice over the July 27 incident," said party activist Thomas Resmol, who helped guarded this office six years ago until the very last minute.

"The nomination of Sutiyoso hurts the victims of the July 27 incident. We are all disappointed about the emergence of authoritarianism within the party's central board," said a party legislator, Hariyanto Taslam.

Interestingly, speaker after speaker blamed the party central board but stopped short of condemning Megawati herself. In fact, a fight almost took place Saturday when student activists, who were an important of the anti-Suharto protest six years ago, brought in posters of Megawati and Vice President Hamzah Haz crossed with thick red lines in the middle. Some students also changed her name, from Megawati Sukarnoputri or Megawati the daughter of Sukarno, into "Megawati Suhartoputri."

Ultimately, the student activists decided to back off. They may be disappointed with the strange reception that they received in the compound this Saturday. It demonstrated only the fact that on the grassroots level, Megawati still has her popularity. People blame her liutenants instead of her. The students believe that Megawati is now being corrupted as well.

The smell of steamed peanuts and Indonesian dim sum was the same. The office is also the same, but the political circumstances have changed. It is up to Megawati now to make policy corrections regarding Sutiyoso and other corruption-prone politicians.

If she does not, I am afraid, it is only a matter of time prior to Megawati finding herself in the same place as Suharto six years ago.

During the early, tumultuous days of the Indonesian "People's Revolution," American Reporter Correspondent Andreas Harsono reported exclusively in The American Reporter that the Suharto government planned to oust pro-democracy leader Megawati Sukarnoputri from her PDI post, and for three weeks afterwards was forced into hiding as security police searched his home and offices. He was honored in 1999 as a Neiman International Fellow, and after a year of study at Harvard returned to Indonesia to continue his career in journalism. In the interim, Megawati became president of the world's fourth largest nation. This is his memoir of those heady days.

Monday, July 01, 2002

Kompas Berita, Kompas Iklan

Andreas Harsono
Pantau, 1 Juli 2002

BAGAIMANA kebijakan harian Kompas dalam membedakan iklan dan berita? Di atas kertas tentu beda. Iklan ya iklan. Berita ya berita.

Tapi tunggu dulu. Sekali dua, namanya juga organisasi besar, ada saja berita-berita yang menimbulkan tanda tanya.

Contoh pertama. Ketika pemain sepak bola Patrick Kluivert menikah pada Juli 2000, Kompas menurunkan foto kedua mempelai plus pesan yang mengatakan buku tentang Kluivert sudah diterbitkan dan dijual oleh harian Kompas.

Coba baca caption-nya: Bintang sepak bola Belanda Patrick Kluivert bersama istrinya Angela van Wanrooij, berpakaian putih-putih seusai pernikahan di Westerkerk, Amsterdam (Belanda) hari Sabtu (8/7). Foto Kluivert ketika bermain di Euro 2000, menjadi wajah depan buku "Malaikat Kecil" di Mulut Gawang terbitan harian Kompas, beredar dan dijual hari ini.

Kompas yang menerbitkan bukunya, Kompas pula yang memberitakan pernikahan Kluivert. Tapi itu mungkin kesalahan kecil.

Contoh kedua. Coba perhatikan foto Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana, putri sulung mantan presiden Soeharto, ketika mengunjungi adiknya, Hutomo Mandala Putra, buronan nomor satu negeri ini, yang ditangkap polisi 28 Oktober lalu.

Kok kebetulan, foto Rukmana yang sedang dikerubuti puluhan wartawan, dicetak Kompas hanya dengan satu mikrofon di depan mulutnya. Mikrofon itu berlogo TV7. Kalau kejadian serupa dibandingkan dengan tayangan televisi, orang akan sadar bahwa Rukmana saat itu dikelilingi banyak mikrofon.

Soalnya jadi beda bila orang tahu TV7, televisi baru milik Kelompok Kompas Gramedia.

Iklan terselubung? Wallahualam.

Kegiatan public relation dari TV7? Wallahualam.

Tapi ada yang jauh lebih serius ketimbang perkara kecil-kecil itu. Perhatikan rubrik Seremonia yang terbit tiap Rabu dan Minggu. Penampilannya dengan font atau jenis huruf Times yang sama persis dengan font halaman-halaman berita Kompas.

Judul maupun body text. Caption foto dan credit title foto. Semua sama dengan berita.

Tapi rubrik yang isinya acara gunting pita, kegiatan sosial, prestasi baru, atau pesta ini-itu, semacam halaman social circle di kebanyakan suratkabar internasional, adalah iklan 100 persen. Orang harus membayar untuk dimuat Seremonia. Di sana pun ada petunjuk cara beriklan lewat Seremonia.

Rubrik Seremonia setidaknya menipu mata pembaca agar mengiranya berita. Dalam bahasa jurnalisme, Kompas bisa dianggap melanggar prinsip pagar api (fire wall) yang mewajibkan media serius memisahkan urusan bisnis dan editorial.

Apa komentar Kompas?

"Wah, nggak begitu nangkap saya apa maksudnya? Apa ada pendapat begitu tentang Kompas?" kata Jakob Oetama, pemimpin umum Kompas, ketika ditanya pada November lalu.

"Tapi mestinya ada yang menimbulkan salah paham itu karena sekarang ada advertorial. Apalagi itu ya, saya nggak terlalu tahu. Coba tanya ke Saudara Agung saja," kata Oetama.

Agung yang dimaksud Agung Adiprasetyo, pemimpin perusahaan Kompas. Sayang, Agung sedang ada di Spanyol ketika dihubungi majalah ini.

David T. Hill dari Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, akademisi yang menulis buku The Press in New Order Indonesia, berpendapat praktik macam itu memang bisa dipertanyakan.

"Media yang mau dianggap setting the standard harus siap dikritik. Misalnya Kompas dianggap sebagai standard setter, newspaper of record, selalu akurat, paling berimbang dalam liputannya. Itu jadi tolak ukur koran-koran yang lain. Kalau standard setter itu tak mau mengaku salah, itu jadi preseden yang jelek buat koran-koran lain. Sama juga dengan Tempo," kata Hill.

Hill menganggap majalah Tempo dan harian Kompas sebagai dua dari beberapa media terbaik Indonesia.

Omong-omong soal Jakob Oetama, yang baru saja merayakan ulang tahun ke-70, ditanya bagaimana rencana regenerasi kepemimpinan Kompas.

Ini pertanyaan biasa saja karena Oetama sendiri berulang kali mengangkat isu regenerasi di Kelompok Kompas Gramedia.

"Ya pasti ada ya. Tapi barangkali orang macam saya ini leading the way. Sedang dengan rencana persiapan penggantinya, kalau saya, kami itu di masing-masing unit itu, sudah ada sejumlah orang yang sudah dipersiapkan sebagai kader. Lalu biarlah dari mereka itu ada yang tumbuh. Lalu yang paling penting, itu sistem yang harus dikonsolidasikan."

Dan kader-kader ini pula yang tampaknya harus mengatasi campurnya berita dan iklan. Mungkin inilah tantangan generasi Kompas berikutnya. Ketika tekanan dari pemerintah sudah berkurang, maka tekanan babak kedua adalah dunia usaha. Prinsip pagar api pun jadi prioritas. *

Soeharto, Bali Post, dan Sebuah Pernikahan

Andreas Harsono
Pantau, 1 Juli 2002

HERU Bahtiar Arifin seorang wartawan muda yang kritis, umurnya 28 tahun, pandai bicara, suka cengingisan, orangnya glundang-glundung, pokoknya ramai, dan sedikit usil. Cara berpakaiannya alamak! Tak wangi, klombrot, pakai baju seenaknya sendiri.

Heru orang yang kelihatannya mengutamakan isi ketimbang kulit. Ia punya situs web sederhana. Di sana terpampang foto Heru. Bibirnya tebal, rambutnya sedikit bergelombang, kulitnya agak gelap. Dan ada foto gadis manis, pakai jilbab, mungkin pacarnya?

Tapi coba perhatikan alamat emailnya:

"Itu singkatan diancuk," gurau seorang rekannya dari harian Bali Post.

Anda orang Jawa Timur? Diancuk setara dengan fuck you.

Heru memang asal Jawa Timur. "Itu singkatan cakap, ulet, kreatif," kata Heru, cengingisan.

Kreativitas inilah yang mungkin mendorong Heru menyelinap masuk resepsi pernikahan Danty Rukmana-Adrianto Supoyo Mei lalu di kediaman keluarga Soeharto di daerah Menteng, Jakarta Pusat.

Heru masuk ke resepsi itu tanpa undangan. Ia tahu dari seorang sumber kalau keluarga Soeharto bakal mantu. Heru tak bersedia menyebutkan nama sumber itu tapi ia seorang pengusaha dan terhitung dekat dengan keluarga Cendana walau "tak ada pertalian saudara."

Ketika Heru sampai tempat resepsi, ia menelepon si kenalan lewat telepon seluler. Heru pun disuruh masuk. Tanpa ba-bi-bu Heru melewati para penerima tamu yang mungkin mengira Heru seorang undangan.

Danty anak kedua pasangan Indra-Siti Hardiyanti Rukmana. Siti Hardiyanti atau Mbak Tutut putri sulung Soeharto. Adrianto pengusaha sarang burung walet. Mereka menikah sesudah Danty cerai dengan suami pertamanya, Triono Jayanegara Hanafi, yang resepsinya diadakan megah 28 Maret 2000 di Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, Jakarta.

Tak ada yang salah dengan pernikahan kedua ini. Kawin-cerai biasa dalam kehidupan manusia. Usai resepsi Heru kembali ke kantor biro Jakarta Bali Post di bilangan Palmerah Barat dan setor naskah pada Agus Astapa, koordinator liputan. Naskah langsung dikirim ke Denpasar.

Bali Post menurunkan laporan Heru keesokan harinya di halaman satu "Laporan Bali Post Langsung dari Cendana: Soeharto Ditemani Wiranto dan Hartono."

Cukup panjang 1.700 kata dan gambarannya detail. "Danty duduk berdampingan dengan Adri. Keduanya cukup mesra bersanding. Meski Danty -janda tanpa anak ini- terlihat cukup berbobot. Gemuk mirip (pelawak) Tika Panggabean. Kontras dengan Adri yang tampan dan gagah dengan bodi ideal."

"Tubuhnya yang kelebihan lemak itu dibalut dengan kebaya putih gading dipadu jarik warna sepadan dan berkonde besar. Agar tampak lebih eksotik, rambutnya dibalut bunga-bunga melati yang sudah dirajut menjadi untaian panjang hingga ke dadanya yang besar. Gincunya cukup merah dengan bedak tebal menempel pipinya."

Laporan Heru penuh dengan detail. Baik soal tamu yang hadir hingga warna tenda. Tapi yang paling menarik soal Soeharto. Mantan presiden berumur 80 tahun ini disebutnya tenang, gagah, bertubuh "gemuk ideal," tak pucat, tak loyo, dan duduk dengan punggung tegak.

Jalannya sedikit cepat untuk ukuran pria seusianya. Soeharto juga menyantap hidangan dengan biasa. Ia memberi ciuman kepada mempelai, berbicara dengan besan, tersenyum, berfoto bersama tamu, dan berbincang-bincang dengan Wiranto dan Hartono, dua pensiunan jenderal yang pernah memimpin angkatan darat.

Padahal selama ini orang tahunya Soeharto sakit berat sesuai hasil pemeriksaan dokter. Itu sebabnya pengadilan tak bisa menjangkau Soeharto. Banyak yang curiga sakitnya Soeharto dibuat-buat. Laporan Bali Post dikutip banyak media lain, dalam maupun luar negeri, sehingga buntutnya, Soeharto pun akan diperiksa lagi. Kalau sehat ya diadili. Kalau sakit ya tetap tak diadili.

Maksud si kenalan, tentu saja, Heru menulis yang baik-baik soal pernikahan Danty. Namanya juga orang menikah. Tak elok menulis yang tak sedap. Wartawan lain tak boleh masuk. Semua menunggu di luar. Si cengingisan tak tahunya menulis kesehatan Soeharto plus masalah tak sedap lain. Mulai dari gincu tebal hingga dada besar.

"Dia marah, mengancam," kata Heru.

Heru juga mengirimkan beritanya ke sebuah komunitas maya mantan wartawan mahasiswa. Dari sana ia menyebar ke entah berapa komunitas lain.

Kantor Bali Post, baik Denpasar maupun Jakarta, menerima telepon menanyakan Heru. Dia juga sering melayani permintaan wawancara media lain. Agus Astapa mengatakan secara institusional Bali Post tak pernah menerima ancaman.

"Heru sudah dipindah ke pos lain dan sekarang sudah tidak di Jakarta lagi," ujar seorang penerima telepon Bali Post seperti ditirukan Arif Ardiansyah dari Aliansi Jurnalis Independen.

Kalau Arif terlibat di sini karena Heru minta bantuan AJI. Ia datang ke kantor AJI Jakarta dan cerita bahwa teror hanya sebatas telepon dan SMS. Bunyinya kira-kira, "Kalau Anda teruskan berita soal ini akan celaka."

Tak jelas berita sakitnya Soeharto atau tebal gincunya Danty. Yang jelas Heru kini pindah ke Denpasar.