Sunday, March 29, 2020

"Andreas Harsono is not well known to the public but he is very well known among a small network of human rights activists, dissident scholars, Indonesian journalists, and foreign correspondents. He is often the fixer behind their stories – unacknowledged, unassuming, unselfish. Now he has shown just what a superb chronicler he is in his own right."

Clinton Fernandes of University of New South Wales University
on Andreas Harsono's book Race, Islam and Power


Andreas Harsono meliput dampak dari tsunami 2014 di Aceh. Ombak raksasa tersebut membunuh lebih 100,000 orang dan mengakhiri perang selama tiga dekade antara Gerakan Acheh Merdeka dan Indonesia lewat perjanjian damai Helsinki pada Agustus 2015. ©Hotli Simanjuntak

Media dan Jurnalisme

Majalah Pantau
Saya pernah bekerja sebagai wartawan buat The Jakarta Post, The Nation (Bangkok) dan The Star (Kuala Lumpur). Pada 2000, selama delapan tahun, saya menyunting majalah Pantau soal media dan jurnalisme dari Jakarta.

Saya ikut mendirikan Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, Institut Studi Arus Informasi, South East Press Alliance (Bangkok) and Yayasan Pantau. Pada 1999-2000, saya belajar jurnalisme bersama Bill Kovach di Universitas Harvard. Saya makin sering meneliti dan menulis persoalan jurnalisme.


Buku dan Laporan

Monash University Publishing 2019
Saya menerbitkan dua antologi –Jurnalisme Sastrawi (2005) bersama Budi Setiyono dan “Agama” Saya Adalah Jurnalisme (2011)—serta beberapa laporan soal hak asasi manusia termasuk Prosecuting Political Aspiration: Indonesia’s Political Prisoners (2010) serta In Religion’s Name: Abuses Against Religious Minorities in Indonesia (2013). Pada 2019, saya menerbitkan buku Race, Islam and Power. Ia sebuah cerita perjalanan yang diramu dengan riset soal hak asasi manusia.

Hak Asasi Manusia

Filep Karma
Sejak 2008, saya bekerja sebagai peneliti buat Human Rights Watch, salah satu organisasi hak asasi manusia paling berpengaruh di dunia, dengan tanggungjawab soal Indonesia. Banyak menulis soal kebebasan beragama, kebebasan pers, prinsip non-diskriminasi.

Ia membuat saya banyak menulis soal diskriminasi terhadap minoritas agama di Indonesia: minoritas dalam Islam termasuk Ahmadiyah dan Syiah; minoritas non-Islam namun agama-agama yang dilindungi di Indonesia termasuk Protestan, Katholik, Buddha, Hindu dan Khong Hu Chu; minoritas agama kecil termasuk aliran kepercayaan maupun agama baru macam Millah Abraham.

Minoritas gender --termasuk perempuan serta LGBTIQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer)-- juga sering saya bahas. Secara geografis saya juga banyak menulis minoritas etnik macam Aceh, Kalimantan, Jawa, Maluku, Timor serta Papua.

Perjalanan

Chiang Mai 2018
Saya sering menulis cerita perjalanan. Saya pernah jalan dari Sabang sampai Merauke, dari Miangas sampai Rote, lebih dari 70 lokasi di Indonesia. Saya mencatat, merekam dan menulis soal tempat menarik, kisah sedih, orang menarik ... tentu saja juga makanan.

Saya juga sering menulis perjalanan di negeri jauh, dari Eropa sampai Amerika, praktis berbagai kota besar di Asia Tenggara. Paling menarik bila berjalan seorang diri, sering memakai perjalanan buat berpikir, membaca dan berbagi.

Cerita

Blog ini juga banyak memuat cerita remeh, tapi menarik, setidaknya bagi keluarga saya, soal pengalaman hidup saya, dari kegembiraan sampai kesedihan, dari kawan sampai adik, mungkin juga musuh. Saya selalu tinggal di Pulau Jawa --Jember, Lawang, Malang, Salatiga, dan Jakarta-- namun pernah bermukim di Phnom Penh dan Cambridge. Banyak cerita muncul dari semua tempat ini. Saya menganggap diri saya "orang Jakarta." Kedua anak saya lahir di Jakarta.

Hari Imlek 2019
Isteri saya, Sapariah Saturi, kelahiran Pontianak, pindah ke Jakarta buat bekerja. Kami juga punya rumah di Pontianak.

Saya juga sering mengunjungi New York, praktis setiap tahun. Ia kota perdagangan paling besar di dunia. Mungkin kawan saya di luar Indonesia, paling banyak di kota New York. Saya juga banyak kenal sudut New York sehingga banyak cerita juga muncul dari New York.

Harry Santoso died with the coronavirus infection in Jakarta

My college friend, Harry Santoso, died at a North Jakarta hospital on Thursday, March 26, after being hospitalized for five nights, with a lab confirming only earlier that Thursday that he had the coronavirus infection, his wife Indra Dewi said.

He began to feel sick –stomachache, dizziness, fever, nausea-- on March 12. He consulted his brother and nephew, who happened to be doctors themselves, diagnosing him to have typhoid. He slowed down but still helped work at his food vendor in the Sarinah mall, downtown Jakarta, on March 13, driving to buy and deliver supplies.

“Not many people wore masks then,” said Dewi.

On March 21, he decided to check in at the Pantai Indah Kapuk hospital, having a blood test, an X-ray and finally a CT scan. The doctors suspected he had contacted the coronavirus. They took his swab sample and sent it to the Ministry of Health lab (Balitbangkes). The hospital also immediately put him in the isolation ward.

Harry Santoso with wife Indra Dewi and their two children when celebrating their daughter's birthday.

His wife and two children could not get physically close to him since then. They only chatted with WhatsApp. The lab sent the result on March 26 and Harry died later that evening. Dewi only saw her husband’s body, via a video, before he was put inside a plastic bag. The three also isolated themselves, at home in Pantai Mutiara, North Jakarta, but they tested negative, still waiting for their second rapid test.

Coronavirus victims, like Harry, faced their deaths alone. He was buried at the Tegar Alur cemetery on March 27 without any ceremony, without any family member.

Today I checked the government website and saw seven confirmed virus cases in his Pluit district, North Jakarta. Harry might be the coronavirus case number 478 although Indra Dewi cannot confirm it. The website only says that positive patient is a 54-year-old man.

Dewi told me Harry was isolated with four other men, all coughing heavily. Female patients were isolated in another ward. This fact made me more cautious of the government’s data.

Indonesia is now facing a surge in coronavirus cases. The Health Ministry recorded 893 coronavirus cases on March 27 but the data is widely seen by health experts as understating the scale of infections because of a low rate of testing and a high mortality rate at 78 deaths --the highest in Southeast Asia. At least 10 Indonesian doctors have also died battling the outbreak with minimum protection, according to the Indonesian Medical Association.

Harry Santoso was born in Solo, Central Java, in 1966. He comes from an ethnic Chinese family, speaking Javanese fluently, like most Chinese in Central Java. I met Harry in 1984 when we began our engineering school at the Satya Wacana Christian University in Salatiga, Central Java. We went our separate ways after graduation.

Tantik Rahayu, another 1984 classmate, told me that Harry initially worked at PT Intikom Berlian Mustika, a part of the Salim Group. In 1994, when he married Indra Dewi, whose family owned the “Tayang Suki” restaurant, he began to enter the food industry. They set up the “Gading Aroma” seafood restaurant in Kelapa Gading area. We regularly met over the last two decades, mostly for the school reunion.

“Harry never got angry even when we get joked about him. Only a wry smile, always smiling. He never hurt his friends,” said Tantik.

In August 2016, I found in my Google Agenda that I had a lunch appointment with him plus Suwanto Gunawan, another classmate, in Harry’s restaurant. We chatted about our families, our works, but Suwanto talked about his plan to retire early, becoming a missionary in remote Papuan villages. Suwanto is a devout Evangelical Christian.

Indra Dewi remembered her husband’s devotion to their Catholic church, almost having daily prayers at their Stella Maris church, near Pantai Mutiara.

Jessie Renata, their daughter, wrote to me, “He’s the best Dad I could ever ask for. He is very loving, and he never complains. He helped me in every possible way he could throughout his life, especially in making me closer to God. He was there to celebrate every milestone I achieved, and I know, he will always be here spiritually for my future.”

They closed the seafood restaurant, setting up an outlet in the Sarinah mall earlier this year. Dewi suspected her husband got the infection prior to March 12. It could be have been at a supermarket like Superindo, at a traditional market or at the Sarinah,” said Dewi.

Dewi said the talk among her relatives, which include eight doctors, suspected that Jakarta had thousands of coronavirus cases. The official data is not able to cope with the reality in many Jakarta’s clinics and hospitals.

In February 2019, Harry Santoso (second left) visited a funeral home to pay his last respect to Suwanto Gunawan, another 1984 classmate, who died a day earlier. Suwanto was the first to die in our class. Now Harry is the second. 


Our last meeting was in February 2019 when we visited a funeral home in North Jakarta, paying our last respect to Suwanto Gunawan, the classmate, who died one day earlier because of a heart attack. Suwanto was the first to die in our class. Harry is the second. This coronavirus outbreak seems to be very personal now.

Harry is survived by his wife, two children –Jessie and her brother Jeffrey Renardi-- and two siblings, Dewi Tresnawati Santoso, who lives in Sweden, and Yudi Santoso, who lives in Canada.

Dewi wants to remember her husband as “a very simple person, very loving and serving his family and bringing us to be closer and rely on God in our lives.”

I remember him fondly today, and my love and thoughts are with his family.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Indonesia’s Silence over Xinjiang

One million Muslims detained. Mass surveillance. Political indoctrination. Separation of children.

By Maya Wang and Andreas Harsono
New Naratif

If human rights violations of this scope and scale were taking place in Europe or the United States, one would expect Muslim-majority countries, including Indonesia, to have erupted in protest. But so far, there has been little to no response. Why? Because these abuses are taking place in China.

Since 2014, the Chinese government has imposed a harsh “Strike Hard Campaign” in Xinjiang, in the northwest region of China, to “eradicate the ideological viruses” of “Islamic extremism” from the Turkic Muslim population. This campaign dramatically escalates Beijing’s longstanding conflation of Uyghur and other Muslims’ distinct cultural, linguistic, and religious identity with political disloyalty or “separatism”. The Chinese government considers a wide variety of religious behaviour to be “extremist”—such as giving babies certain religious names such as Medina, or wearing a veil.

Over the past two years, rights activists, journalists and academics have revealed the suffering of Xinjiang’s Muslims, who are being forced to shed their ethnic and religious identity. They are being transformed, through mass arbitrary detention in “political education” camps and other measures, into a new people loyal only to the Chinese Communist Party.

Over the past two years, rights activists, journalists and academics have revealed the suffering of Xinjiang’s Muslims, who are being forced to shed their ethnic and religious identity.

Despite overwhelming evidence from satellite imagery, official documents, and policing apps that demonstrate severe repression in Xinjiang, the Chinese government claims that these are malicious and false allegations. It lamely contends that people there are “voluntarily” attending “training centres,” that they have now “graduated,” and that that everyone in Xinjiang enjoys religious freedom.

The Chinese government has made an apparent bid to win the support of governments, religious figures, and civil society groups in Muslim-majority nations, including Indonesia, for its policies in Xinjiang. The relationships Chinese authorities have cultivated over the years in Indonesia—including through donations and other financial support, according to a December Wall Street Journal report—have proved useful.

The Chinese government invited top clerics from Nahdlatul Ulama, the Muhammadiyah, the Indonesian Ulama Council, and some Islamic political parties to China and Xinjiang on guided tours of the camps, following which many of the invitees sang the praises of the Chinese government for its version of what is happening in Xinjiang. Many also criticised “American media” or “Western organisations” for mischaracterising problems there. In the meantime, the Indonesian government has largely stayed silent on Xinjiang, insisting it is a domestic matter for the Chinese authorities.

Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah responded to the Wall Street Journal allegations that China manipulated them to ensure their silence by issuing a strongly worded statement on Xinjiang, calling on the Chinese government to “stop all violations of human rights especially against the Uyghur community, under whatever pretext.”

Last week, the Jakarta-based Narasi TV aired a ground-breaking investigative report on Xinjiang. Using satellite imagery, it showed how the Chinese government had manipulated those guided tours by removing barbed wires and other incriminating evidence prior to the visits, and by showing the Indonesian delegations only limited sections of Xinjiang’s political education camps.

Meanwhile, some Muslim and other nongovernmental groups, including the militant Islamic Defenders Front, expressed strong concerns. In December, there were protests against China’s treatment of Muslims outside China’s embassy in Jakarta. But many of these groups have also rallied against Indonesia’s religious minorities such as Christians and Ahmadiyya, so their actions seem more self-interested than principled.

Indonesia—which has played a positive role in the Rohingya refugee crisis—has shown its commitment to promoting rights elsewhere in the region. It should do no less for China’s Muslims.

The Indonesian government, along with the Nahdlatul Ulama and Muhammadiyah, should speak out against China’s treatment of Xinjiang’s Muslims and call for a fact-finding mission to the region, as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights has urged. They should demand information and the release of wrongfully detained Islamic scholars Hebibulla Tohti and Mohammed Salih Hajim, and Salih’s family members and associates. Some media reported Salih’s death in 2018, but a close family member says he is still alive. Such steps would be most effective if taken with other Muslim-majority countries, such as Malaysia, or members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

All governments dealing with China need to consider economic and security issues along with human rights concerns. But Indonesia—which has played a positive role in the Rohingya refugee crisis—has shown its commitment to promoting rights elsewhere in the region. It should do no less for China’s Muslims.

Dua wartawan muda dari Medan raih penghargaan jurnalisme

Penghargaan Oktovianus Pogau 2020 untuk keberanian dalam jurnalisme

JAKARTA, 31 Januari 2019 — Yael Sinaga dan Widiya Hastuti, dua wartawan muda dari Medan, meraih Penghargaan Oktovianus Pogau untuk keberanian dalam jurnalisme dari Yayasan Pantau.

Sinaga dan Hastuti berani lakukan gugatan hukum terhadap rektor Universitas Sumatera Utara Runtung Sitepu, yang memberhentikan semua awak redaksi, thus membredel media mahasiswa Suara USU pada Maret 2019. Mereka kalah di pengadilan tata usaha negara Medan. Namun upaya hukum tersebut sebuah langkah monumental buat kebebasan pers mahasiswa di Indonesia.

“Menang atau kalah soal biasa tapi perjuangan buat menegakkan kebebasan pers, kebebasan akademik serta hak individu LGBT adalah sumbangan yang penting buat masyarakat Medan,” kata Andreas Harsono, ketua dewan juri penghargaan Pogau dari Yayasan Pantau.

Widiya Hastuti dan Yael Sinaga, dengan seragam
Suara USU, lakukan gugatan hukum
.
Mulanya, Sinaga menulis sebuah cerita fiksi soal perempuan lesbian jatuh cinta, Semua Menolak Kehadiran Diriku di Dekatnya,” yang diterbitkan website Suara USU, tempat mereka bekerja, pada 12 Maret 2019. Suara USU mengangkat cerita tersebut dalam Instagram mereka pada 18 Maret.

Rektor USU Runtung Sitepu memanggil awak redaksi Suara USU pada 25 Maret. Sitepu menuduh cerita tersebut mengandung “pornografi” dan “homoseksualitas.” Sitepu mengatakan dua hal tersebut bertentangan dengan “nilai-nilai” kampus. Dia minta dihapus dari website Suara USU.

Para wartawan membantah tuduhan Sitepu. Mereka menolak hapus. Sinaga mengatakan pihak universitas lebih khawatir cerita itu akan memicu diskusi tentang diskriminasi dan intimidasi yang meluas terhadap individu lesbian, gay, biseksual, transgender (LGBT) di Indonesia. Hasilnya, Sitepu memecat semua, total 18 orang, awak redaksi Suara USU.

Sinaga dan Hastuti menyurati Sitepu namun tak ada jawaban. Pada 22 Juni 2019, Rektorat Universitas Sumatera Utara membongkar sekretariat Suara USU dengan alasan renovasi. Pembongkaran dilakukan tanpa pemberitahuan. Ini membuat petugas keamanan dan pekerja melempar barang-barang milik redaksi Suara USU.  

Pada 22 Juni 2019, ruang redaksi Suara USU dibongkar dengan alasan renovasi. Barang-barang dikeluarkan, dari berbagai cetakan sampai komputer dan dokumen.
Kepanikan terhadap LGBT muncul sejak akhir 2015 ketika provinsi Aceh, yang berdekatan dengan Sumatera Utara, mulai jalankan hukum pidana berdasarkan “syariah Islam” dimana homoseksualitas bisa dihukum cambuk. Pada 2016, berbagai pernyataan anti-LGBT dilontarkan pejabat pemerintah di Jakarta. Ia berkembang menjadi ancaman, kebencian dan diskriminasi terhadap individu LGBT. Ratusan razia terjadi. Puluhan individu dihukum.

Sinaga dan Hastuti melayangkan gugatan pembredelan Suara USU pada 14 Agustus 2019 dengan bantuan Perhimpunan Badan Bantuan Hukum dan Advokasi Rakyat Sumatera Utara di PTUN Medan.

Selama sidang berlangsung, berbagai aksi protes mewarnai gugatan tersebut. Bukan saja di Medan namun juga di berbagai kota di Pulau Jawa dan Sumatera.

Pada 14 November 2019, PTUN Medan menolak gugatan mereka. Hakim mengatakan manajemen kampus “… memiliki tugas dan wewenang melaksanakan penyelenggaraan pendidikan, penelitian dan pengabdian kepada masyarakat … dapat melakukan tindakan berupa mengeluarkan kebijakan dalam terjadinya pro dan kontra terkait cerpen tersebut."

Sinaga dan Hastuti menerima keputusan pengadilan. Mereka tak banding dengan pertimbangan mereka masih kuliah. Mereka berpendapat perjuangan dilanjutkan dengan cara-cara baru. 

Andreas Harsono mengatakan, “Kami hormat pada pergulatan serta kesulitan Sinaga dan Hastuti dalam melawan pembredelan media mereka. Mereka kehilangan Suara USU. Mereka merasa pahit kebebasan pers dan kemerdekaan akademik dibungkam di Medan namun ia takkan mati.”

Yael Sinaga dan Widiya Hastuti 

Yael Sinaga, kelahiran Medan pada Oktober 1997, adalah mahasiswa USU jurusan antropologi. Sinaga bergabung dengan Suara USU pada 2017. Saat pembredelan Suara USU, Sinaga adalah pemimpin umumnya.

Widiya Hastuti, kelahiran Takengon, Aceh, pada Maret 1998, adalah mahasiswa USU jurusan ilmu sejarah. Hastuti bergabung dengan Suara USU pada 2016. Saat pembredelan Suara USU, Hastuti adalah pemimpin redaksinya.

Menurut Perhimpunan Pers Mahasiswa Indonesia, pada 2017-2019 terjadi 18 kasus pelanggaran terhadap berbagai ruang redaksi mahasiswa di Indonesia. Paling banyak adalah pejabat kampus dengan jumlah 18 kali termasuk Runtung Sitepu di Medan.

Pembredelan pers mahasiswa merusak kebebasan pers
dan kebebasan akademik kampus Universitas
Sumatera Utara di Medan
Tabloid Suara USU terbit pertama pada 1995. Pada 2008, mereka mulai merambah internet dengan domain suarausu.co. Penerbitan tabloid bisa terbit tiga atau empat kali setahun sejak 2011. Tabloid berhenti cetak pada 2016. Website praktis tutup sejak 2019.

“Demokrasi lahir bersama jurnalisme. Ia juga akan mati bersama-sama. Salah satu hambatan demokrasi Indonesia adalah terlalu sering terjadi pembredelan. Jarang ada media, baik media umum maupun kampus, berumur panjang di Indonesia. Bandingkan dengan Harvard Crimson, sesama pers mahasiswa dari Universitas Harvard, terbit tanpa putus sejak 1873,” kata Harsono.

Yayasan Pantau memandang gugatan hukum Sinaga dan Hastuti sejalan dengan visi Penghargaan Oktovianus Pogau, yang ingin terus merawat keberanian dalam jurnalisme seiring dengan tujuan Yayasan Pantau guna meningkatkan mutu jurnalisme di Indonesia.

Tentang Penghargaan Pogau 

Nama Oktovianus Pogau, diambil dari seorang wartawan-cum-aktivis Papua, lahir di Sugapa, kelahiran 5 Agustus 1992. Pogau meninggal usia 23 tahun pada 31 Januari 2016 di Jayapura.

Pada Oktober 2011, Pogau pernah melaporkan kekerasan terhadap ratusan orang ketika berlangsung Kongres Papua III di Jayapura. Tiga orang meninggal dan lima dipenjara dengan vonis makar. 

Oktovianus Pogau bersama Andreas Harsono di sebuah
kedai kopi di Jakarta pada Agustus 2015
.
Dia dipukuli polisi ketika meliput demonstrasi di Manokwari pada Oktober 2012. Pogau juga sering menulis pembatasan wartawan internasional meliput di Papua Barat sejak 1965. Dia juga memprotes pembatasan pada wartawan etnik Papua maupun digunakannya pekerjaan wartawan buat kegiatan mata-mata.

Juri dari penghargaan ini lima orang: Alexander Mering (Gerakan Jurnalisme Kampung di Kalimantan Barat, Pontianak), Coen Husain Pontoh (Indo Progress, New York), Made Ali (Jikalahari, Pekanbaru), Yuliana Lantipo (Jubi, Jayapura) dan Andreas Harsono.

Made Ali dan Andreas Harsono, ketika mahasiswa, juga terlibat dengan pers mahasiswa, masing-masing di Bahana Mahasiswa (Universitas Riau, Pekanbaru) serta Imbas (Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana, Salatiga). Harsono juga pernah jadi Nieman Fellow untuk Jurnalisme di Harvard.