An Open Letter to The Jakarta Post: on Wiji Thukul

Posted: April 2, 2014 in Solidaritas

Dear Jakarta Post,

I am a loyal reader of the newspaper. For years, I have been reading The Jakarta Post because I know it defends and fight for the upholding of human rights principals and democratization in Indonesia.

However, I noticed that your paper only put a small portion of coverage when it comes to the victim of disappearance, Wiji Thukul while in the past two months I know that there were so many activities had been conducted related to Wiji Thukul.

To tell you the truth, I was confused to find out that the Post was the only media that did not cover recently big interests from Indonesian new generation on Indonesian great poet Wiji Thukul. The poet has been turned into an icon by a youth social movement called Barisan Pengingat, which among others has painted the city’s walls with the missing poet’s poems and face (Jakarta and Jogja!).

The movement aiming at raising awareness among young generation so that they can be critical and stand against injustice and human rights violations has become massive as it has attracted thousands followers across the country since its declaration in January. Then, my confusion grew into frustration when I also found out that again the Post is the only media that didn’t cover a decision by ASEAN Literary Festival to make Wiji Thukul’s poems as the theme for the whole festival.

And most disappointingly, the Post also failed to even give space for the announcement that Wiji Thukul won ASEAN Literary Award 2014 for his dedication in fighting injustice and totalitarian regime, while helping Indonesia move into democracy, among values owned and held high by the Post.

This is the first time ever that Wiji Thukul receives a literary award, let alone it’s at the regional level in front of Indonesian state officials and other countries’ diplomats. The government through Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa for the first time made a positive statement acknowledging Wiji Thukul as a hero for sacrificing his life to fight against the injustice at opening ceremony of the festival on March 21.

As a loyal reader, I am just wondering whether the Post just doesn’t care about Wiji Thukul or deliberately wants to wipe out the missing poet from the Indonesian history even when his worthiness and causes have been acknowledged by the region.

I remember a time when I met with almost all your senior editor, including Pak Endy Bayuni after the Irshad Manji bruhaha. He eloquently said about The Jakarta Post’ principal on upholding human rights issues. Therefore, through this open letter, I really would like to get your explanation.

Thank you.

Tunggal Pawestri


additional note:

1. I sent this letter on Wednesday 26 March 2014 to your editorial e-mail and received no response.

2. Under the freedom of media principal, I do understand that The Jakarta Post has the right to decide whether a news is worthy enough or not to be covered. But again, for me, no single coverage on Wiji Thukul in your paper is really something.

  1. Toto says:

    I do appreciete to you Tunggal Pawestri. Lanjutkan,,

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