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It appears that the identity of Jilbab Hitam, the nom de plume of a putative ex-Tempo reporter who caused an uproar in the Indonesian online and journalism communities when he accused Tempo and its editors of trying to shake down Mandiri in a posting in Kompasiana.com.
That posting has been taken down long ago but in another posting in Kompasiana by Sutomo Paguchi who describes himself as a citizen journalist in Padang, and advocate, a nonpartisan and who writes for recreational purposes, he claims that Jilbab Hitam has been identified as an ex-Detik.com reporter who had been dismissed for shaking down Karakatau Steel when it had its IPO.
The author also posts a press release, apparently from the writer’s workplace IDEA Group, saying that the writer has admitted to being Jilbab Hitam. They said they were not involved in the authorship of the controversial article and that the writer has left its employment.
All very good. But that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from trying to hunt down what it perceives to be the true motive of Jilbab Hitam. The speculation was that he was paid to do the hatchet job. But by whom?
Nobody is naming any names yet but one or a few will probably crop up soon.
We at Maverick are looking for a senior media relations specialist.
The job requires the specialist to know the who’s who of the Indonesian media and of the foreign media corps in Jakarta and developments in the media industry. The specialist will act as an internal consultant to Maverick in developing and executing media and engagement strategies on behalf of clients.
The specialist will also oversee the production of Maverick’s monthly newsletter Media Flash (latest copy below), that chronicles the goings on in the media industry.
So job, in short, involves schmoozing but lots of hard work and intelligence in winning the trust and confidence of top journalists, so that when we go to them they know that we have a solid and newsworthy story to tell.
The job is probably most suitable for a journalist working in the local media with 4-5 years experience, who wants a change of scene or who wants to acquire skills in addition to news gathering and writing to put in their resumes. If interested please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interesting article but isn’t an important question being left out in this article here? What sort of spatial planning does the city have or implements to allow that many malls? If only journalists would ask the right questions, we can hope to have a better city.
Just when you thought Jakarta may sink beneath the combined mass of the city’s 130-plus malls, a further 313,500 square meters of retail space has been announced, with just three large malls contributing 83 percent of the increase.
The largest of them is St. Moritz in West Jakarta with 129,200 square meters, followed by Ciputra World in South Jakarta and Green Bay Mall in West Jakarta, with 78,000 and 52,000 square meters respectively. St. Moritz is being built by Lippo Karawaci, while Agung Podomoro is the developer of Green Bay Mall.
Ferry Salanto, the director of research at Colliers International Indonesia, said that the developers of those three malls have strategies in place to secure tenants for their malls.
“If they hadn’t secured tenants they would not build the malls,” Ferry said last week.
Local developers have their own flagship tenants when opening up new malls, such as Lippo’s deal with Debenhams and Parkson, and Ciputra’s with Lotte.
Artadinata Djangkar, a director at Ciputra Property, which is responsible for Ciputra World, said the entrance of foreign retailers has increased demand for more retailing space in Jakarta.
In the past two years alone, several international retailers have set sail for Indonesia. Besides South Korea’s Lotte, there is Parkson from Malaysia, Japan’s Aeon and Thailand’s Sentral Group.
The presence of these chains creates lucrative business opportunities for local developers. Ciputra World 1 will cost its developer Ciputra $130 million, while Lippo’s St. Moritz mall is a part of the $1.2 billion mixed-use St. Mortiz Penthouses & Residences project.
Setyo Maharso, the chairman of Indonesian Real Estate Association (REI), said that the strong demand for retailing space is tracking a steadily growing property market. “It is because [malls] are the supporting facilities of neighborhoods and cities,” he added.
With strong economic growth and rising purchasing power, Setyo predicted that the property market will grow between 10 percent and 15 percent this year.
Colliers’ Ferry said that property developers still needed to advance their understanding of mall management in order to generate more revenue.
He said that there are two types of mall in operation in Jakarta, the first being “community malls,” whose visitors are mostly people from the surrounding area, and “destination malls,” which hope to attract visitors from distant areas.
Ferry said that mall construction will slow next year, due to the Jakarta government’s ongoing moratorium on mall construction, introduced in 2011.
He added the policy would encourage more malls to be constructed in regions surrounding Jakarta.
Ferry said that the four regions surrounding Jakarta tended to take turns to host new malls.
“This year, there are more new malls in Bekasi [then the other three regions]. We predict that in 2014, there will be more new malls in Tangerang,” Ferry said.
Journalists, especially foreign ones are funny creatures. Often you can hear them decry the low level of English being used in their local host countries. Redundancies are one of the biggest sins. Yet when these journalists are forced into roles of responsibility beyond their usual journalistic duties they seem to revert, like all of us into bureaucrat-ese.
So it is with some amusement that Unspun read the agenda for the Annual General Meeting of the august Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club:
AGENDA FOR JFCC ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, DECEMBER 8, 2012
1. An accountability report by JFCC President Joe Cochrane.
2. An accountability report by Treasurer Zubaidah NH, which shall include the previous year’s financial accounts.
3. Executive Committee proposals.
4. Member proposals.
5. The election of the new Executive Committee for 2013.
6. Any other business.
Any member who wishes to submit a proposal may do so provided it is submitted at least one week prior to the meeting.
“Any other business” is a discussion forum of ideas not submitted in formal proposals. No vote may be taken on these items.
“Accountability report”? What is a report, theoretically, if not an exercise in accountability? Would not a mere “report” suffice? Would attaching an “accountable” in front of the report help spin things to make them seem more accountable, open and transparent? Or make them seem like they doth protesth too much?
Hmmm. Unspun is probably splitting hairs and being pedantic, but these are foreign journalists who are supposed to be setting a good example for the rest of us in using the International Language (until Chinese replaces it a few years down the line).
Unspun was exceptionally skeptical of The Jakarta Globe when rumors began circulating of its imminent launch. At the heart of the skepticism were two questions:
Firstly, whether hard-nosed business like the Riyadis were prepared to keep pumping the huge amounts of investment into the paper before before can turn profitable (experts have speculated that this takes a minimum of five years)?
Secondly, would the Riyadis allow the type of hard hitting and/or incisive journalism that is required if you wanted to grow a viable newspaper?
Unspun’s skepticism then (this and other posts) led many journalists (who are usually the most defensive people when put under the spotlight) to brand Unspun a skeptic and cynic.
Fair comments and it looked for a time like they were right. Against Unspun’s initial predictions The Jakarta Globe actually began to look and read a lot better than its established rival, the grand old dame The Jakarta Post.
For a while there they had the Post on a run, even forcing the Post to redesign itself from a stodgy paper into a merely ugly paper (its new masthead has the looks only a mother could love).
Its stories also seemed more focussed and much better written. The Jakarta Globe also began to win awards, much more than The Jakarta Post, at least until two years ago.
Unspun was forced to eat humble pie, cancelled his subscription to the Post and signed up for The Globe. The Globe, it seemed, was settling into the right orbit.
Probably about three or four months ago, something began to get awry. The choice of news stories began to get wonky. The writing was still better than the Post but the quality was going down.
Then, a month or two ago the Globe sunk to a new low by changing its format from broadsheet to Berliner, a size slightly broader than the usual tabloid. The change in size is a fair move. (ironically, that format was what the original editors had recommended but wasn’t adopted for reasons unclear to Unspun). It saves paper and money and it is also more user friendly.
But along with the change also came a peculiar new sense. There was the front page story of a satellite launch by the Lippo Group (that owns the paper). It was news, but front page?
The front pages also seemed to adopt a magazine approach, splashing a large photo on the page with little teasers here and there. Unspun’s reaction is that if he wanted to read a magazine he would buy one, but he’d expect much more than a daily.
Then of course there is the famous Lady Gaga fiasco where the Jakarta Globe was not content to make a fool of itself editorial (see Did The Jakarta Globe’s editorial go gaga over Lady Gaga?); the next day it went one step further with an even more ludicrous defense of its editorial (see The Jakarta Globe mounts a defensive commentary on its editorial)
Readers may wonder why the Globe seems to be imploding when for a while it was going so well. Insiders claim that the backers were running out of money, hence the downsizing of the paper.
New people were also brought in to helm the paper and these new people didn’t care much about journalism or were patient enough to realize that good journalism can be viable, if you give it time and enough nurturing. They were in for the short term results and to stop the haemorrage.
So all the key people who started the paper and made it something to be reckoned with have been sidelined, ostensibly into other positions to increase the berita Satu offerings – but obviously so that they would no longer call the shots in Editorial at the Globe.
All this is a shame as some good competition would have kept the Jakarta Post on its toes and improved the state of journalism in this country. But there you have it. Given the choice between bread today and bread tomorrow and even the staunchest Christian might succumb to temptation.
Now Unspun has to eat humble pie again and cancel his subscription to the Globe and resubscribe to the Post. What other choice if there for the reader at home in the English language living in Indonesia?
Why does anyone or any organization call a news conference in the first place, instead of merely sending out a news release?
The reason for calling a news conference, for most people who are media savvy, will be that it gives the spokesperson the chance to deliver his messages effectively and to be able to explain and clarify any questions that the media can have.
The caveat here is that the spokesperson should be well-trained to deliver his messages and able to answer the most difficult of questions in a manner that is credible, authoritative and likable. If the spokesperson does not have such skills then its best not to expose him to journalists.
Being credible is a challenge to many politicians, government servants and corporations. Their institutions have built a culture where they communicate through institution-speak: the self-centered, which-kool-aid-are-they-drinking kind of speech in which they seem to be perfect or at least can do now wrong and that the public is eminently interested in their accomplishments.
The public generally does not care, of course, unless the spokesperson says something that connects with, or is relevant to, them. And if they feel that someone is trying to take them out for a spin they react with anger and criticisms.
The journalists, who act as the intermediary who must filter and process the information given by spokespersons and render them into a news story worthy of the public’s attention are even more skeptical. Who wouldn’t be, if faced by an endless stream of incompetent spokespersons and PR Flacks trying to pitch them newsless and self-interested stories day in and day out?
Faced with such skepticism the spokesperson has to perform to expectations and sure something new or something important or face their wrath, in the form of critical news reports and comments.
So it is strange that the President’s PR minders have decided to recommend to him to call a news conference when they are not prepared to say anything important or new, and when the President has obviously not been trained at all in the art and science of being a spokesperson.
And to top it all the minders tried to stage-manage the whole event with predetermined questions, as if anyone, especially the skeptical journalists, would be taken in and think that SBY is a forthcoming president.
Instead of enhancing his image the minders have once again degraded it. Which begs the question: which kool aid fountain have they been drinking from?
It was a rare chance, albeit rehearsed, for journalists to ask questions directly of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but the nationally televised Q&A on Monday night still came off as stilted and emasculated.
Preparations for the event, which was initially scheduled to take place last Friday, began a week earlier when journalists assigned to the State Palace were asked to submit questions they wanted the president to answer.
All of the questions were screened by Julian Aldrin Pasha, the president’s spokesman, who asked two journalists to tone down their questions and rejected a query on the controversial Bank Century bailout.
“Please use soft words and don’t mention names,” he said to one of the reporters.
“Don’t ask that question,” he told another. “The president will address it directly on another occasion, but not tonight.”
That the president’s answers had been prepared long before journalists could pose them on Monday night was evident when Yudhoyono consulted a bundle of notes after someone asked him a question about national debt.
But even with all the screening and preparation, observers noted, Yudhoyono’s answers were tepid and lacked any insight.
Ikrar Nusa Bhakti, a political analyst from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), pointed out that when Yudhoyono spoke about the talk he had with Muhammad Nazaruddin shortly before the former Democratic Party treasurer fled the country, he revealed nothing the public did not already know.
Yudhoyono said he asked Nazaruddin to resign due to the corruption allegations against him, but that Nazaruddin, who is now on trial for bid-rigging, refused.
“It’s a shame that he didn’t go into detail about it, because this is a really important issue that is still unfolding,” Ikrar said. “I thought that when Yudhoyono wanted to do the Q&A he was going to address some urgent points that we didn’t know about, but it was all just stale news.”
Critics were also not satisfied with the president’s answer about mounting allegations of human rights abuses by security forces.
In his seven years as president, Yudhoyono said, Indonesia has “never experienced any incident of human rights violations that could be considered serious.”
That contradicts findings by the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) about gross rights abuses in a deadly crackdown on a peaceful protest in Papua last year, as well as indications of violations in a host of clashes over land disputes across the country.
Yudhoyono said that in the latter cases, including in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, and Mesuji, Lampung, he was fully committed to resolving all claims of rights violations.
“I stress that there will be no leniency and the cases will be resolved,” he said. “The government is responding swiftly to prevent future clashes.”
His oft-repeated call for a resolution also cropped up in his response to the standoff over the GKI Yasmin church in Bogor that the local administration has continued to seal off in violation of a Supreme Court ruling.
“I hope the regional leaders, the mayor and governor, can fully resolve this case,” Yudhoyono said. “What’s important is that the case is resolved so that it doesn’t drag on for years.”
The beleaguered church congregation has been forced to hold services, including for Christmas and Easter, on the street or in parishioners’ homes since 2008 as a result of the state’s illegal seizure of their property.
Yudhoyono said he was committed to ending the dispute “so that Christians, along with Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians and others, can practice their faith in an orderly, calm and peaceful manner.”
Sympathy for the FPI
On the issue of banning the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), the notorious hard-line organization known for its intimidation of and attacks on minority groups, the president’s answer was just as noncommittal.
“Organizations in Indonesia are allowed to operate on the basis of freedom of speech and freedom of action,” he said.
“Any organization that violates the laws must face due legal process, with no exceptions.”
The FPI has frequently raided stores selling alcoholic drinks and destroyed property as part of its self-professed moral crusade. Its members have rarely faced prosecution for these acts.
Yudhoyono defended the FPI’s right to organize, saying he was concerned about a recent development in which members of the indigenous Dayak tribe in Central Kalimantan took over a local airport to block the arrival of FPI members.
“Why should others be allowed to carry out their activities while our brothers in the FPI are forbidden?,” he said.
He said he discussed the incident with Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, hoping to determine whether the 1985 Law on Mass Organizations should be amended to prevent that kind of protest. He also called on regional officials to improve security conditions to avoid more “acts of provocation” such as the one against the FPI.
Iberamsjah, a political analyst from the University of Indonesia, said he was disappointed with a lack of meaningful or informative answers from the president.
Given the quality of Yudhoyono’s responses, Iberamsjah questioned why the president would even need to prepare for the Q&A beforehand.
He said the presence of the full cabinet at the Q&A made the event too formal, saying it could have been more down-to-earth as a gathering simply between Yudhoyono and the journalists.
“Just look at Barack Obama,” Iberamsjah said.
“At press conferences, he’s rarely accompanied by a complete set of ministers because he has high self-confidence.”
Competition is a good thing. It allows us to compare the competitors and see which is better and which needs improvement.
No thanks to the very slack circulation department of The Jakarta Globe, Unspun did not get his Saturday paper delivered to his house until this morning. Unspun, however, is master at caging a free read and managed to get hold of a copy of the Globe’s competitor The Jakarta Post at a Coffee Bean outlet in FX.
Then my jaw dropped. I felt surreal reading the headline story on the front page news of the Post. I did not know whether to laugh or cry in anguish and frustration.
The day before dozens of people were injured when a queue for discounted Blackberry Bellagios turned ugly. Apparently hundreds of people turned up, they were not handled well and a crush occurred when the crowd was told that the Blackberrys had run out.
Unspun read the paper hungrily, expected to be informed how it happened, who had been injured, what the organizers had to say and how something like that could have been allowed to happen, you know basic journalism stuff called the 5Ws that you usually include in for hard news stories.
Instead Unspun was treated to the condescending opinions of a Singapore sociologist (no local sociologists to quote?) on the “mental underdevelopment” of Indonesia’s middle class.
Here’s a screen grab of the story or read the full story here:
Being someone with a full social life, Unspun went to do other things and did not think much about it until this morning when the Globe’s ever efficient circulation department delivered him Saturday’s paper.
There, on the front page, was actually a story with some decent reporting of the incident. See for yourself in this screen grab or go to the story’s link to read the full article.
This is all very intriguing so Unspun decided to do a bit of a count to see what the reporters from both papers have been up to.
The results are that to write that story The Globe‘s reporters interviewed:
2 Jakarta Police spokespersons, 2 customers, 1 Blackberry staffer and 1 security guard.
The fact that they were there was also reflected on what those in the journalistic trade call “color” – details that you can only observe if you were there or if you were very good at cribbing- in the story. (e.g. “The rules have changed,” said Karim, who had been queuing since early Friday morning).
And the number of people interviewed for The Post‘s story: 1 non-local (Singaporean) sociologist.
So where’s the mental under development?