I met Ghafur and ran into him often in the days when I first got to Indonesia as a foreign correspondent for Asia Times in 1996. Didn’t see that much of him after 1997 because he moved to the business side but I remember him as being knowledgeable and easy to get along with. RIP Ghafur.
Former AP Newsman Ghafur Fadyl Dies in Indonesia
Ghafur Fadyl, a journalist who covered Indonesian dictator Suharto’s time in power and founded the Associated Press’ Jakarta bureau, has died. He was 65.
Ghafur died Saturday at a Jakarta hospital after years of treatment for cancer and kidney failure, said his wife, Farida Fadyl.
Ghafur joined the AP in 1966, the year after Suharto came to power in a bloody coup, and he oversaw coverage of most of the dictator’s brutal 32-year government. He covered rebellions in Papua, Aceh and East Timor that saw hundreds of thousands killed.
In 1997, he was named the Jakarta bureau’s sales and marketing manger and was instrumental in expanding AP’s business in the country.
Even after his move to the business side, colleagues said he remained an informed newsman who could be counted on to deliver his views with humor and humanity.
“At a time of great upheaval in Indonesian history, I knew I could always call Ghafur or walk into his office to soak up his institutional knowledge and broad perspective on fast-moving and often opaque events,” said Chris Torchia, AP’s former news editor in Jakarta who covered the country in the late 1990s.
Ghafur retired in 2007 after 41 years with AP.
He is survived by his wife, two sons, a daughter and a grandson.
“Ghafur was a class act. His kindness, good humor and keen intellect will be sorely missed, as will his friendship,” said Steve Gutkin, AP’s former Jakarta bureau chief.