A battle royale is raging on Twitter between established online media houses including kompas.com, kumparan.com and professional buzzer @Kurawa and so far there have been threats of legal suits, applying the Draconian UU ITE and others. The story unfolded on January 5 when Rudy Valinka, aka … Continue reading Kurawa, Big Media, and the GoodBener who would be president
For years we have been using Achmad Zaky interview tapes to demonstrate to media training clients what not to do when speaking to the Press or, in his case, to anybody really.
That’s because when he speaks before cameras the performance is usually cringeworthy for any PR professional. he usually comes across as cavalier, gruff and unpolished and saying things that aren’t always relevant and sometimes comes across as offensive.
Now, of course, Achmad Zaky has outdone himself.
Yesterday he took to Twitter to rail against the Government’s allocation to R&D:
Bad enough that he implicitly criticized the government for paying lip service to Industry 4.0 (if anyone knows what 4.0 is supposed to mean please let me) without providing the funding for it.
The biggest mistake in his Tweet, however, is when her seeming attacked the president personally in this sensitive runup to the president elections. “Hopefully, the next president would be able to increase (the funding).”
This Tweet caused a Tweetstorm from Jokowi’s supporters using the hashtag #uninstallbukalapak They feel particularly betrayed because Jokowi recently graced Bukalapak’s anniversary celebrations and appeared side-by-side with Zaky before the Press.
This is a favor, according to industry insiders, that Ahmad Zaky has been clamoring for. They say that Zaky has been envious his rival, Tokopedia’s William Tanuwijaya who seem to get much more attention from the media and the President than Zaky. So when Zaky was seen criticising the president and asking for his ouster with the “next president” reference, it hurt particularly bad.
When the criticisms started raining down on him Zaky tried to explain his way out of it with another Tweets:
It’s one of those non-apology apologies where he explained how his intent was misconstrued and misrepresented.
He then tried the maaf word, but here again it was a non-apology apology. “Sorry to Jokowi’s supporters if there was anything amiss in my words has caused any misconceptions. I know Jokowi as someone who is good whom I consider like my own father (we’re both from Solo). Recently he visited us at our anniversary. There is certainly no ill will in my Tweet.
It is apologies like this that infuriate people. Explanations and justifications instead of an admission of wrong doing followed by an absence of proper contrition. It would not be surprising if it inflames rather than abates the fury of Jakowi’s supporters toward Zaky.
Indonesia has few unicorns as it is and Bukalapak provides a good challenge to Tokopedia and other other players. It would be a pity if Zaky’s lack of communications skills sinks his promising business.
He should get professional help, or at least listen to his professional PR advisors if they are any good, before he utters the next public statement or Tweets his thoughts. And while he’s at it he would do well to also whether his gruff communication style has rubbed off on the rest of Bukalapak, resulting in his minions treating their vendors and partners with the same perceived lack of care and respect.
Recently I added another role to my LinkedIn account and have since been getting lots of well wishes but also a number of concerned questions on whether I had stopped working at Maverick to become advisor at The Palm Scribe.
So here’s a note of explanation to the concerned and the curious.
The first thing to point out is that the new title does not change anything at Maverick.
I continue to work there but because I’ve been fortunate to have found a very capable team who are able to take over much of what I do, I have decided to take Fridays off to reflect and have some me time; as well as to take on more of a mentor and advisory rather than operational role.
At the end of the day, however, this is a people and relationship business and if the clients need me I’m always there for them.
In the meantime, however, I’ve taken on the role as advisor in a platform run under the auspices of Maverick, The Palm Scribe.
What is The Palm Scribe?
In short The Palm Scribe is a platform that supports the development of the Indonesian palm oil industry through constructive journalism.
Like all elevator pitches, that description is meant to pique rather than provide a comprehensive explanation.
So if you’re piqued here’s the reasoning behind The Palm Scribe.
To start with, consider the palm oil industry.
It is complex and controversial because it is the frontline of many opposing issues: Sustainability vs environmental destruction, conversation vs deforestation, development vs conservation, East versus West, developed vs developing countries, palm oil vs soy, people vs big business, NGOs vs planters…
Strong opinions are expressed on all sides but the playing field is a bit uneven as its tilted in favor of the Western/Green advocates. There are several reasons why this is so.
- The Western players are more sophisticated in lobbying and communication techniques. They take their communications seriously and are more able to put their side of the story across. Their Asian/African counterparts do not take communications seriously and are usually outflanked.
- NGOs are social media savvy. They are hungrier because they have to earn their funding and as a result they are more innovative and creative in using paid, earned, shared and owned media to make themselves known. Many of them also realize that to persuade is to appeal to the emotions first and foremost an they succeed admirably.
- The mainstream media is devastated by falling readership and revenue. As a result they have few journalists and resources left to raise the right questions and issues and to ask the right questions of and hold accountable the policymakers, players and NGOs. Reactive journalism, click baiting stories and cut and paste reporting happens more often than we would want them to be.
- Most journalists think that palm oil players are slimeballs because they often do not act like they are open, accessible or accountable. Combined with #3, they are disposed to carry any attacks on the palm oil players prominently and tag on their responses (if they get around to issuing one at all in a timely manner) later in the story. By then the damage is done.
- The palm oil players themselves are bad communicators. Many of them are owned and run by business people more accustomed to deal making in backrooms than realizing that public opinion can affect their businesses. Others are run by families where bloodlines rather than competencies determine who is the decision maker. The result is that there are almost no oil palm player that can communicate in a persuasive, authentic and credible manner.
- Ineffective committees and trade associations. Apart from Malaysia that has quite an active lobbying and communications effort, their Indonesian counterparts are more mired in bureaucracy and pleasing all stakeholders rather than projecting a favorable image for the industry.
- Most importantly, however, because of all the elements mentioned above the public discourse on palm oil has gone askew. There is a world shortage of food and in edible oil that will be more acute with time. Of all the oil crops, palm oil is the most efficient oil to help address this shortage. As such you would think that the discourse on palm oil should be on how to make the industry strong, viable and sustainable. Unfortunately, however, most of the conversation and discourse on palm oil is about violations to conservation and sustainability standards (some arbitrarily advanced by this body or that) and the wrongdoings of the players. Something needs to be done about this if palm oil is indeed the crop for the future.
Having helped some palm oil companies manage attacks agains them as well as helping to tell their side of the story when it coms to sustainability issues, one of the things I realized is that many of the palm players are so traumatized by what they perceive is an antagonistic media/NGO environment that they do not know what to do. So many of them opt to keep their heads below the parapet instead. This does not serve them well because every negative story or article gets accumulated in Google and when investors and others want to find out about you, guess where they go to first?
Out of all this the idea of The Palm Scribe was born. Instead of fault-finding journalism we would adopt the principles of Constructive Journalism (a concept I personally poo pooed until I started to research more about it).
We would cover the palm oil industry, raise the issues that ned to be raised, ask the right questions. We would focus on the solutions the companies adopt or put in place in response to allegations of wrong doing. And we would also provide them a “non-editorial” space on our website to showcase their CSR, sustainability and community engagement efforts as well as space of their announcements and press releases.
In going into this we were aware that the success of such a platform rests on its credibility, judged by the quality of it content. As such, we scouted around and was fortunate to be able to enlist the talents of Bhimanto Suwasteyo, a veteran Indonesian journalist who has worked for AFP for years and one of the founding editors of The Jakarta Globe to generate our content. He works with Wicaksono, better known as Ndoro Kakung, who is a very respected name in social media circles, as well as a team that supports the content generation in the platform.
On the question of credibility, some might question whether a platform run by a PR consultancy can be trusted not to spin things. To them I can only say that if they understand what PR truly does they would understand that it is about getting companies and clients to communicate authentically and credibly. You cannot do that if your words are not matched with your actions.
Will The Palm Scribe work? Who knows. We live in an age of disruption where old ways of doing things no longer work and nobody can say with great certainty what does and what does not. We at Maverick think that this is worth a try because if we succeed we could potentially change how companies in controversial industries can communicate.
If you are still interested in The Palm Scribe, write to me at ong[at]maverick.co.id or check out its website.
Alexis almost certainly has prostitution as one of its services and Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan is right to close it down if morality is his kind of thing. But shutting it down based on press reports rather than on hard evidence is worrying, as it … Continue reading Alexis: right decision for the wrong reasons
This is what I wrote in the Maverick blog today
Did Jokowi say the P word as reported by CNN?
These are sensitive times. Since newly installed Jakarta Governor made his Protect Pribumis speech at his inauguration the P word has gained new political impetus.
One thing about the internet is that what is old can be made new again, with a new twist.
Responding to the widespread criticism against their leader, Anies Baswedan’s supporters trotted out CNN Indonesia’s report on 22 June saying that he was not the only Pribumi champion and the cue was actually set by Jokowi.
Going beyond the headline and reading the news, however, reveals that Jokowi did not say the P word.
What he actually said was read more here
We read the news every day but how much do we know about the editors behind the news? What informs their thinking and decisions? At Maverick we decided to find out about this important group of people the good old-fashioned way, by actually talking to … Continue reading More than just business
The Jakarta Globe has been interesting to watch since its birth in 2008, beginning with an idealism to start a quality newspaper against a trend of dropping readership in printed dailies.
Unspun was skeptical of the paper’s success from the start, a view that won him few friends in the startup paper then. But Unspun began to have a kinder view of the paper after it hired veteran journalist Bhimanto Suwastoyo from AFP to be the managing editor. Bhim, apart from being a friend, is known and respected in journalism for his knowledge and his management and training of young journalists.Together with veteran journalists David Plott and Lin Neuman, they had a team who were capable of putting out a good paper.
The Globe then had a good run, and at one point seemed a better paper than the established The Jakarta Post.
Then things began to slide.
The paper was using too much money and they began to lay off its editors. It hit a new low when it ran an editorial on Lady Gaga. It was around then that Unspun, who had switched subscribing from the Post to the Globe, switched back to the lesser calamity.
The rest is history. More journalists were laid off and The Jakarta Globe accelerated in its sad and slow decline. Today it is a parody of a newspaper especially with its ridiculous new format. It is pathetically thin and its layout is meant to mimic its website, with photographs and news in panels tiled on a page. In other pages its mostly ripped off wires with the token “own reporting” from the Berita Satu Group. Apparently the remaining journalists there tried to tell the owners that it looked horrible and wouldn’t work but the bosses were in no mood to listen.
Part of the reason for this format is because the Riadys who own it think, not necessarily erroneously, that the future is online. That may be true but online or off, what ultimately marks the organisation as a news institution would be the quality of its journalism. There is little evidence that the online version today matches the quality of its stories in the printed version’s glory days.
The Jakarta Globe’s printed version today looks so miserable that it might as well be dead. Anyone who cares about journalism would want to put it down for humanitarian and compassionate reasons. No paper that once gave the leading English daily in Indonesia a run for their money should be allowed to continue to exist in such a zombie-like state.
Unspun’s been a follower of the Globe’s birth, rise and fall all these years and there’s not much point writing more about it except perhaps to catalogue the previous posts in this blog that charts a rough history of the paper that has ceased to exist, in roughly chronological order:
It appears that after months of having no one to tell the story on behalf of the Government and giving rise to uncertainty and confusion about government policies and decisions, President Jokowi may finally be taking a step in the right direction.
According to the Jawa Pos News Network (below), he has appointed Teten Masduki and Sukardi Rinakit to head his communications team, that no one seems to know exists until now.
Teten is an Ombudsman, and the Secretary General of Indonesian Corruption Watch.
Sukardi is a political observer better known by his nom de plume Cak Kardi. Both are long-time associates of Jokowi.
But wait, this is the Jokowi administration so things may not be what they seem. The Communications Team, according to Sukardi here, will not act as the Government’s spokespersons.
Rather they’ll merely be information gatherers to inform the Government what is going on. Not much glory in being media clip vendors but even this might be an improvement from the seemingly clueless and ill informed performance of Jokowi and his Cabinet so far. Sukardi adds that in Jokowi’s view his Ministers will be his spokespersons.
Oh Lord! This is precisely what Jokowi’s government doesn’t need.
Jokowi’s Government has been suffering from cluelessness in how to use communications strategically. They have shown so far that they do not have the means to intercept acquire and process up-to-date information, to plan ahead and coordinate a common line for the President and Ministers to take and to anticipate questions and issues.
The failure to intercept and acquire data may be addressed by the Communications team but what about the planning, coordination and anticipation? This is a communications function and Jokowi would do well to appoint a Communications Chief and a team that can do all these but also to act as a spokesperson for the government.
Then he can on background add context for the media to what the President or his Ministers say or do. Others the media are left paddling in an information vacuum trying to second guess the rationale between what’s being said and done.
Unspun hopes that the new Communications Team would pass this piece of unsolicited but well-meant advice to Jokowi – if they actually manage to intercept it, and are in a position to advice the President based on the information that they get.
JAKARTA – Presiden Joko Widodo telah menunjuk Staf Khusus Sekretaris Kabinet Teten Masduki dan Staf Khusus Menteri Sekretaris Negara (Mensesneg) Sukardi Rinakit, untuk memimpin tim komunikasi kepresidenan. Keduanya akan berstatus sebagai Staf Khusus Presiden.
Sekretaris Kabinet, Andi Widjajanto mengatakan, keputusan presiden (Kepres) mengenai penunjukan Teten dan Sukardi sebagai tim komunikasi presiden sudah ditandatangani Jokowi, sapaan karib Joko Widodo.
“Mereka berdua nanti yang nanti akan mengkonsolidasikan tim komunikasi presiden, langsung di bawah presiden. Jadi tanyakan langsung ke mereka,” kata Andi di kantornya, Senin (11/5).
Dengan penunjukan Teten dan Sukardi sebagai pengurus tim komunikasi presiden itu, seskab mengisyaratkan, bahwa Presiden Jokowi tidak akan menunjuk seorang jubir.
Setelah ini, Andi mengisyaratkan dirinya tidak akan lagi sering tampil di media massa. Mengenai kemunculannya di media selama ini, menurut Seskab, karena ia ditugaskan menyampaikan berita kepada media massa selama menyiapkan tim komunikasi presiden.
“Idealnya Sekretaris Kabinet itu back office, tidak muncul ke media. Saya selalu mengatakan ke teman-teman media diusahakan pertanyaanya langsung ke kementerian lembaga yang terkait. Tugas saya back office, di belakang,” tegas Andi. (flo/jpnn)
One thing about Indonesia is that it always surprises.
Just when all of us thought that the Jokowi Government would user in a even more liberal regime that would value freedom of expression, comes news that the Police have indicted the Jakarta Post’s chief editor for insulting Islam.
The Post had carried a cartoon, demonstrated here on the Bisnis.com website today. Its crime: replacing the ISIS oval with a skull and bones. One might say fair comment, given ISIS’s propensity to lob off heads or hostages.
When the more religious readers raised a kerfuffle over the Post’s cartoon, the Post bowed to pressure and apologised. You’d think that people of a religious bent would find it in their hearts to forgive, given how all religions preach about redemption, love and all that.
The Indonesian Police, however, have a different take on things, charging the editor Dimas (Mediatama Suryodiningrat) with blasphemy.
Nice to see the nation’s enforcers so sensitive about the good name of ISIS and religion, to the point that they would not tolerate snark from journalists.
One wonders where the President and his Working Cabinet of putatively progressive leaders stand on things and how long will they keep quiet over this?
Bisnis.com, JAKARTA – Pemimpin Redaksi The Jakarta Post Meidyatama Suryodiningrat (MS) ditetapkan sebagai tersangka terkait dugaan dugaan tindak pidana penistaan agama. Langkah penyidik yang menjadikan MS tersangka mendapatkan komentar keras dari AJI.Dalam pesan yang diterima Bisnis.com, Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) Indonesia menyatakan tiga hal terkait dengan penetapan Meidyatama sebagai tersangka kasus penistaan agama1). Menolak keras penetapan Pemred Jakarta Post sebagai tersangka karikatur Laa ilaaha illallaah pada edisi Kamis 3/7/2014 lalu.2. Mendesak kepolisian RI tidak menggunakan KUHP untuk menangani kasus-kasus yang terkait dengan karya jurnalistik, dan kembali menggunakan UU Pers sebagai cara untuk menyelesaikan sengketa pemberitaan atau produk pers.3. Mendesak Kapolda Metro Jaya segera mencabut status tersangka Meidyatama Suryodiningrat dan mengembalikan kasus ini sesuai UU Pers yang bersifat lex specialis.4. Mengajak masyarakat pers, baik media massa, Dewan Pers, dan stakeholders lainnya untuk bersama sama menjaga kebebasan pers dan menegakkan kasus ini dalam koridor kasus pers bukan kasus pidana. Kasus ini apabila dibiarkan akan menjadi ancaman serius bagi kebebaaan pers dan akan bisa terkena kepada siapapun.Untuk itu, AJI mendesak kepolisian mengembalikan kasus ini seperti yang sudah tertuang dalam kesepakatan Dewan Pers dan Kepolisian dalam menangani kasus pers.Sementara itu, Pemred The Jakarta Post Meidyatama Suryodiningrat dalam pesan tertulisnya yang diterima Bisnis.com mengaku kaget atas penetapan dirinya sebagai tersangka oleh penyidik Polda Metro Jaya.
How the worm turns.
It now appears – from the news story below – that the Police, according to the Commission on Missing Persons and the Victims of Violence (Kontras), may have coerced a confession from the janitors at the Jakarta International School that they had sexually abused a student.
Not only that but a representative of the school parents has also question the veracity of the claims by the so-called victim’s mother that he had been abused 13 times by four janitors.
Such an abuse, she said would not have yielded the findings of a medical examination, that stated that the child’s anal passage was normal, that it did not suffer from bruises.
With this the picture that emerges is starting to look the very opposite of what it seemed like in April 16 this year when the news first broke.
Back then, JIS looked like it was the guilty party because it said nothing for at least 10 days, before coming out with a weak response (see this earlier posting). That reinforced the public perception that they and their janitors must be in the wrong.
Whether they were or not is beside the point. Recent developments suggest that they are probably not.
But the lesson here is that the truth is usually the first casualty during crisis-like situation.
When serious accusations against an institution or organisation starts to fly, it quickly becomes a black and white world where the media is concerned. They either appear as the good guys or they are perceived as the bad guys.
JIS’s silence and initial half-hearted responses unfortunately placed them in the latter category. From there it is a slow and agonising crawl back to truth, if it ever emerges.
But now it looks like there is a good opportunity for them to clear their name. They must press home the advantage and lay the issue to rest as soon as possible or it will fester, and who knows how that will turn out?
Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan Kontras menilai penanganan kasus dugaan kekerasan seksual di sekolah Jakarta International School JIS menjadi salah satu bukti tindakan polisi yang ceroboh, tidak independen dan memaksakan sebuah kasus dari bukti-bukti yang sangat lemah.
Koordinator Kontras Haris Ashar mengatakan, kasus JIS memperlihatkan bagaimana polisi membentuk sebuah rangkaian cerita yang tidak berdasarkan alat bukti.
Akibatnya untuk memaksakan ceritanya, polisi melakukan tindak kekerasan dan penyiksaan terhadap pekerja kebersihan JIS agar mengakui kasus kekerasan seksual itu.
“Kasus JIS kembali mempertontonkan kepada kita bagaimana sebuah rekayasa terjadi. Kematian seorang pekerja kebersihan JIS dengan muka lebam menjadi bukti bahwa tindak kekerasan oleh polisi itu nyata terjadi,” ujar Haris dalam media Briefing bertema Tantangan Kinerja Polisi di Pemerintahan Jokowi yang digelar Kontras di Warung Tjikini, Selasa 4/11.
Haris menambahkan, kasus JIS merupakan satu dari tiga kasus yang sangat lekat dengan faktor kekerasan dan rekayasa. Dua kasus lainnya adalah kasus Brigadir Susanto, polisi yang diduga menembak atasannya di Polda Metro pada Maret 2014 dan kasus penahanan Muhammad Arsyad dengan dugaan konten pornografi kepada presiden.
Terkait kasus JIS, lanjut Haris, dari hasil monitoring dan investigasi yang dilakukan Kontras, banyak fakta-fakta persidangan yang bertolak belakang dengan BAP yang disusun oleh polisi.
Misalnya hasil visum rumah sakit dan keterangan sejumlah saksi yang dihadirkan penuntut umum semakin melemahkan cerita polisi.