The Globe blazes a path in intellectual parrying

Isn’t free speech a wonderful thing? And The Jakarta Globe seems to be pioneering the spirit of the cut and thrust of intellectual parrying to unprecedented great heights to preserve the precious right to freedom.

Last Friday avid readers of The Jakarta Globe were treated to a seemingly no-holds-barred criticism of President SBY for canceling his trip to the Netherlands. The Oped piece was by Joe Cochrane, who must presumably have some journalistic sense and appreciation of national issues because he is The Jakarta Globe’s own Contributing Editor.

Today The Jakarta Globe’s own Editor-in-Chief Wim Tangkilisan has waded into the debate of the President. The EIC also seems to be a no-holds-barred kind of man, only this time the gloves were taken off in the direction of his own contributing editor, Cochrane.

In this Oped piece Tangkilisan not only tried to defend the President, he elevated SBY to an all-seeing Presence and took Cochrane personally to task for an Oped piece “full of holes”. To untrained eyes the piece may look like a rather personal attack against a colleague and a subordinate and a reaction against someone slipping the story in while the EIC was away, but some seasoned journalists would say that this is the pinnacle of intellectual parrying that, when conducted in its right spirit would yield the ultimate truth about an issue, or issues.

So what do the sparks emanating from the clash of intellectual swords between Tangkilisan and Cochrane tell us, dear reader?

The Larger Picture? In Canceling His Trip To the Netherlands, SBY Saw It Clearly
Wim Tangkilisan | October 11, 2010

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been severely criticized — pilloried is perhaps the more accurate term — for postponing his state visit to the Netherlands.

He pushed it back at a time when the visit suddenly became inauspicious because of a last-minute court case filed by a leader of the separatist South Maluku Republic (RMS) with the District Court of The Hague, charging the president with the torture of at least 21 RMS members.

Among the fiercest of the criticisms aimed at the president were those in an opinion column by Joe Cochrane in the Jakarta Globe last weekend.

It accused the president of being unable to see the “larger picture” in deciding to postpone the visit, of being onion-skinned, of insulting Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and, implicitly, of being paranoid. Cochrane also took the president to task for calling the behavior of The Hague District Court unethical.

As a journalist, Cochrane can criticize anybody he wants to criticize, including the president of Indonesia. That is his right. However, I must point out that his criticisms against the president regarding this particular issue — the postponement of the state visit — are, like those of most other critics, full of holes.

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