Remembering Tim Mapes

Some of Tim’s closest friends are getting together to organize an occasion to celebrate his life, a few years of which were spent in Jakarta as the correspondent for the Asian Wall Street Journal, at the Face Bar next Tuesday evening. I think Tim would like that.

Here’s the invite message from Juliana on Facebook:

Dear Friends,
Please come to Face Bar next Tuesday to celebrate our friend Tim Mapes.

After Tim passed away, his parents told me that his time in Jakarta was the high point of his life. You were a part of making that time so special to him.

Please let me know if you are able to come and pass this on to friends who would want to join.



Former AP Newsman Ghafur Fadyl Dies

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.

Associated Press

via Former AP Newsman Ghafur Fadyl Dies in Indonesia – The Jakarta Globe.

Deutsch the new Financial Times man for Indonesia

Here’s a quick update for those observing the media scene in Indonesia:

Anthony Deutsch has been appointed Jakarta Correspondent at the Financial Times and will take up the role on 8 March. Anthony was previously Bureau Chief of the Associated Press’s Indonesia and East Timor bureau.

Looks like he beat out quite a few contestants for the post vacated by John Aglionby.

In the meantime, concolonces to the family of Maggie Ford, a former Indonesia correspondent for Euromoney and Eurofinance magazines, whom the JFCC said was  believed to have died on the morning of Feb 23 from a heart attack.

“Maggie, in her 60s, served on the JFCC executive committee and had a long history in Indonesia before moving back to Brighton in 2006. Our sympathies go out to her family and friends,” said a JFCC email to its members. Unspun extends deepest condolonces too. Maggie always added color to the JFCC and other networking functions with her very British accent.

Who would be Financial Times’ new Indonesian correspondent?

JFCC members and foreign correspondent watchers might be interested in this development with the Financial Times vacancy in Indonesia.

Who would be Financial Times’ new Indonesian correspondent?.

January 7th, 2010

Back in October Financial Times Correspondent John Aglionby packed his bags and headed home to Ole Blighty for a position in the paper after living in Jakarta for more than a decade.

FT has yet to appoint a successor to John but our correspondent Unspun has heard that they are looking. Rumor has it that after a series of interviews they have narrowed the list down to three people. Two of them are  members of the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club. One is an editor in an English language newspaper and another is acting bureau chief for an international wire service.

The third man is an internal FT candidate.

The FT would gradually make a decision but in the meantime freelancer Kath Demopoulos is filling in and covering stories from Indonesia for the FT.

The Literary Spy

Those of you old enough to remember the Far Eastern Economic Review in its heyday would no doubt have remembered Derek Davies, the larger than life figure behind the Travelers Tale column who was the basis of one of Le Carre’s fictional characters.

It now turns out that art was indeed imitating life. Derek Davies was, according to old time Asia Hand and writer Anthony Paul at The Malaysian Insider, actually a spook.





A Traveller’s Tale filled with intrigue by Anthony Paul

NOV 26 — The Far Eastern Economic Review, a magazine sometimes justifiably credited with breaking major regional news, missed reporting some riveting tales about itself.

A secret file held by MI5, Britain's counter-intelligence agency, that was recently released reveals that Eric Halpern, the man who founded the Hong Kong journal, had so dubious a reputation that London was highly reluctant to issue him with an entry visa to the territory.

After spending the World War II years as a Jewish refugee in Shanghai, Halpern had sought to settle in Hong Kong in 1946. But Sir Percy Sillitoe, then the newly appointed head of MI5, strongly disliked the idea.

Noting that Halpern had had close wartime dealings with the Japanese, possibly the Soviet and, briefly after the war, the United States' intelligence services, MI5's London headquarters asked the Hong Kong colonial authorities to “take some action to remove him from Hong Kong”.

Said a note from London: “He looks to us as if he is the kind of person who, as long as he remains, will be a perpetual and rather nagging security headache.”

The Review — or Feer, as it was also known — appears for the last time next month, a victim of the advertising downturn and new owner Rupert Murdoch's lack of interest in low profits. Many will miss the magazine, despite its often erratic editing and frequently turgid writing. Most readers might also be surprised to learn that at least two of its former editors had once been spies.

John Le Carre, author of espionage novels and himself as former British spy, has summarised a spy's life thus: “Tangle within tangle, plot and counter-plot, cross and doublecross, true agent, false agent, double agent, gold and steel…” MI5's files suggest that the Review's first editor was no stranger to this sort of life. Halpern was evidently involved in espionage for Japan, Kuomintang China, the United States and possibly the Soviet Union.

But he was not alone in his spying connections among Review editors. One of his successors, Derek Davies, an Englishman who edited the magazine for 25 years, was also a refugee from espionage — in this instance, MI6, Britain's external secret intelligence service

Read More

Jakarta foreign correspondents question deportation of 2 journalists

Can someone do a favor for the Indonesian Police and buy them a copy of Dale Carniegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People?

As if they do not have their hands full managing the ill will that is emanating from their bungling of the KPK investigations, the Indonesian Police just had to go out to make enemies on yet another front.

This time it’s the foreign journalists and obviously the police have not heard of the saying that “you never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.”

Yesterday, Indonesian police detained and deported two journalists who were covering a project in which Greenpeace was demonstrating against a business concern.

Today the Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club responded with an email to its members questioning why the journalists had been detained and deported while apparently doing their jobs.

Typical of journalists, however, the JFCC did not say whether the email was only for members’ consumption or whether they will deliver it in the form of a letter to the authorities. None of the 5Ws – who, what, why, when, where and how. Go figure.

The Jakarta Foreign Correspondents Club is deeply concerned about the detention and deportation of two foreign journalists who were reporting on a Greenpeace protest against deforestation in Indonesia.

Raimundo Bultrini, a reporter for the Italian ‘l’Espresso’ weekly and Kumkum Dasgupta, an editor with the ‘Hindustan Times’ of India were forced out of the country on Wednesday.

Free reporting and movement of the media should be protected as a cornerstone of democracy. We strongly protest the apparent violation of press freedom and request immediate clarification from immigration authorities.

These journalists were visiting Sumatra to report on a protest by the international organization Greenpeace when they were held by the police for hours of questioning. They were watching the deforestation caused by several pulp and paper and palm oil companies.

After being interrogated they were told they would be deported for “illegal activities” for allegedly not obtaining local permission to be in the area.

Local immigration officials say the two had obtained journalist visas from national authorities. Neither was on a tourist visa. By obtaining the visas they showed their respect for Indonesian laws and regulations.

We at the JFCC would like to know on what grounds the two journalists were expelled. What exactly were their “illegal activities” and on which law or regulation were the deportations based?

The JFCC Executive Committee



FT’s Aglionby heads home to London

After more than a decade in Jakarta, a columnist Jakarta Java Kini and another local magazine, as well as being the contributor for The Guardian and correspondent for the Financial Times in the past three years, John Aglionby is heading home.

He’ll be back at his London office, running, in his own words “the news coverage on international issues like climate change, the global financial recovery – or lack of it, etc.”

So far there’s no news who will succeed him as FT correspondent in Jakarta.