Tag: News and politics

Did APCO deliver the goods to Najib et al? Here’s how to find out

Unspun learned about the article below in Malaysian Insider from Opah. Its a nice piece of business for APCO and while the Opposition in Malaysia were right to query about the amount paid, they are asking the wrong questions.

Any successful public relations effort ultimately changes one or more of three things: awareness, attitude and behavior.

If the target audience here is the US political system then, if they are successful, they would have changed the level of awareness that the US political elite has of Malaysia, the attitude they have toward one or another aspect of the country and their behavior (say, from voting against to voting for).

If the Opposition understands this then the  correct question to ask is what are the KPIs, the Key Performance Indicators, agreed between the Malaysian Government and APCO and how did they do against these parameters? Being American they must have polled this thing to death. What do the polls say?

And if the Opposition is smart about it they should hire their own pollster in Washington to provide an independent assessment of whether the US$24.2 million is well spent. That is the only way to pin the Government down on their justification to hire APCO, anything less than a marshaling of facts and figures to back their allegations would mean that the Opposition has lost the game. They would have fallen into the trap of rhetoric vs rhetoric, and in such a verbal pissing contest, someone who’s been trained in the arts of the bump and run (also known as bridging) and other techniques will surely, if not win the day, will at least emerge unscathed.

Government paid APCO RM76m

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal

KUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — The government paid US$24.2 million (RM76.8 million) to APCO Worldwide, the international public relations consultancy linked by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders to Israel, for its services from last July until June this year.

The amount was revealed by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, in a written reply to a question in Parliament from PKR MP, Chua Tian Chang.

Chua disclosed this today to reporters, and pointed out that the amount far exceeded the RM28 million mentioned by Nazri previously.

The minister’s written reply provided a breakdown of the fee paid by the government to APCO, starting from July 15, 2009 until June 4, 2010.

“I want the minister to explain the expenses concerning APCO Worldwide. The payment was just for APCO’s services, not even for the 1 Malaysia concept,” Chua told reporters today in Parliament.

“How did Nazri end up with RM28 million, when the total amount was US$24,207,158 which is in US dollars. Change it to Malaysian ringgit and you get RM76,820,653,” said Chua.

When met by the Malaysian Insider, Nazri explained that he was uncertain during the time whether the figure was in the correct currency.

“It was what was told to me. I was not sure whether it was dollars or ringgit. Tengku Sharifuddin (Tengku Ahmad) informed me at the time,” said Nazri.

Nazri also said that when Chua had raised the question in Parliament, he had mentioned that he lacked the information then but would answer in depth at a later point.

via Government paid APCO RM76m.

The son also rises

Antara, the national news wire service is now singing praises of the Democrats’ Dear Leader Ahmad Mubarok, son of Great Leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Where is all this leading to?

Karakter Anas Mirip Yudhoyono

Senin, 12 April 2010 13:16 WIB | Peristiwa | Politik/Hankam | Dibaca 151 kali

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – Wakil Ketua Umum Partai Demokrat Ahmad Mubarok mengatakan Anas Urbaningrum adalah kandidat Ketua Umum Partai Demokrat yang memiliki “chemistry” paling mendekati Ketua Dewan Pembina Partai Demokrat Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“Karakter Anas Urbaningrum yakni tenang, santun, dan mengusung politik `soft` (lembut) seperti halnya Pak Yudhoyono,” kata Ahmad Mubarok di Jakata, Senin.

Dia menjelaskan, karakter dan sikap politik Anas Urbaningrim paling mendekati karakter dan sikap politik Yudhoyono yang tenang, santun, dan menjunjung tinggi demokrasi.

Mubarok optimis, jika Anas dpercaya memimpin Partai Demokrat lima tahun ke depan, dia bisa melanjutkan pengembangan partai pemenang pemilu 2009 tersebut.

Mubarok mengakui, setelah salat istikharah, dari tiga kandidat ketua umum yang ada dia mendapat sinyal untuk mendukung Anas.

“Karena itu saya memilih mendukung Anas,” kata Ketua Tim Sukses Andi Mallaraneng itu.

Menurutnya, pertimbangan lainnya Anas populer dan sudah menjadi anggota Partai Demokat sejak 2004 atas usulan Ketua Dewan Pembina Partai Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Dia menilai Anas menjunjung tinggi demokrasi dan tidak menghendaki adanya kampanye hitam.

“Kepada seluruh tim suksesnya Anas menegaskan untuk melakukan politik putih dan jangan melakukan politik hitam atau abu-abu,” katanya.

Selain Anas, dua kandidat Ketua Umum Partai Demokrat adalah Andi Mallarangeng (Ketua DPP PD), dan Marzuki Alie (mantan Sekjen DPP PD). (*)

via ANTARA News: Karakter Anas Mirip Yudhoyono.

The movement to support sexy dangdut star Julia Perez

Today Unspun checked his Facebook invitations and found one by an old friend, an ex-journalist turned consultant. The invite was to join the 1 million Facebookers in support of sexy dangdut star Julia Perez’s electroral bid for the Bupati’s post of Pacitan (Gerakan 1.000.000 Facebookers Dukung Julia Perez Calon Bupati Pacitan).

Unspun knows of many friends and acquaintances who frown on Jupe’s candidacy, righteously dismissing her as an airhead and having a demeanor not unbecoming of a Bupati. Unspun’s also  heard the unkind jibes at the poor girl, saying that if she was elected the name of the Bupati’s office would have to be changed to Boopati, a reference to Jupe’s ample…ahem…asses. For the record Unspun thinks that these jibes are spread by Jupe’s rivals who are rather flat out of ammunition and have become Boobists, people who discriminate others merely on the size of their boobs. There is nothing wrong with big boobs, IMHO, although Unspun lives with the UN-esque adage that anything more than a hanful is wasteful, anything less than a handful is poverty.

Personally Unspun’s been arguing that its not such a bad thing that Jupe is standing for elections. For one she brings interest to the electoral process that can be only be good for the development of democracy. People who would not normally pay attention to the elections are now firmly glued to their TV sets to watch Jupe’s next electoral appearance.Besides, she’s not necessarily worse than any one else standing for the Bupati’s post (What’s the name of her electoral rival? Don’t know? Precisely my point). Jupe can also be good for tourism. Whoever heard of Pacitan before this? And watch this video of Jupe – not only can she bring new vim and vitality to the older folks, she can also promote durians.

But Unspun digresses. Back to the Facebook movement.

What is it with Indonesia that when someone stumbles on a new idea, everyone else follows by doing the ame thing without even an attempt at variation?

The Gerakan 1,000,000 Facebookers idea was a good one when it first came out for, if memory serves Unspun right, either Prita Mulyaai or Chandra & Bibit. It was new, it was fresh and it was a novel way for thousands of Indonesians to send a message to the authorities and power holders.

After that, however, like the dozens of jagung bakar stalls  that line up the main road on Puncak, they began to look boring as they are all alike. No originality. No attempt to be different. A mere case of the blind following the blind.

The poor imitation attempts have become so ridiculous that you have even gerakans to support gerakans (which was at least original)

The rest, however, was pathetic, like tile maker Granito’s attempt to shore up  1 million supporters. It had two fans. Back to the bathroom with them! And there should be a movement to send the next Facebooker to start another “Gerakan 1,000,000 Facebookers untuk…” to a toilet adorned with bright green Granito tiles.

SBY’s skills as Political Communicator of the Year revealed!

Know Ye O Mortals, especially in Indonesia, that there is one who walks among you with the gift of the silver tongue, whose words of wisdom buoy you to the highest levels of commitment and devotion.

Such a man is not easily understood and is quite reviled at home among the Chattering Classes but actually appreciated aboard, especially by the High Priests of the arcane arts of Public Affairs, who recently voted him COMMUNICATOR OF THE YEAR.

Now gaze on his wondrous video-taped acceptance speech to Public Affairs Asia and learn the many skills he employs to become a revered communicator.

For an earlier posting of how SBY beat out Pretty Boy Abhisit for the title, and to vote on your choice of Communicator of the Year go here.

Establishing Ketuanan Melayu with an Indonesian heritage?

When Unspun was growing up in Malaysia he was told that the kris was an intrinsic part of the Malay identity.The kris was such a big deal that some years ago when the son of a former Malaysian prime minister and UMNO big shot wanted to establish Malay supremacy over the other Malaysian races he waved it around more vigorously than a koteka would be rattled in a tribal dance.

http://towardsmardhatillah.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/hisham_keris1.jpg

Stop waving an Indonesian heritage around Hishamuddin. It’s embarrassing.

Unspun was awed. But now Unspun feels cheated.

According to UNESCO the kris isn’t even Malaysian, let alone Malay. And not only that. Even the batik and the wayang is Indonesian. So what’ Malaysia got left to wave with? Malaysia, Truly Indonesia.

Batik, kris and wayang get UNESCO world heritage status

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Sat, 02/06/2010 1:02 PM | Headlines

UNESCO on Friday awarded Indonesia four certificates, three stating that it recognized three intangible cultural heritages and one stating its recognition of the country’s efforts to preserve its culture.

The three intangible cultural heritages were batik, a method of decorating fabric with a special dyeing techniques producing specific patterns, wayang, a traditional shadow puppet play, and kris, a traditional ceremonial dagger.

The certificates were symbolically handed by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa, to Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik and Coordinating Public Welfare Minister Agung Laksono.

After the awards were given, Agung said, the country should preserve the heritage to prevent the recognition from being withdrawn.

“Batik can be preserved by always wearing it. What will be hard is preserving wayang and kris,” he said.

Agung added he had issued a letter requesting that offices and hotels display the three objects.

Tresna Dermawan Kunaefi, Indonesia’s Ambassador to UNESCO, said the recognition as intangible cultural heritage was not based on the objects’ physical aspects, but the stories and ideas behind them.

via Batik, kris and wayang get UNESCO world heritage status | The Jakarta Post.

Dummies on Statues

“It’s just a statue of a boy who once lived in Menteng and liked nasi goreng [fried rice] and bakso [meatball soup],” – Friends of Obama Foundation Chairman Ron Mullers on why they put up a statue of a 10-year old Barrack Obama in Menteng

Oh this one needs unspinning soooooo badly.

If the purpose is to commemorate boys who once lived in Menteng and liked nasi goreng and bakso what you do is go to Menteng and throw a stone. There’s a good chance you’ll hit one of them. Boys who like nasi goreng and bakso are abundant in Indonesia, even in the elite area of Menteng. An overwhelming proportion of them would be Indonesians.

So why the statue of a boy with those characteristics from America instead of Indonesia? And isn’t convenient that that boy is now the President of the United States.

The mind boggles at how low people would stoop to polish apples and to gain a bit of a publicity, even when they do not enough money to build the brass statue to its full scale so that the Obama statue looks like a runt of a 10-year old instead of the normal sized child Obama probably was (Thanks for the observation, TP).

And what’s with the Barry Obama bit? The man’s name is Barrack and unless the guys here are so close to him that he would be comfortable to be called Barry, this is an attempt at familarity that would make even Washington gatecrachers the Salahis blush in embarrassment.

The Indonesians have one word to describe such behavior: L_E_B_A_Y. (American equivalent: cheesy)

So kudos to the Facebook group and the activists here. Join them and put the Jakarta Salahis in their place.

Facebook Group Wants Obama’s Jakarta Statue Taken Down

A 110-centimeter-tall statue of the young US President Barack Obama in Jakarta, the first of its kind in the world, has unexpectedly attracted the attention of thousands on Facebook who want the statue taken down.

A Facebook group called “ Turunkan Patung Barack Obama di Taman Menteng ” (“Take Down the Barack Obama Statue in Taman Menteng”), created by Heru Nugroho and Daniel Rudi, has stated that it will file a class action suit against the city if it gets 10,000 members.

More than 5,800 people have already signed up as members of the group, which was launched on Thursday — the same day the statue, erected in Taman Menteng, Central Jakarta, was unveiled.

The Facebook page has members discussing not only taking down the statue but also moving it from its current location to the Embassy of the United States of America, near Merdeka Square.

“Erecting the statue of Benyamin Sueb or Ali Sadikin would have been more appropriate,” said one member, Heru, referring to the late Benyamin Sueb, a legendary Betawi comedian and singer of the 1970s, and former Jakarta Governor Ali Sadikin, who was celebrated for his ideas to push economic growth.

Ali went as far as to propose building a casino in the Thousand Islands to help growth. This proposal was declined, but he is nonetheless remembered as one of the best governors the capital has ever had.

Heru said he realized people would sneer at him and call him a “busybody,” but he said he did not mean to attack anyone.

“I want to defend my country’s dignity. Why should we glorify people who have nothing to do with us?” Heru said.

“We often hear our state officials say they cannot do much for our heroes. So why spend so much money on a statue? Today children don’t know anything about national heroes Agus Salim [a Muslim intellectual], Chairil Anwar [celebrated poet] or those who have made some of the greatest contributions for Indonesia.”

Created by sculptor Edi Chaniago, the statue depicts Obama at 10 years old, when he had just started to live in the Indonesian capital with his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, in 1967.

Obama went to the public Besuki elementary school in Menteng before he was sent back to the United States in 1971.

When contacted by the Jakarta Globe, chairman of the Friends of Obama Foundation, Ron Mullers, expressed concern over the negative reaction.

“It’s just a statue of a boy who once lived in Menteng and liked nasi goreng [fried rice] and bakso [meatball soup],” he said, adding that there was no political motivation behind it.

The bronze statue, which cost about Rp 100 million, was the initiative of the Friends of Obama Foundation and was funded by 10 Indonesians who have been acknowledged on the monument.

It was unveiled on Thursday by Central Jakarta Mayor Sylviana Murni, the same day Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.

Bank Century: What do you do with proven liars?

So what is the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Golkar going to do about their Parliamentarian Bambang Soesatyo. It appears that he’s been caught lying since there is evidence that Robert Tantular wasn’t in on the Bank Century bailout discussions.

Unless he has further evidence that the videotape is a forgery then Bambang was clearly lying and fabricating evidence. That is certainly behavior not becoming of a representative of the people. The Speaker of the House should discipline him – demand an apology and suspend or impeach him if the law allows.

Golkar should also discipline him. Kick him out of the party. Unless, of course, Bambang was only the hatchet man for Bakrie who heads the party…

This from The Jakarta Globe:

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati at an awards ceremony for financial figures in Jakarta last week. (JG Photo/ Afriadi Hikmal).

Sri Mulyani Hits Back at Critics Over Bank Century

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati launched a counterattack against her political critics on Sunday, producing a videotape that refuted allegations she had huddled with former PT Bank Century owner Robert Tantular before deciding to bail out the troubled lender last year.

The video was of the final part of a brainstorming session of the Financial System Stability Committee (KSSK) with senior officials from the central bank, the Finance Ministry and the Deposit Insurance Agency (LPS) on Nov. 21, 2008, the day the committee decided to bail out Bank Century.

The tape shows Sri Mulyani, Vice President Boediono ­— the BI governor at the time — KSSK secretary Raden Pardede, head of the President’s Working Unit for the Management of Reform Programs, Marsilam Simanjuntak, and other officials. However, Tantular was not seen or heard on the tape.

On Friday, Golkar’s Bambang Soesatyo, a member of the House of Representatives committee investigating the controversial Rp 6.7 trillion ($710 million) bailout, claimed to have a recording of a conservation between Sri Mulyani and Tantular at the meeting in question, in which the disgraced banker allegedly urged the minister to “just make the conclusion that the economy is in crisis” and rescue the bank.

His comments were met with swift denials by Sri Mulyani, Boediono and Tantular, who is now in prison for fraud.

via Sri Mulyani Hits Back at Critics Over Bank Century – The Jakarta Globe.

A rupiah for Superman’s thoughts

What Unspun loves about the bloggersphere is that no matter how crazy the world gets and no matter what bandwagon everyone else gets on there is someone out there skeptical enough, prescient enough and with enough cojone to call things as they see them.

Such a bloggers are gems because they validate those of us who sometimes begin to doubt our own perceptions of the world because it seems so at odds with everyone else, even people we socialize and respect. One such gem is ManusiaSuper.

Prior to reading his latest posting (below) Unspun was looking at the whole Coins for Prita (Mulyasari) movement with some visceeal unease. There is something amiss about the whole thing and thoughts were percolating in Unspun’s mind, waiting for the time it spills over into a blog posting.

Then, after reading the blogpost and ManusiaSuper’s take on the movement, things began to fall into place for Unspun, so here’s some thought’s that’s gone through Unspun’s mind on the Coins for Prita and other online movement.

1. The Net has made it very easy, perhaps too easy, for people to get on a cause bandwagon.

In the old days you had to have the kind of commitment to go out on the hot dusty (or wet, rain-drenched and muddy) streets to make yourself heard. These days all it takes is to set up a website, blog, Facebook page or Tweet with a catchy hashtag and voila! you have a cause. The ease with which others can join in also makes it almost, and often, an unthinking exercise, more on the league of keeping up with the Joneses than fighting for something heartfelt, which leads me to the next point…

2. Is it the cause or is the cause something else?

What are the supporters of Coins for Prita actually supporting or fighting for? Are they against the draconian aspects of the UU ITE,at which case wouldn’t it make more sense to camapign for an amendment or repeal of the law? Or are they against the perceived obtuseness and arrogance of Omni International Hospital, at which case organizing a boycott of the hospital would make more sense?

As Unspun sees it, it was excessive for the prosecutors to jail Prita for her complaints that probably originated from bad customer service from Omni Hospital in addressing her grouses in the first place. But for the hospital to sue her for defamation is fair game. Organizations and businesses have a duty to protect their reputations too. This is not saying that Omni is right; this is recognizing that Omni has the right to protect its reputation through legal means. It is now up to the court to make that decision. If it makes an asinine one then the protestors can make common cause against the law being an ass.

Unspun suspects that the real reason behind the Coins for Prita movement is more a manifestation of a sense of frustration at the general injustice of the entire Indonesian legal system. This is a system in which a grandmother that stole three cocoa pods and a grandfather that didn’t even steal a bunch of bananas can be convicted and punished when the rich and powerful not only get away scot free but parade their ill gotten wealth with impunity; a system where policemen on meager salaries can wear luxury watches and drive cars costing several years of their salaries, and get away with it.

This is a system that is dysfunctional and needs to be forced to change, yet the agitators, fomentors and activists are not tackling the causes but the symptoms, such as Ibu Prita’s high-profile persecution, instead.

3. At the end of the day, are the online activists doing a favor to Indonesia or doing it a disservice?

It is difficult to argue against motherhood, apple pie, koalas and good intentions for seemingly worthwhile causes. But what if the ease in which to take up causes on the Net and misplaced good intentions are resulting in a lot of sound and fury that achieves little, rather than focussed campaigns that make a lasting impact on society?

When the double bombing of the Ritz Carlton and Marriott hotels took place it spawned the #indonesiaunite movement. Unspun then wondered whether all that energy and earnestness to do something for Indonesia would amount to anything if it was not channeled to something more focused (What comes after #indonesiaunite?). Many in the movement objected to this line of thought but where is the movement now?

Koin Untuk Prita, Apakah?

Desember 6, 2009 at 9:54 am | In Uncategorized | 25 Comments

Keadilan telah direcehkan!

Keadilan telah direcehkan!

Sebagai awal, marilah saya tegaskan dulu satu hal; saya menolak segala bentuk ketidak adilan dengan alasan apapun.

Dan satu lagi; saya percaya Ibu Prita Mulyasari adalah korban ketidak adilan dan perlu mendapat dukungan.

Masalahnya adalah, dukungan seperti apa?

Seperti diketahui sebagian besar aktivis online, kasus hukum pencemaran nama baik yang dituduhkan Rumah Sakit OMNI International kepada mantan pasiennya Ibu Prita Mulyasari terus berlanjut.

Berita terakhir, Pengadilan Tinggi Banten memutuskan Ibu Prita Mulyasari harus membayar ganti rugi sebesar 240 juta rupiah atas pencemaran nama baik yang konon dilakukannya lewat email.

Sebuah angka yang fantastis hanya karena mengirimkan email bukan?

Ya, logika awam menyatakan ini adalah ketidak adilan.

Lalu secara spontan (term spontan mungkin tidak tepat, mungkin memang terencana, mungkin tidak), para seleb aktivis dunia maya bergerak, menyampaikan pesan berantai, dan akhirnya tercipta sebuah gerakan untuk mengumpulkan koin recehan untuk membantu Ibu Prita Mulyasari membayar dendanya.

Nah, mulai dari sini, mari kita bersinis-sinis ria…

:mrgreen:

Continue reading Koin Untuk Prita, Apakah?…

via A Journal of A Not-Superman Human.

White tiger mauls man, caught on video, says Detik.com

Note: apparently the video was taken some time ago, probably overseas, but someone somehow picked it up and attributed it to Safari Park Indonesia. Things like this can happen anytime and misinformation can be construed as news. How would you innoculate yourself against such incidents?

 

Reader Hendra has just informed Unspun that detik.com has run a story saying that someone’s captured on video a white tiger mauling a man.

He says:  “I haven’t seen the video myself, but Detik.com description about the video’s content left little doubt that this is indeed really happening. The park’s owner has issued a denial[2], but I strongly suspect this situation will grow into in a major PR brouhaha.”

Thanks for the tipoff Hendra. Let’s see how this case unravels. A bit difficult to deny or sweep under the carpet if a white tiger has actually mauled someone, what more if its caught on video.

Video Harimau Putih Makan Manusia Gegerkan Warga Bogor

Anwar Hidayat – detikNews

ilustrasi

Bogor – Video berisi rekamanan seekor harimau putih sedang memangsa manusia menggegerkan warga Bogor, Jawa Barat. Peristiwa tersebut diduga terjadi di kebun bintang di Indonesia.

Pengamatan detikcom, Sabtu (28/11/2009), dalam video berformat 3GP dengan durasi 2 menit 45 detik itu, tampak seekor harimau sedang memangsa manusia. Korban diduga pria berpakaian mirip seragam satpam berwarna biru donker dengan sepatu boot. Sementara seekor harimau lainnya hanya berdiam diri di sekitarnya.

Pada menit pertama di video itu juga terdengar teriakan sejumlah orang saat harimau tersebut beraksi. “Pergi…pergi…tolong…tolong,” demikian suara yang terekam dalam video tersebut.

Suasana di lokasi kejadian yang terekam dalam video tersebut mirip kebun binatang Taman Safari, Cisarua Bogor. Kedua harimau tersebut tidak dikurung dalam sebuah kandang besar, tetapi tampak bebas berkeliaran.

Pada menit kedua, video menampilkan rekaman gambar di sebuah ruangan yang mirip kamar jenazah sebuah Rumah Sakit (RS). Tampak seseorang berkaos polisi dan sejumlah petugas melakukan identifikasi terhadap mayat yang diletakan di atas sebuah meja. Mayat tersebut hanya mengenakan celana panjang berwarna biru donker. Tubuh bagian atasnya mengalami luka yang cukup parah, terutama pada bagian lehernya.

Di video tersebut juga terdengar percakapan sejumlah orang. Sayangnya rekaman percakapan tersebut tidak terdengar jelas. Namun yang pasti, pembicaraan tersebut dilakukan dalam bahasa Indonesia.

'Ini nih…jadinya begini,” ujar seseorang dalam pembicaraan yang terekam itu.

(djo/djo)

via detikNews : Video Harimau Putih Makan Manusia Gegerkan Warga Bogor.

RIP FEER: How the mighty are fallen

It all seems so long ago now but there was a time when the FEER ruled the roost. When it was a trusted source of hard-to-get information, helped shape opinions, shake governments and gave journalists some respect.

These days we contend with Mickey Mouse publications that do not cover Asia in depth and full of cheap, young Westerners or freelancers that are good for the budget of advertising-starved publication but bad for everyone else.

Far Eastern Economic Review to end 63-year run in December

(HONG KONG) Dow Jones and Co yesterday announced the closure of the Far Eastern Economic Review, which from 1946 chronicled Asia’s miraculous post-war recovery but has fallen victim to the Internet age. FEER: Done in by legal wrangles, industry woes, neglect by its owners News Corp-owned Dow Jones said that it would close the publication, in years past one of Asia’s most respected English-language news magazines, in December.

“Unfortunately, despite several attempts at invigorating the brand, the Review’s continued losses in advertising revenue and readers are now unsustainable,’ it said in a statement. The publication’s heyday was in the 1980s when it was known for the depth and quality of its reporting and for standing up to authoritarian governments and big business.

One of its biggest scoops came in 1997 when the Review’s Nate Thayer was the only reporter to attend the trial of Pol Pot, the leader of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime who hadn’t been seen or photographed for 18 years. Circulation of the weekly edition peaked at about 90,000 in the 1980s, according to former Review editor Michael Vatikiotis. Dow Jones now puts the monthly figure at 20,000.

Some media specialists blame legal wrangles with the Singapore government, which has repeatedly sued the magazine for defamation, along with wider industry woes and neglect by its owners for its demise. ‘It was very influential among the foreign community interested in Asia,’ said Judith Clarke, associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University’s journalism department.

‘It was a place where correspondents were given a lot of responsibility and it built up a good reputation based on them . . . They were getting information that was difficult to get elsewhere.’ The magazine’s combative stance was set out by founding editor Eric Halpern. He vowed to provide unflinching coverage of both politics and economics in Asia, which at the time was an impoverished backwater on the global stage and still devastated by World War II.

Mr Halpern relocated the magazine to Hong Kong after the liberation of Shanghai from Japanese occupation, contributing to the then British-controlled city’s eventual role as a media hub for the region. The Review had ‘a rich history of pioneering journalism and helped to set the standard for the press in Asia in the post-World War II era when local publications often lacked the freedom to report honestly’, said Todd Larsen, the chief operating officer for the consumer media group at Dow Jones.

The decision to close it ‘was a difficult one made after a careful study of the magazine’s prospects in a challenging business climate’, he said. Prof Clarke said that a ban on the Review in Singapore in the 1980s was particularly damaging, hitting market share just as the media industry decline began. ‘Then, in the 1990s, with the economic downturn and the growth of the Internet it became difficult to run a magazine.’

Several former staff members blamed Dow Jones’s decision to transform the publication from a weekly to a monthly five years ago, which they said hit quality. ‘As far as I am concerned, the review closed in 2004,’ said Philip Bowring, editor from 1988 to 1992. ‘It is an appalling record of bungling a successful magazine, driving it into the ground, changing the format and killing it off altogether.’

Dow Jones said that the magazine would close so opinion and commentary resources from Asia could be expanded across all its outlets, which include The Wall Street Journal Asia.

‘Dow Jones’s marketing people didn’t know how to sell it as it competed with the Wall Street Journal Asia – they ignored it and killed it by sheer neglect,’ said VG Kulkarni, a freelance journalist and former editor and correspondent at the Review.

A Dow Jones spokesman declined to comment on criticism of the magazine’s management. — AFP