Sat, 01 Oct 1994

More journalists of `Tempo' join Bob Hasan

JAKARTA (JP): More and more former journalists of the defunct Tempo news weekly are joining timber baron Mohammad (Bob) Hasan to establish a new magazine as it now looks certain that he will be given a publishing license.

Ed Zoelverdi, a former Tempo editorial staff member who is coordinating Bob Hasan's new magazine called Gatra, told a press conference yesterday that he was almost certain the publishing license would be issued by the Ministry of Information.

"It is supposed to be signed today," Zoelverdi said at the conference held at the Pulau Dua restaurant. "Suppose we have the license this week, we will start our trial copies in October and the first number will be launched in November."

He explained that a total of 167 people, including some 30 journalists, have decided to join him.

Bob Hasan has established a company PT Era Media Informasi (EMI) specifically to tap the huge and professional resources, including the journalists, of Tempo who were displaced when the government revoked its publishing license last June.

Many of the journalists were reluctant to join at first because of concerns that they would not enjoy the editorial independence they enjoyed in Tempo.

The diehard journalists instead decided to try to establish their own magazine, to be called Opini, which they would finance with the proceeds from the 20 percent equity belonging to the foundation of Tempo magazine employees.

The journalists representing Opini yesterday said they have improved their application for a license to conform with the suggestions of the Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI). These changes include naming Putu Setia as the chief editor instead of Yusril Djalinus as originally proposed because the latter is not a full PWI member.

Last month, when EMI gave out forms to all former Tempo employees, only 142 people agreed to join. Of these, there were only 22 journalists.

Still open

Zoelverdi said more and more are joining. "The door is still open for those who want to join us," he said.

He denied that his group was submissive to the government and assured the editorial independence of the new magazine.

Bob Hasan earlier stated that he had no intention of dictating the editorial content of the magazine but will take action if the magazine's articles threaten national interests.

Zoelverdi said several names were proposed for the new weekly, including Gatra, but he said he was not sure what name would be chosen. Originally it was to be called Masa.

The general manager of the new weekly will be Lukman Setiawan, who also manages the Bisnis Indonesia daily and was director of PT Grafiti Pers, the company which published Tempo.

Herry Komar and Mahtum have been appointed as the editor in chief and the business manager, Zoelverdi said.

The location of the new office has yet to be decided, but the group will still be in their old office in the Tempo building on Jl. HR Rasuna Said, South Jakarta, until Oct. 15, Zoelverdi said.

He said that 25 percent of the shares of PT EMI will be in the hands of the employees and journalists. (sim)