Fri, 12 Aug 1994

`Tempo' employees and its shareholders may part ways

JAKARTA (JP): The employees and shareholders of the defunct Tempo news magazine may part ways with each planning to establish their own magazines.

This became apparent after a shareholders' meeting on Wednesday during which the employee representatives demanded an explanation from the Jaya Raya Foundation, holder of 40 percent equity, about rumors that it had struck up a deal with other investors to form a new magazine.

The employees themselves collectively own 20 percent of Tempo's many assets, which they now believe would be sufficient for them to start a new magazine on their own. The other 30 percent is owned by the magazine's founding member.

Ciputra, the businessman who represented the foundation at the meeting, said the foundation had established a new company with a powerful investor with the intention of starting a new magazine. Many suggested that the investor is timber tycoon Mohamad (Bob) Hasan.

Bambang Budjono, a spokesman for the employees, said yesterday that Ciputra told the meeting that the new magazine would not collaborate with PT Grafiti Pers, the holding company which owned Tempo.

"The government wouldn't allow it," Bambang quoted Ciputra as saying. He added that there have been no further discussions on the matter since then.

Tempo lost its publishing license in June after the government accused it of repeatedly ignoring official warnings about its controversial editorial content. The move effectively means the closure of the magazine and it can only resurface under a new management and with a new name.

Two other news magazines lost their licenses at the same time -- Editor and DeTIK. The government has resisted pressures to allow the three magazines to reappear but promised to give them new licenses if they applied.

Bambang said the 320 journalists and employees of the magazine have agreed that they could start their own magazine and are now starting the process of applying for the publishing license.

He said the shareholders meeting on Wednesday, which was the first since the ban on Tempo, mainly discussed the activities of PT Grafiti Pers after the ban. The issue of a new company or publication was not among the meeting's main priorities, he said.

Bambang was quoted by Kompas as saying that the employees were certain that they were able to manage a new magazine without additional funds from new investors.

Bambang said Tempo would continue to fulfill its obligations to its employees, including providing salaries and facilities, until October.

He said the employees have also agreed to appoint him as chief editor of the new magazine. The employees are currently waiting for the new license which the government has promised following the ban of the three magazines.(pwn)