Mon, 17 Oct 1994

`Tempo' staff formally laid off by publisher

JAKARTA (JP): PT Graffiti Pers, the publisher of the banned Tempo magazine, on Saturday formally laid off all its employees, nearly four months since its closure.

All the employees were given their severance pay on Saturday, according to Bambang Bujono, the spokesman for the foundation of Tempo employees.

Bambang said about 110 staffers, made up mostly of journalists, are now officially "unemployed".

Some 200 others have moved on to establish a new magazine, called Gatra, which they are planning to establish with financial backing from timber tycoon Muhammad (Bob) Hasan.

The government revoked the publishing license of Tempo, Indonesia's oldest and most established news magazine, last June for repeatedly ignoring official warnings about its editorial content.

The magazine's staff since then has been split into two camps, one favoring joining Bob Hasan and the other bent on starting their own new magazine, which they hope to call Opini.

Gatra has reportedly been given a publishing license from the Ministry of Information. Opini's license application has already been submitted to the government.

The proponents of Opini had earlier hoped to use the proceeds from the sales of the foundation's share in PT Graffiti Pers to finance their magazine project.

A trial edition of Opini was issued last week with a cover story about the recent bus drivers' strike in Jakarta. (emb)