Farewell: Willy Septiana (second right), the wife of veteran journalist and founder of The Jakarta Post Muhammad Chudori, and his daughter, author Leila S. Chudori, scatter flower petals on his grave at Karet Bivak public cemetery in Central Jakarta. (JP/P. J. Leo)
Senior journalist and one of The Jakarta Post founders, Muhammad Chudori, died at his home in Bogor, West Java, on Saturday. He was 86.
He was buried at the Karet Bivak Cemetery in Central Jakarta the same day.
His daughter, Leila S. Chudori, a senior journalist with Tempo magazine, said Chudori’s physical health had failed since he broke his femur in a fall.
“He needed to have two operations on his thigh and his health had been worsening since,” she said as quoted by tempo.co.
Born in Indramayu on Dec. 24, 1926, Chudori worked at the Antara news agency from 1956 to 1983, covering in economic issues and foreign policy.
He was recognized by the Ministry of Information for his years of service to journalist in 1997.
Chudori helped found The Jakarta Post after his retirement from Antara in 1983 and was named the first general manager.
He played a pivotal role in the early difficult years of the Post, a role not forgotten and acknowledged by the first editor in chief Sabam Siagian.
“We all came from different backgrounds. It was not easy as general manager in these circumstances with the task of producing a quality newspaper.
“Muhammad Chudori was once the Antara bureau chief in the Netherlands and was the eldest among us. He would listen patiently to our various arguments and endure our idiosyncrasies and gradually forged a working team,” Sabam recalled. “I think that was his biggest achievement”.
Meanwhile, Vincent Lingga, a senior editor and former managing editor of the Post, fondly remembers Chudori from before his time at the Post.
“I first met and knew Chudori in early 1967 when I joined Antara. He was a senior editor in charge of economic development news in general,” he said.
“Chudori was well known for his warmth and friendliness and was also very active in diplomatic circles in Jakarta”.
According to Vincent, Chudori was fully informed on the government’s economic policy-making process and was so trusted by Soeharto’s chief economics minister Widjojo Nitisastro that he was often included in the delegation to the annual meeting of the Inter-Governmental Group for Indonesia (IGGI) in The Hague.
“No wonder then that from the late 1960s until the 1970s, Chudori was considered the spokesman for the Indonesian delegation to the IGGI creditor consortium,” he said.
Current Post editor in chief Meidyatama Suryodiningrat also paid homage saying it was ironic that Muhammad Chudori passed away just a month before the Post celebrated its 30th anniversary.
“Pak Chudori was part of the founding generation of the Post. Without them, I would not be here,” he said. “Many of the new generation of journalists at the Post may not have known him personally, but the legacy of the Post’s founders will never be forgotten”. — JP