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Jakarta Post

Student magazine withdrawn for publishing about 1965 massacre

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang   /   Tue, October 20, 2015   /  04:40 pm
Student magazine withdrawn for publishing about 1965 massacre   Retracted: The Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) orders the withdrawal of copies of Lentera Magazine Edition 3/2015, entitled “Salatiga Kota Merah” (Salatiga, the Red City), which tells stories of the killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) supporters and suspect members in Salatiga in 1965. (Courtesy of scientiarum.com) (UKSW) orders the withdrawal of copies of Lentera Magazine Edition 3/2015, entitled “Salatiga Kota Merah” (Salatiga, the Red City), which tells stories of the killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) supporters and suspect members in Salatiga in 1965. (Courtesy of scientiarum.com)

Retracted: The Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) orders the withdrawal of copies of Lentera Magazine Edition 3/2015, entitled '€œSalatiga Kota Merah'€ (Salatiga, the Red City), which tells stories of the killings of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) supporters and suspect members in Salatiga in 1965. (Courtesy of scientiarum.com)

Hundreds of copies of a student magazine published by student publishing institution (LPM) Lentera at the Satya Wacana Christian University'€™s (UKSW) School of Social and Communication Sciences have been withdrawn from circulation for publishing about the 1965 massacre, drawing sharp criticisms from human rights activists.

Circulated last week, the Lentera Magazine Edition 3/2015, entitled '€œSalatiga Kota Merah'€ (Salatiga, the Red City), tells stories about the massacre of Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) supporters and suspected members in Salatiga in 1965. The magazine'€™s cover shows a mass procession of PKI sympathizers, carrying the party'€™s flag emblazoned with the symbols of a hammer and sickle.

On Friday, the university urged LPM Lentera to withdraw its magazines, saying it wanted to keep the situation in Salatiga calm.

Lentera editor-in-chief Bima Satria Putra told thejakartapost.com on Tuesday that it published the magazines on Oct. 9.

'€œThis was Lentera'€™s third edition. We circulated the magazines to our readers in Salatiga by selling them at cafes and several other places, where we put advertisements of the magazine,'€ he said.

'€œWe printed 500 copies of the edition and sold them at Rp 15,000 [US$1.09] per copy. Lentera also distributed the magazines to government institutions in Salatiga and mass organizations in Semarang, Jakarta and Yogyakarta,'€ he went on.

Bima said stories published in the magazine'€™s third edition were the result of an investigation conducted by the Lentera editorial team on G30S/PKI events in Salatiga. In its investigation into the massacres of PKI sympathizers and suspected members in Salatiga, the team found four main locations of the massacres, namely the Skeep Tengaran Field, the rubber plantations in Beringin and Tuntang and Mt Buthak in Susukan.

Bima said that after the magazines were distributed, LPM Lentera received various responses. Several parties showed their support, saying that the magazine could offer support to the 1965 victims. Meanwhile, some other parties said publishing about such a sensitive issue given the current social and culture conditions was not proper because it could trigger instability in Salatiga and the UKSW campus in particular.

On Friday, UKSW Rector Rev. John A. Titaley and other university leaders held a meeting, which was attended by Lentera editorial members, and decided that it must withdraw all magazines. The university said the withdrawal was aimed at creating a conducive situation for people in the city.

Bima asserted that the Lentera editorial board had never had any intention to attack certain social groups. He said it had implemented proper journalistic principles by carrying out thorough documentary research, field observations and interviews to produce an accurate and objective investigative report.

'€œLentera aimed at supporting existing evidence that PKI sympathizers in Salatiga were not involved in the G30S incident,'€ said Bima.

'€œThis edition was also designed to become a historical document on a bloody massacre in 1965. This is because in Salatiga and its surrounding areas, we could get only very little information about the 1965 massacres,'€ he added.

Bima said several organizations, such as the Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers), the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Indonesian Press Council and the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), as well as rights activists, such as Soe Tjen and Joshua Oppenheimer, had given their support. (ebf)

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