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Jakarta Post

Students probed, mag recalled for reporting on PKI murders

  • Suherdjoko

    The Jakarta Post

Semarang   /   Wed, October 21, 2015   /  03:08 pm

A campus magazine has been taken off the shelves and its journalists have been interrogated by police for publishing a report on the killings of supporters of the now defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in 1965 in Salatiga, Central Java.

Central Java Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Liliek Darmanto said that upon learning about the publication of the Lentera magazine, a meeting involving local military officials and the Satya Wacana Christian University (UKSW) rector was held on Friday to discuss the contents of the magazine and it was decided that the UKSW would withdraw the publication from the market.

'€œThe issue was sensitive. The same picture was already being talked about when it was circulated only in the virtual world,'€ Liliek said on Tuesday, adding that the rector also gave permission to the police to look for information from the students who published the magazine.

The third edition of the magazine for 2015 was published by the School of Social and Communication Sciences'€™ (Fiskom) Student Publishing Institution (LPM) under the title, '€œSalatiga Kota Merah'€ (Salatiga the Red City).

It reported on the alleged massacre of suspected PKI supporters in the town and its surrounding areas back in 1965.

On its cover the magazine displayed a picture depicting a parading mob carrying the PKI symbols of a hammer and sickle.

Lentera'€™s chief editor, Bima Satria Putra, said that the reports were the result of an investigation by the magazine'€™s editorial team on the alleged massacre of suspected PKI supporters.

The team, according to Bima, found four massacre locations, namely Skeep Tengaran Square, rubber plantations in Tuntang and Beringin and Mount Buthak in Susukan.

'€œAfter the magazine was circulated, we received both pro and con responses,'€ Bima told The Jakarta Post through an email on Tuesday.

It was distributed to the public through cafés and other places that advertised in the magazine. Five hundred copies were printed and were being sold for Rp 15.000 (US$1.01) a copy.

'€œWe also distributed the magazines to government institutions in Salatiga and non-governmental organizations in Semarang, Jakarta and Yogyakarta,'€ Bima said.

On Friday, however, Lentera'€™s executives were summoned to meet the university'€™s rector, deputy rector, dean of Fiskom and student affairs coordinator. The meeting agreed that Lentera had to withdraw the remaining magazines from all agencies.

Bima also said that on Sunday Lentera'€™s executives, including himself, underwent interrogation by the Salatiga Police with the university'€™s consent.

The police, according to Bima, had questions about the cover of the magazine, the validity of the sources of the information quoted, licensing, advertisement taxes and about consultations with the dean of the school.

However, UKSW'€™s Fiskom dean Daru Purnomo in a release made available to the Post denied his students had been interrogated.

'€œThe truth is we were conducting mediation, not interrogations,'€ Daru said, adding that the mediation forum was held on Sunday, during which he and the UKSW leaders were present and involved.

He also asserted that there was no ban on Lentera magazine. Instead, he said the 3/2015 edition was recalled because it was considered to have violated the procedures stipulated in the school'€™s student organization regulations '€” for example, it had been printed without prior consultation with the student affairs coordinator or the dean.

'€œApart from that, according to the regulation on magazine publication under an education institution, the magazine is not to be sold outside the campus. We conducted the recall to calm the situation because there had been negative comments coming in,'€ Daru said