The Jakarta Post
Government officials and lawmakers are mourning the death of Jakob Oetama, the cofounder of Indonesia’s largest media and publishing company, Kompas Gramedia.
The 88-year-old died on Wednesday at Mitra Keluarga Hospital in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta. He will be buried at the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta on Thursday.
Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan extended his condolences on Wednesday through his Twitter handle @aniesbaswedan.
“Farewell, Pak Jakob Oetama. His services and contributions to the nation were extraordinary. It’s a big and noble task to continue his legacy,” the governor tweeted.
The National Police also expressed their condolences over Jakob’s death, with spokesperson Insp. Gen. Argo Yuwono calling him “Indonesia’s best press figure”.
Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko called Jakob a person who stressed the importance of having a conscience above all. “Thank you for your services in journalism in Indonesia.”
House of Representatives Speaker Puan Maharani of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) also extended her condolences.
She said Jakob was very close to the nation’s first president and her grandfather, Sukarno, who suggested the name “Kompas" upon the foundation of the newspaper in 1965.
“At that time, Bung Karno said, ‘Do you know what a compass is? It’s our direction across the ocean and jungle,” Puan said, quoting Sukarno’s words.
People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) deputy speaker Asrul Sani said Jakob inspired him to fight for people’s interests and to maintain idealism when the politician served as a Jakarta Legal Aid Institute (LBH Jakarta) lawyer in the 1980s.
“His passing is a loss for us all. Pak Jakob doesn’t only belong to Kompas Gramedia or Indonesian journalism but also to many different elements of society, as well as any religion, ethnicity and political group,” the United Development Party (PPP) politician said.
Jakob graduated from Yogyakarta’s Gadjah Mada University in 1961. He started his career in journalism with Petrus Kanisius Ojong – among the country’s active figures in journalism and politics – to publish Intisari magazine.
The magazine paved the way for the establishment of Kompas newspaper in 1965.
The Kompas Gramedia group has expanded to other sectors, including printing, hospitality and television.
Jakob is well known for his philosophical, thoughtful and polite writing style, which bordered on non-confrontational and humble, yet supported by logical arguments.
He received the Mahaputra Utama award from the government in 1973. He was also awarded an honorary degree in communications by his alma mater on April 17, 2003.