“Kompas Daily” fires journalist-cum-union-leader for refusing reassignment; AJI calls it a move to undermine union

alerts-button-1.jpgThe Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) protests the dismissal of senior journalist Bambang Wisudo from “Kompas Daily” on 8 December 2006 and the intimidating manner in which it was done.

Bambang, who is also secretary of the Kompas Trade Union, has worked for the Jakarta-based newspaper for 15 years.

He was purportedly dismissed for refusing to be reassigned to Ambon, in the Maluku Province, 2,300km east of Jakarta.

However, AJI said that Wisudo’s reassignment was prompted by his efforts to improve the union’s reportage standards and address policies instituted by the newspaper’s management seen to be disruptive to workforce productivity and the readers.

AJI strongly condemns the atmosphere of intimidation created by the “Kompas Daily” management when the company’s security personnel forcefully removed Bambang from the office and detained him against his will for several hours in a holding cell.

Bambang was only released upon being delivered a dismissal letter signed by Editor-in-Chief Suryopra tom o.

AJI said Kompas Daily’s “intimidation, detention, and dismissal of (Bambang) are reprehensible, inhumane, and illegal.”

It continued, “The ‘Kompas Daily’ management’s efforts to restrict human rights and curtail collective efforts to improve communications are prohibited by the Constitution and labour law, and could result in criminal sanctions.”

AJI demands that “Kompas Daily” take the following actions:

- Reinstate Bambang to his former position at PT Kompas Media Nusantara.

- Recognise the workers’ right to elected representation and Bambang’s role as the union secretary.

- Rescind the decision to send Bambang to Ambon and abandon its policy of relocating union members.

- Respect the workers’ right to assemble and form trade unions without intimidation.

- Review the management’s culture of intimidation, starting with a thorough, transparent investigation of the events behind Bambang’s dismissal and a decisive, corrective action against the company’s security personnel.

Please send your support by sending your protest letters to PT KOMPAS Media Nusantara, addressed to:

Mr. Jacob Oetama, Mr. St Sularto and Mr. Suryopra tom o.

Facsimile: +62 21 548 6085, 548 3581

E-mail: kompas@kompas.com

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