Who buried ‘The Brunei Times’?

Image result for the brunei times closure

This was back on July 1, 2010 when The Brunei Times introduced a compact version and I was so kiasu that I headed to The Brunei Times office to grab the first copy that entered the office. Photo courtesy of Rano360.com.

More bad news for press freedom in Southeast Asia.


THE Brunei Times
, the second-largest publication in Brunei’s small and heavily censored media landscape, has been shut down. The paper was issued an official order to “cease publication and operations on 7 November” just three days prior, leaving 110 employees jobless in face of an economy analysts have describedas “spluttering.

This is a significant loss to journalism in a nation ranked 155th in the world for press freedom, compared to Thailand’s ranking of 136, and Myanmar’s ranking of 143.


The last issue of The Brunei Times, which has been publishing since mid-2006, contained an announcement stating the closure was due to “business issues, reporting and journalistic standards that should meet the mark set, and also issues relating to business sustainability.”


However, unsatisfied Bruneians on social media are pointing to a different tale.

An ex-writer for The Brunei Times reported in Pakistani news that the real motive behind the shutdown was a complaint filed by the Saudi Embassy, after The Brunei Times published quotes from an unnamed source in a story published on 26 October. The article covered the increase in Hajj and Umra visa fees for Bruneian residents, with the unnamed embassy spokesperson describing the hike as a result of economic downturn from falling oil prices (click here to view a text archive of the now deleted article).

Although an apology was issued on 4 November, there are angry suggestions circulating on social media that the complaint provided the final incentive for government to shut down the publication, which often toed the line of Bruneian censorship standards — even though they may have annoyed authorities from time-to-time.

According to the report, the anonymous ex-employee source stated, “The government had been angry with the paper for quite sometime for its work but the Saudi Embassy story proved to be the final straw.”

Students and researchers are also mourning the loss of the newspaper, which provides an invaluable source of information on Brunei spanning the last ten years.

In a country where there is virtually no criticism of government and where voices are worn weary under the threat of harsh and repressive legislation, we may very well never know what, or more darkly who, buried The Brunei Times. In an age of wavering press freedom in Southeast Asia, this is deeply troubling, solemn news.

New Mandala

Wed, 9 November 2016










Brunei’s second-largest daily newspaper shuts down abruptly


Rozanna Latiff


BRUNEI’s second-largest daily newspaper, The Brunei Times, published its final edition on Monday, after abruptly announcing plans for closure over the weekend, triggering online speculation about the reason.

The daily, which was launched in 2006, announced on its Sunday front page that it would cease publication the next day.

On Monday, it said in a longer notice that the closure was due to “business issues, reporting and journalistic standards that should meet the mark set, and also issues relating to business sustainability…”

The daily did not address posts on social media that it had been ordered to shut down for publishing an article on Oct. 26 about changes in visa fees imposed by the Saudi Arabian government for Brunei haj pilgrims.

The daily carried an apology for the article on its website on Friday.

A spokesman for The Brunei Times declined to comment on the posts and instead referred Reuters to Monday’s front page statement. He said the newspaper had 110 people on its staff.

The Prime Minister’s Department did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

“The Brunei Times… no longer has sustainable resources to continue its media and publication operations and the company’s Board of Directors has agreed that the best course of action is to close down the paper,” the paper’s notice said.


Monday, 7 November 2016









‘The Jakarta Post”s Chief Editor is suspect of religious defamation

jp ms cartoon

THE Jakarta Police officially designated The Jakarta Post‘s Chief Editor Meidyatama Suryodiningrat (MS) as suspect in the alleged blasphemy case. Meidyatama is alleged defamation of Islam through cartoons in the newspaper published in July 2014.

Meidyatama deeply shocked upon hearing himself named as suspect in this case. Because it was not committing a crime, but only doing journalistic work that criticize ISIS movement. In fact, it had apologized to the public related to the news.

Meidyatama Suryodiningrat

Meidyatama Suryodiningrat

“We were very surprised by the fact we are not committed the crime as charged to us, because in fact we are doing the journalistic work criticizing ISIS movement that later became the government banned organization,” he said in a brief message, Thursday (11/12/2014) night.

“We’ve got information on this and today we are studying them,” he added.

In fact, Meidyatama said, it has received the opinion of the Press Council stating that this case is actually related only journalistic ethics, which means there is a criminal offense. So this should be the domain of the Press Council.

“However, we respect the process that is running and therefore we will follow the process that is taking place in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” said Meidyatama.

Call for Interrogation
Meanwhile, the Jakarta Police’s Head of Public Relations Police Commissioner Rikwanto said The Jakarta Police investigators will call Medyatama next week. This call for examination in Meidyatama capacity as a suspect.



“Investigators will call Mr. MS from The Jakarta Post. The plan is next week. He will be called as a suspect,” said Rikwanto at the Jakarta Police Headquarters.

Rikwanto explained, Meidyatama as editor in chief is responsible for the cartoon which was considered an insult to Islam. Because, he was suspected to know and approve all of the news content contained in The Jakarta Post daily. Including the cartoons.

Apology and Cartoon Withdrawal
On July 8, 2014, The Jakarta Post has apologized, in two languages, related news which is considered as blasphemy. The Jakarta Post also regretted the news in the form of cartoons.

“We sincerely apologize and draw caricatures editorial published on page 7 in the newspaper of The Jakarta Post on July 3, 2014. The caricature contains religious symbolism that has been alluded to,” wrote The Jakarta Post.

The Jakarta Post regrets the decision is not wise at all do not mean to attack or do not respect any religion.”

jp apolThe Jakarta Post‘s Editorial said, the use of the cartoons was inntended to criticize the use of religious symbols (especially the flag of ISIL group) in acts of violence in general, and in this case, against fellow Muslims.

“In particular,it’s intended to criticize ISIL group, which has threatened to attack the Ka’bah in Makkah al-Mukarromah as part of its political agenda,” The Jakarta Post‘s editorial said.

In this case, Meidyatama is charged under Article 156a of the Criminal Code of Blasphemy. Referring to the article, it threatens Meidyatama to 5 years in prison.

jp kmjThis case stems from the Korp Mubaligh Jakarta (KMJ) who reported Meidyatama Suryodiningrat as Editor in Chief of The Jakarta Post to Police Headquarters on Tuesday, July 15, 2014.

The preachers were judging, Meidyatama intentionally committed to sacrilege Islam through news cartoons published in The Jakarta Post on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

Thu, 11 December 2014

jp carto


Indonesian Presidential candidate Prabowo accuses ‘The Jakarta Post’ undemocratic, jerk

jpErik Purnama Putra

PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the Red and White Coalition Prabowo Subianto opened interview with foreign media at the Freedom Institute, Monday (14/7). The Hatta Rajasa pair was accidentally opened the debriefing room for foreign media after the declaration event of a permanent coalition of Red and White at the Proclamation Monument in Central Jakarta.

Prabowo was standing at the podium that has been provided in one room. He answered a few questions from foreign journalists. On one occasion, a woman journalist from The Jakarta Post media posed a question in English.

The journalist mentions her name and then his media. “From The Jakarta Post. To clarify ..,” he said. Journalist’s question was cut off.

Prabowo hurried remarks, also in English. “From Jakarta Post? Jakarta Post is already untie me. Why do you have to ask questions? You’re not going to publish it,” said the former commander of the Army Strategic Reserve Command.

The journalist chuckled and promised to publish it. However Prabowo still persists with his attitude. “I’m very open. The Jakarta Post has been clearly partisan. They always publish half at my ease. Sorry,” said the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Gerindra.

Get answers Prabowo, the journalist was still trying to ask questions. But Prabowo budged. “Thank you. I’m sorry. Jakarta Post, I do not want to answer. Sorry,” said the former commander of Kopassus (Army’s Special Forces Command).

The journalist then replied, “At least I’ve tried.” Prabowo still have an answer to that statement. “Yes you’ve tried. It is not your fault, but the owner of your media,” Prabowo said, laughing.

In the end Prabowo did not answer the questions of the journalists by the Jakarta Post. He still had time to respond to the reporter by saying, no longer works for the media carrying the democratic principle. “Because your media owner does not uphold democracy,” says Prabowo.

While the question and answer session goes on. Prabowo still serve inquiries from other media. As known, The Jakarta Post decided to support Jokowi-JK in presidential elections on July 9. The English-language newspaper affirmed to support one candidate in an editorial column.

Mon, 14 July 2014