INDONESIA: 'Merdeka' suspends publication

Country's oldest paper ceases publication due to financial difficulties after returning last November under a new publisher

The Jakarta Post
Saturday, August 29, 2009

National daily Merdeka, the country's oldest newspaper, will no longer hit the streets after its Saturday, August 29, 2009 edition, putting an end to a comeback effort that lasted less than a year.

Chief editor Mulyana W. Kusumah said in his front page article titled "Final notes: Merdeka will never die", that financial constraints had forced the management of the daily to stop printing.

"Obstacles to our financial consolidation have forced us to give Merdeka a break, pending the realization of new ideas that we have been discussing tirelessly," Mulyana said.

The daily was reborn on Nov. 10, 2008 under a new publisher, PT Pers Indonesia Merdeka, owned by businessman Sigid Haryo Wibisono. The businessman has been implicated in a high-profile murder case, which also involves suspended Corruption Eradication Commission chief Antasari Azhar.

Mulyana said the suspension would not keep him and other Merdeka journalists from keeping committed to their pledge to publish a "national progressive" newspaper, promoting participatory democracy and people's political and economic sovereignty.

The daily was first published on Oct. 1, 1945 under noted journalist BM Diah, who went on to lead the daily until the end of his life in 1996.