Jakarta (ANTARA News) - When Bung Karno (the Indonesian proclamator) was imprisoned by Dutch colonizers in Boven Digul, Papua (formerly Irian), he wrote a very inspiring book for the Independence fighters entitled "Di Bawah Bendera Revolusi" (Under the Flag of the Revolution).

Meanwhile, when Bung Hatta (the co-independence proclaimer) was imprisoned in Sukamiskin in Bandung, West Java, he wrote a book of "Mendayung Di Antara Dua Karang" (Rowing Between Two Reefs) which until now serves as a reference for the implementation of the free active foreign policy.

Those founding fathers wrote the books under restrictions, yet their works have inspired the younger generation to gain independence and develop the nation for the sake of the country and the people.

When Bung Karno and Bung Hatta were asked about the objectives of writing the phenomenal books, both said, "Indonesia must be an independent nation and become better and better and a respected and dignified nation".

Both Proclaimers of Independence have encouraged me to enjoy writing and made me a journalist until I am now serving as the Chief Editor of the Indonesian National News Agency (LKBN) Antara, the only official state news agency in the country.

Being accepted by Antara as a journalist in 1988, I started attending the fifth Journalist Basic Course (locally known as the abbreviation of Susdape) at Antara School of Journalism. Then in 1989, I got the first assignment as a journalist who covered forestry and agriculture issues.

At first I complained my superior for assigning me to cover those issues since I was a graduate of the International Relations program at Airlangga University in East Java provinces capital of Surabaya. My superior told me that cub journalists should not refuse tasks given to them.

In the course of the time, I then felt joyful to cover forestry and agriculture issues, especially because I was frequently invited to visit various regions by then Forestry Minister Hasyrul Harahap and then Agriculture Minister Wardoyo at that time, even I had visited almost all districts in the country.

In 1990, I participated in a short course of small scale business management at Capilano College, Vancouver, Canada. After returning from Canada, I was assigned and posted at the Presidential Palace from 1991 to 1992.

A year later, I was stationed in New York as Antaras Head of Bureau in the US until 1998.

No vain
From those experiences I concluded that the knowledge obtained in college is never unworthy. After frequently covering forestry and agriculture issues, I later covered many international issues directly from the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York.

When I was a student at the International Relations Studies Program, I learned a lot and discussed international issues such as international diplomacy, international politics, and the roles of the agencies or institutions under the United Nations multilateral organizations.

Returning from New York I was trusted to run several duties at various positions, namely as Antaras Coordinator of Cooperation with the British news agency Reuters, the CEO of Antaras subsidiary of Indonesian Market Quotes (IMQ), and Chief of West Java Bureau.

Then I got a mandate as a Director of Antaras Pension Fund, an Expert Staff Coordinator, a General Manager (GM) of Business Development, and now as the News Director of Antara.

I assumed my latest position after taking part in a fit and proper test carried out by an independent institution as a request from the Ministry of State-Owned Enterprises. The participants were incumbent directors, general managers, and several bureau chiefs.

In the era of media convergence and information technology today Antara also has to be some sort of clearing house or a center to counter negative issues, especially the ones spreading in social media.

In regard to such a condition, I have always stressed that Antara should educate, enlighten, and empower people within the framework of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia (NKRI).

Antara itself was established by the young fighters, long before Indonesias independence on December 13, 1937. The founders of the news agency are Adam Malik (Indonesias former vice president), Pandu Kartawiguna, AM Sipahutar, and Sumanang.

Following Indonesias independence, Adam Malik held various strategic important positions including President of the UN General Council, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Vice President.

Before the independence, Antara served as a "bridge" for the people and freedom fighters (and vice versa), and after the proclamation until now the news agency should always be able to bridge the interest of the people and that of the government or the interest of the government and that of the people.

For me, working as a journalist in Antara is a religious service, and the position as the News Director is a mandate. Thus, the mandate should be carried out as well as possible for the benefit and advancement of Antara besides for the welfare of employees and journalists.

Furthermore, my vision is to make Antara a world-class news agency and to make the agency a reliable and trustworthy agent of State of Public Relations besides making to always uphold the national interest both at home and at the international community.

"Last but not least", as a journalist, I am more grateful and proud to get a trust as one of the assessors for the Journalist Competency Test at the Indonesian Journalists Association (PWI).

*The writer is the News Director of Antara


Reporter: Aat Surya Safaat
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