Jakob Oetama, journalist and founder of Kompas Gramedia Group, dies at 88

Jakob Oetama, one of Indonesia’s most celebrated journalists and founder of Indonesian media giant Kompas Gramedia, passed away this afternoon at a hospital in North Jakarta. He was 88 years old.

Hospital representatives said that Jakob had been in critical condition since he was admitted in late August. His initial diagnosis was multiorgan dysfunction, which gradually worsened due to his old age and declining health.

Jakob’s body will be taken to the Kompas Gramedia Building in Palmerah, Central Jakarta for a wake, according to a statement issued by Kompas. He will be buried tomorrow at Kalibata Heroes Cemetery in South Jakarta. 

Indonesians mourned Jakob’s passing and paid tribute to the journalism icon.

We would like to express our condolences on the passing of Bapak Jakob Oetama, the founder of Kompas Gramedia.

Jakob Oetama, founder of Kompas Gramedia, passed away in Jakarta at 88 years old. He gave his colors to journalism in Indonesia, making Kompas daily as one of the most important newspapers in the New Order era.

Mourning the passing of Jakob Oetama, the founder of Kompas Gramedia, at 88 years old. Your works are eternal.

Farewell, Pak Jakob Oetama. Thank you for guiding the steps of this nation with your compass.

Born in a village in Magelang, Central Java on Sept. 27, 1931, he began his career as a teacher before becoming a journalist. His journalism career kicked off when he was appointed as an editor of Penabur weekly magazine in 1956.

Together with his partner PK Ojong, he founded Intisari magazine in 1963 before establishing the daily newspaper Kompas in 1965, which remains arguably the most respected publication in the country today. 

More than 50 years later, Kompas Gramedia has transformed into a multi-industrial business, which includes Kompas TV, publisher PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama, bookstore chain Gramedia, hospitality firm that manages hotel chain Santika Indonesia Hotels & Resorts, Dyandra event organizing firm, among others.


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