Sabam Siagian, a 1979 Nieman Fellow and the first editor in chief of The Jakarta Post, died in a Jakarta hospital on June 3. He was 84.
Sabam, who was the first Nieman Fellow from Indonesia, served at the helm of the Post from 1983 to 1991. He departed the paper that year after being appointed Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia, a post he held until 1994.
Born in Jakarta in 1932, Sabam attended law school at the University of Indonesia and then, from 1967 to 1973, worked as a research assistant on the military for Indonesia’s United Nations representative.
He began his career in journalism in 1974 at the Christian newspaper Sinar Harapan (later renamed Suara Pembaruan). He became the founding editor in chief of the English-language Jakarta Post in 1983. After he left the paper in 1991, he continued to write columns about Indonesia and its foreign policy up until the last months of his life. He received the “Spirit of Journalism” award in 2010 on Indonesia’s National Press Day.