“Call me BTP.”

Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, freed from prison on 24 January, has asked his supporters to call him just by his initials. For many, this is a symbol of the former Jakarta governor’s attempt to put the past behind him.

“I leave this place with the hope that you call me BTP and not Ahok,” he wrote in a two-page handwritten letter that was published 17 January, a week before he left the Mako Brimob mobile police detention center in Depok, a city 20km south of Jakarta. He’d served a two-year sentence after being found guilty of blasphemy for defaming the Islamic holy book, the Quran.

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Warief Djajanto Basorie

Reported for the domestic KN I News Service in Jakarta 1971-1991 and concurrently was Indonesia correspondent for the Manila- based DEPTHnews Asia (DNA, 1974-1991). DNA is a feature service reporting on development in Asia for Asian media in English and the vernacular. English-language subscribers included the Bangkok Post, Hong Kong Standard, Asian Wall Street Journal, Indonesia Times, Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In 1991 joined the Dr. Soetomo Press Institute (LPDS, Lembaga Pers Dr. Soetomo), a journalism school in Jakarta as an instructor and convenor in thematic journalism workshops. Most recently was project manager for three cycles of workshops on covering climate change since 2012. More than 600 journalists in provinces in Sumatra, Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), Sulawesi and Papua prone to forest and peat fires have participated. The latest cycle ended December 2017.