Indonesia: IFJ submits amicus curiae in support of local journalist

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has submitted an amicus curiae to support Diananta Putra Sumedi, former chief editor of local online media Banjarhits.id. The IFJ and its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia call on authorities to drop all charges against Diananta.

Diananta Putra Sumedi went on trial. Credit: The Coalition for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Press Freedom

Diananta was charged for the allegation of breaching the Electronic and Information Transactions which carries a punishment of 6 months in prison. Diananta was arrested on May 4 following the publication of an article on a land conflict entitled Johnlin seizes land, Dayak complains to the South Kalimantan Police on November 9, 2019. The article was published in Banjarhits.id, a partner of national news media Kumparan.

Despite the issue being taken to the Press Council who make recommendations and solve media conflicts, the court case is ongoing. The trial begun in Kotabaru District Court, South Kalimantan on June 8. Prosecutors alleged the published article caused hatred or hostility against individuals and groups. Today, Diananta is scheduled to have his defense submission.

IFJ, AJI, and other media freedom organisations are continuing to monitor the complaint against Diananta Putra Semedi before the Kotabaru District Court and the Press Council.

The IFJ wishes to express its strong support for the handling of this matter by the Indonesian Press Council and its corresponding opposition to the treatment of this matter as a criminal matter.

AJI said: “Charges against Diananta and the criminalisation have shown that the authorities ignore the fact that the Press Council has handled this matter and produced recommendations. The trial and charges can be used as intimidation tools for journalists who had reported critically.”

The IFJ said: “The IFJ calls on authorities to dismiss the charges against Diananta and allow the Press Council to adjudicate on the matter.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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