Indonesian journalist reported to police for alleged defamation

Credit: AJI

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI) strongly criticise the report made to police of alleged defamation, regarding a journalists’ Facebook post. The IFJ call for the investigation to be dropped immediately.

On September 6, Relawan Perjuangan (Repdem) (Volunteers for the Struggle), a volunteer group, filed a report to the East Java Cyber Crime Division regarding a Facebook post written by respected journalist Dandhy Dwi Laksono. Dandhy’s post, according to Repdem, compared Indonesia’s fifth president, Megawati Sukarnoputri to Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, in the way that their parties had handled Papua and Rohingya issues. According to Repdem, Dandhy’s criticisms were slanderous and insulting of Megawati.

AJI, along with several civil society organisations have strongly criticised the report to police, noting that the Repdem had properly analysed Dandhy’s post. A solidarity campaign fro Dandhy had started online, under the #KamiBersamaDandhy (We Stand with Dandhy).

AJI President, Suwarjono, said: “Allegations made by the East Java chapter of Relawan Perjuangan (Volunteers for the Struggle) or Repdem that Dandhy Dwi Laksono had cast aspersions on Indonesia’s fifth president Megawati Soekarnoputri and current president Joko Widodo might have derived from lack of in-depth analysis of the journalist’s writing.”

 

“Upon rereading, we could see that the writing did not diverge from the facts and data that Dandhy Laksono had gathered in his journalism activities,” Suwarjono said.

 

Under Article 27 (3) in conjunction with Article 45 (3) of Indonesia’s Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) law: “Any Person who knowingly and without authority distributes and/or transmits and/or causes to be accessible Electronic Information and/or Electronic Records with contents of affronts and/or defamation shall be sentenced to imprisonment of 4 (four) years at maximum and/or fine of IDR 750 million at maximum.”

 

The IFJ said: “The allegations made against Dandhy Dwi Laksono are an attempt to silence critical voices in Indonesia. Defamation is increasingly been used across the region to create a culture of fear among the media. Journalists must be free to write, without fear of persecution. We stand with AJI and the media community in supporting Dandhy and call for the investigation to be dropped.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946 

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

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