Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Alliance of
Independent Journalists (AJI), in demanding the withdrawal of criminal defamation
charges against Tempo magazine.
The charges relate to Tempo’s June 28 cover story, entitled “Fat
Bank Accounts of Police Officers”, on alleged suspicious bank accounts held by
several high-ranking police officers.
The issue featured an illustration
showing a uniformed policeman with piggy banks. The caricature prompted Indonesia’s
police headquarters to file criminal defamation charges against Tempo with the Police Criminal Unit, an
institution under the authority of the national police.
Articles 207 and 208 of Indonesia’s Criminal Code cover criminal
defamation and are well-known as a legal tactic used to attempt to muzzle the
press in Indonesia.
“The IFJ is concerned that the
charges filed by the police, now in the hands of the Police Criminal Unit,
constitute a conflict of interest, as there is little guarantee of impartiality
in the handling of the case,” IFJ Asia-Pacific
Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ joins AJI in strongly recommending
that Indonesia’s police headquarters would be better served by pursuing
procedures stipulated under Press Law No. 40/1999, which allows for right of reply
or to file a complaint with the Indonesian Press Council.”
information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific
on +612 9333 0919
represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries