The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed that a police chief in Indonesia’s South Sulewesi has singled out a leading campaigner against criminalisation of the press for alleged criminal libel and defamation.
The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), an IFJ affiliate, reports that the head of the South Sulawesi Regional Police Office, Police Inspector General Sisno Adiwinoto, has accused Upi Asmaradana, the coordinator of the Coalition of Journalists against Criminalisation of the Press, of criminal libel and defamation.
Upi was charged on November 10 under several articles on libel and defamation in Indonesia’s Criminal Code.
The coalition led by Upi was set up in response to Adiwinoto’s regular statements promoting criminalisation of the media. It has reported its concerns to the National Police Commission, the National Parliament, the National Commission of Human Rights, Indonesia’s Press Council and the President, according to AJI.
Upi, who is a member of AJI’s Makassar Chapter and a former Metro TV contributor, is alleged to have “provoked journalists to resist the head of the South Sulawesi Regional Police Office”.
Upi was interrogated by police on September 17 regarding a dispute between journalists in Makassar and Adiwinoto.
In June, AJI reported that Adiwinoto had publicly advised people with complaints against the media to file police reports rather than use the Press Law’s complaint and resolution procedures.
“The IFJ is extremely concerned that a senior police official is abusing his position by actively seeking to criminalise journalists and the media,” IFJ Asia-Pacific said.
“The IFJ calls on national authorities in Indonesia to take immediate action to discipline Inspector General Sisno Adiwinoto and to order him immediately to desist from his efforts to undermine constructive efforts to handle complaints against the media without resort to criminal charges.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 120 countries