Jakarta – The Jakarta chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) denounced United Indonesia Party (Perindo) chairman Hary Tanoesoedibjo's decision to report online media tirto.id to the Jakarta Police over alleged slander.
"If Hary Tanoe felt tirto.id's news coverage had damaged his reputation, instead of reporting it to the police, he should have used the proper avenues – as mandated [by the 1999 Press Law] – to respond. He could either use his right to reply or report the media company to the Indonesian Press Council," AJI Jakarta chairman Ahmad Nurhasim said as quoted by tempo.co on Thursday.
On Tuesday, Hary Tanoe reported tirto.id to the police for alleged slander over of an article it published titled, "Ahok used as a pretext for attacks against the government." In it, the MNC Group chief was mentioned as the main instigator of anti-government attacks.
The article, written by freelance American journalist Allan Nairn, was released on April 19, the same day as Jakarta's gubernatorial runoff election.
Hasim said Hary's move to report tirto.id to the police could threaten press freedom in Indonesia. Indonesian business tycoons who control media companies do not understand the meaning of press freedom and journalistic principles as regulated by the 1999 Press Law, he added.
Hasim said Hary should have provided a positive example in resolving media-related disputes. It was clearly stipulated in the law that if a media-related dispute could not be resolved with the right to issue a reply, it could be settled via mediation at the Press Council, he added. (dis/ebf)