Jakarta – Outspoken government critic Andi Arief has accused Karni Ilyas, a senior Indonesian journalist working for TV One, of "defaming him" on television following his recent illicit drug case.
Andi, who recently resigned from his post as the deputy secretary-general of the Democratic Party, has urged Karni to apologize in public for "defaming him and violating media ethics".
He criticized the media for accusing him of criminal acts by consuming crystal methamphetamine.
"I know that Karni Ilyas was involved in finishing me off by assigning TV One news reporters to [the National Police headquarters] on Monday at 10 a.m. to spread pictures to get the public attention on me. I am not a crime suspect. As a senior journalist, you were neglectful," he posted on his Twitter account on Sunday.
He praised the police for "working professionally" but blamed the spreading of his pictures, including one of him in a cell, on Karni.
He singled out the journalist for character assassination, saying that Karni, who hosts popular TV show Indonesian Lawyers Club, went on with that show to paint him black, despite the fact that police had never named him a suspect.
Karni rejected Andi's accusation, saying in a tweet that he was not the one who assigned the reporters to cover Andi's arrest on Monday. He said his colleagues had ordered the coverage.
Police arrested Andi at a hotel in Slipi, West Jakarta, on March 3 after he reportedly consumed crystal methamphetamine. They released him on March 5, saying Andi would undergo a drug rehabilitation program.
He is currently in a rehabilitation program at the Drug Addiction Hospital (RSKO) in East Jakarta.
There has been a debate about sending drug users to jail. Legal Aid Institute LBH Masyarakat has been at the forefront of a campaign for not sending users to jail but to rehab instead.
Andi has been in the spotlight a number of times over the past year following several controversial statements he made on Twitter, including one on unverified news that millions of precast ballots had arrived at Tanjung Priok Port in North Jakarta.
He later deleted the tweet, but it triggered an uproar on the internet, prompting the General Elections Commission (KPU) to investigate the claim, which turned out to be false. (das)