Jakarta – The National Police on Tuesday made a sharp u-turn on a recent circular issued by Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo which bans the media from reporting violent acts by officers.
The controversial circular was dropped within 24 hours after its issuance following public uproar.
The police headquarters argued that the circular was actually meant for internal publications but they decided to reverse it anyway due to "public misperception" and mounting controversies among the society.
"The National Police headquarters has issued another circular canceling out the previous one in a hope that there will be no more misperception," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Rusdi Hartono told reporters in Jakarta.
In a separate interview, the police chief told Antara news agency he has no intention to ban members of the media from reporting misconducts by his men.
He claimed that, however, the actual wording had been misinterpreted by his subordinates who wrote the circular.
"Allow me on this occasion to clarify that what I really meant was for all officers to refrain from being arrogant and the excessive use [of force]," Listyo told the agency.
"I don't ban the media by any means from recording or taking pictures of arrogant or fraudulent officers."
"My subordinates put the wording incorrectly that the circular falsely bans the media from reporting arrogant acts by officer," he said without elaborating. Listyo added the circular in question was reversed on his order.
What does the circular say?
The Monday's circular carries 11 latest instructions from the police chief, with the first being the most controversial.
It says the media is banned from reporting violent acts by officers – indeed they are asked to portray police officers as "stern but humane" persons.
It also calls against detailed media reporting on interrogation of suspects or re-enactment of a criminal case.
The circular bans explicit and detailed reports on bomb-making steps and ways to activate an explosive device.