"This verdict, coming on the heels of a criminal defamation suit filed by Tomy Winata, sends a chilling message to the press in Indonesia," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper.
The article also included a statement from Tomy denying the allegations. Nevertheless, the presiding judge stated today that, "Tempo failed to find the truth by covering both sides before publishing the article," said a report in the Jakarta Post.
Tomy Winata, founder of the Artha Graha Group, has filed a number of lawsuits against Tempo magazine and its journalists, including a criminal defamation suit against Tempo, Harymurti, and Taufik for the "Ada Tomy in Tenebang?" article. Hearings in that case are ongoing.
In a verdict delivered January 20, 2004, the South Jakarta District Court ordered Tempo‘s sister publication, Koran Tempo, to pay US$1 million in damages to Tomy. Tomy sued Harymurti, who is also chief editor of Koran Tempo, reporter Dedy Kumiawan, and the PT Tempo Inti Media Harian company for defamation after the newspaper published a report in February 2003 saying that Tomy had applied to open a gambling den in South Sulawesi province.
For more information about Tomy’s legal cases against Tempo magazine, see the news alerts of January 21, 2004, and April 10, 2003.