New York, Sept. 16, 2004—The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores today's guilty verdict and sentencing of Indonesia's Tempo magazine Chief Editor Bambang Harymurti. The journalist received a one-year prison sentence for publishing an allegedly libelous article in the weekly last year.
"Today's ruling is a disturbing setback for Indonesia's hard-won press freedoms," said CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper. "This guilty verdict sends the wrong message to journalists, especially on the eve of the presidential runoff elections. Journalists should never be jailed for their work, and Indonesia's outdated criminal libel laws should be strucks from the penal code at once."
Two other journalists from Tempo, reporter Ahmad Taufik and editor Iskandar Ali, were acquitted of criminal libel charges earlier today, according to international news services.
Announcing the acquittal, a judge told the packed court that "the report is still false, but the responsibility should not lie with the reporters but with the chief editor," The Associated Press reported.
The charges stem from an article published in Tempo last March alleging that prominent businessman Tomy Winata stood to profit from a fire at a textile market he owned. Winata launched as many as six separate legal actions against the magazine in response, even though the article included his denial of any connection to the fire.
Harymurti told reporters that he will appeal today's ruling, according to international news reports. He is free pending the appeal, despite prosecutors' requests in July that Harymurti be immediately imprisoned at the time of the court's decision.
CPJ calls on Indonesia to investigate death of detained journalist
June 26, 2018 2:07 PM ET
New York, June 26, 2018--Indonesian authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into the death of journalist Muhammad Yusuf and consider the possibility that he was killed in retribution for his reporting, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today....
TV reporters attacked while covering Indonesia protest
February 13, 2017 9:51 AM ET
Bangkok, February 13, 2017--Indonesian authorities should identify and bring to justice those responsible for assaulting two journalists with broadcaster Metro TV at a February 11 demonstration in the capital Jakarta, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today....
Two British journalists convicted in Indonesia over visa violations
November 3, 2015 1:29 PM ET
New York, November 3, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the conviction of British filmmakers Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser who, according to reports, were sentenced to two and a half month in prison in Indonesia today. The conviction represents a failure of the government to reverse...
Two British filmmakers on trial in Indonesia over visa regulations
October 22, 2015 3:52 PM ET
New York, October 22, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the continued detention and trial of two British filmmakers who have been held in Indonesia since May 28. They are being held with the general prison population in a provincial jail in Batam, according to family members....