The Jakarta Post
The founder of controversial tabloid Obor Rakyat, Setiyardi Boediono, defended his decision to publish allegedly libelous reports on the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle's (PDI-P) presidential candidate, Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo, saying that all media outlets had the right to be partisan.
'Print media outlets can be partisan, unlike electronic media outlets, which use mediums that belong to the public,' he told reporters after undergoing questioning at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Monday.
Setiyardi, who also serves as the tabloid's chief editor, was questioned by the police on a defamation charge against his tabloid.
Previously, Jokowi's presidential campaign team filed a police report against the tabloid for publishing falsehoods about the candidate, which alleged he was a Christian of Chinese descent, rather than a Javanese Muslim.
Setiyardi said that his tabloid was in fact published to give information about Jokowi's failures during his tenure as Jakarta governor.
'I wear a checked shirt. I am a citizen of Jakarta who has been disappointed and deceived by Jokowi. I have a right to criticize him. Every presidential candidate should be able to accept criticism,' said Setiyardi, who donned a checked shirt resembling Jokowi's signature attire during his questioning session.
Democratic Party official Hinca Panjaitan, in his capacity as Setiyardi's lawyer, blasted the Press Council for ruling that Obor Rakyat was an illegitimate journalistic product.
'The Press Council made the decision without seeking confirmation from Obor Rakyat. Thus, Pak Setiyardi will today come and give an explanation to the council,' said Hinca, who once served as a Press council member.
The defamation charge apparently did not stop Setiyardi from launching the latest edition of Obor Rakyat.
'The maiden edition was just to test the market. Insya Allah [God willing], I will officially launch Obor Rakyat in the near future,' he said while displaying the cover of Obor Rakyat's upcoming edition, with the headline 'Check the DNA of Jokowi, Iriana [his wife] and their first child'.
Also at National Police headquarters, the PDI-P's legal team filed a report against the head of the Progress 98 activist group, Faizal Assegaf, along with chief editor of online news portal inilah.com, Diendien Ridhotullah, over the distribution of a transcript of an alleged wiretapped conversation of PDI-P chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri.
PDI-P legal team member Trimedya Panjaitan said that Faizal was responsible for releasing the transcript of a telephone conversation in which Megawati supposedly asked Attorney General Basrief Arief not to implicate PDI-P presidential candidate Jokowi in a graft case.
'Bu Megawati feels that she was hurt by the report. It is not in her nature to intervene [in criminal investigations],' he said.
The transcript, which was made public last week, claims that Megawati attempted to protect Jokowi from the ongoing investigation into the graft-ridden procurement of Transjakarta buses, which is being handled by the Attorney General's Office (AGO).
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