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Jakarta Post

'€˜Obor Rakyat'€™ founder stands ground, attacks Press Council

  • Yuliasri Perdani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 24, 2014   /  09:52 am

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 '€œJokowi'€ Widodo, saying that all media outlets had the right to be partisan.

'€œPrint 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.

'€œI 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.

'€œThe 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.

'€œThe 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, 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.

'€œBu 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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