Presidential candidate Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo said in a speech on Tuesday that the National Police should arrest the founders of Obor Rakyat, a tabloid that has been accused of publishing libelous content about him, as they have recently revealed their identities to the public.
'I ask the public not to get swayed by libel committed against me, because none of it is true. People in East Java burned all the tabloids because they already knew the truth and they refused to be bothered,' he said as quoted by kompas.com during a campaign rally at the Ex MTQ Field in Jambi city.
However, Jokowi said there was no reason to get overly worked up as the tabloid was 'hardly found in Jambi city and West Kalimantan', according to several reports he received.
Previously, Jokowi's presidential campaign team and lawyers filed a report with the National Police against the tabloid for publishing falsehoods about the candidate, which alleged he was a Christian of Chinese descent, rather than a Javanese Muslim.
On Monday, Obor Rakyat founder and chief editor Setiyardi Boediono defended his decision to publish his tabloid, saying that all media outlets had the right to be partisan.
On the same day, the National Police questioned Setiyardi over a defamation charge lodged against his tabloid, however he kept his plan to launch its latest edition with a cover bearing the headline 'Check the DNA of Jokowi, Iriana [his wife] and their first child.'
Obor Rakyat, founded by Setiyardi and Darmawan Sepriyossa, has been distributed for free to scores of Islamic boarding schools across Java. Setiyardi currently serves as an assistant to presidential special staffer Velix Wanggai. President Yudhoyono has expressed outrage over the involvement of his staff in the publication, though he has not taken any immediate action against Setiyardi.
Jokowi and his running mate Jusuf Kalla, are supported by a PDI-P led coalition that includes the Hanura Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the NasDem Party. The coalition secured 207 or 39.97 percent of the 560 seats at the House of Representatives during the legislative election on April 9. (gda)