The Jakarta Post
The managing editor of controversial tabloid Obor Rakyat, Darmawan Sepriyossa, has apologized to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo for the allegedly slanderous reports made by the tabloid in the 2014 president election during a defense hearing at the Central Jakarta District Court on Thursday.
"Whether or not our actions were correct or false and the stories we wrote and spread were factual or not, I realize that anyone who hurts someone else's feelings must apologize," Darmawan said in his defense trial.
Darmawan and Obor Rakyat editor-in-chief Setyardi Budiono were named as convicts by the Jakarta Prosecutors' Office for defamation. The case started during the hotly contested 2014 presidential election between Jokowi-Jusuf Kalla and Prabowo Subianto-Hatta Rajasa.
Jokowi's presidential campaign team filed a police report against Obor Rakyat for publishing false claims that the Surakarta, Central Java, native was a Christian of Chinese descent, rather than a Javanese Muslim. The tabloid also ran a headline slamming Jokowi as a puppet presidential candidate with a photo of the then Jakarta governor kissing the hand of Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) chairwoman Megawati Soekarnoputri in a gesture of subordination and homage.
During the trial, Setyardi told the court that the legal action against the tabloid should be halted and that the case should have been based on the 1999 Press Law, not the Criminal Code, as the case hinged around journalism.
"As stipulated by the law, sources or other parties that feel disadvantaged by the reports should use the right to clarify," Setyardi said during the hearing.
The presiding judges scheduled the next hearing to be held next Thursday; at the next hearing, prosecutors are set to state their case against the newspaper. (vps)