The Jakarta Post
A man in Medan, North Sumatra, has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and a fine of Rp 5 million (US$381) after the Medan District Court declared him guilty of violating the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law in light of a tag on his Facebook page.
The man, Dodi Sutanto, was tagged by a friend in a news story from local online media outlet medanseru.co on the arrest of local businessman Anif Shah by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
Claiming that Dodi did not offer clarification about the news and that his friends on the social networking site could access the story from his page, Anif reported Dodi to the police for defamation and violating the ITE Law, according to a press statement from the Legal Aid Institute for The Press (LBH Press) on Saturday.
Dodi, who is also the chairman of the National Committee of Indonesian Youth’s (KNPI) North Sumatra branch, was taken into custody and the case was processed without supporting evidence, LBH Press research and network division chief Asep Komarudin said.
"The legal process was odd because the editor of the disputed news was not questioned at all by the police. Press Council chairman Yosep Adi Prasetyo also declared that the online media was vague and not under the protection of the Press Council," Asep said in a statement.
The police also named as suspects several of Dodi’s friends who shared and were tagged in the story, though their cases are still ongoing. LBH Press feared that more people could be implicated in the same charges.
"We regret the court's verdict that declared Dodi guilty without a fair trial. Of all ITE Law violation cases, this case is the worst in terms of the verdict," Asep said.
LBH Press urged the National Police to order the North Sumatra Police chief to stop the investigation, in accordance with a 2005 police circular that prioritized corruption cases over defamation cases. Furthermore, Asep called on the House of Representatives to eliminate the defamation article during deliberations on the revision of the law.
The ITE Law has long been lambasted by the public for jeopardizing freedom of speech. (rin)
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