The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Press Council has ruled that daily newspaper Indopos violated the Code of Ethics by spreading misinformation in an article about incumbent President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plans after the April election.
The article, titled "Ahok Gantikan Ma’ruf Amin?" (Will Ahok replace Ma'ruf Amin?) published on Feb. 13, detailed a rumored plan that would replace Jokowi’s running mate, Mar’uf Amin, a 75-year-old Muslim cleric, with former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, should the ticket win the presidential poll.
It also said Ma’ruf would leave the vice-presidential post on account of his health.
The article, which was also published on indopos.co.id, also provided an infographic on how Ahok would later become president, replacing Jokowi, and businessman-cum-politician Hary Tanoesoedibjo, leader of the Perindo Party and a supporter of the Jokowi-Ma’ruf ticket, would become vice president.
Ahok, a Christian of Chinese descent, served as Jakarta deputy governor while Jokowi was governor from 2012 until 2014 when the latter won the presidential election. Ahok resumed the governorship and aimed for reelection in 2017. But he was accused and eventually convicted of blasphemy in a high-profile case that same year, costing him the reelection bid. Ahok was released after serving two years of imprisonment.
Jokowi’s camp has slammed the article for spreading misinformation, arguing that its main source was social media. The team subsequently filed a report with the Press Council, accusing the newspaper of violating Law No. 40/1999 on the press.
The Press Council agreed that the article had violated five articles of the Press Code of Ethics, including on spreading inaccurate information and failing to verify and clarify claims sourced from social media.
“Indopos had also violated the Guidelines of Cyber News Publication by removing the original news piece on indopos.co.id, edited and reuploaded the edited without providing an [editor’s] note,” the Press Council said in its statement on Friday.
The Council suggested that Indopos offer a right of reply to Jokowi’s camp.
Ade Irfan Pulungan of the Jokowi-Ma’ruf campaign has demanded that Indopos make a public apology with a banner headline in its newspaper.
“Indopos was found guilty of violating the press law’s code of ethics. Indopos should be punished by making a public apology,” Ade said as quoted by tempo.co on Friday.
The news outlet, he said, should also republish the infographic but caption it with the word “hoax”. Indopos must also make the statement on its online news portal, he added.
Indopos editor in chief, Juni Armanto said he would follow through with the Press Council’s recommendation, adding that the newspaper’s management would impose sanctions on the reporter who had written the article
“We will issue a warning letter for the reporter,” Juni said. (das)