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Panpa Bulletin : March 2006
March 2006 PaNPa bUlletiN | 11 NeWS The campaign for the decrimi- nalisingofdefamationinIndonesia took a giant step forward with the Supreme Court decision on Feb- ruary 9 to clear Tempo magazine chiefeditorBambangHarymurtiof all charges of criminal defamation. "This is a great result for the campaign for press freedom in Indonesia," said International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) president Christopher Warren. On February 9, a panel of three justices; Justice Djoko Sarwoko, Justice Harifin A. Tumpa, led by Chief Justice Bagir Manan, ruled unanimously that the Press Law should be used to hear defamation cases against journalists instead of the Criminal Law, thus overturn- ing earlier decisions by the High Court of Jakarta and the Regency Court of Central Jakarta, which had found Bambang guilty of criminal defamation and sentenced him to a one-year prison sentence. According to Supreme Court spokesperson and panel mem- ber, Justice Djoko Sarwoko, the decision was made in recogni- tion of the important role of the press as a fourth pillar of democ- racy to keep society informed. Bambang was found guilty by a Ja- karta Court onSeptember 16,2004, of defaming businessman Tomy Winata over an article published in Tempo magazine on March 3-9, 2003. The article aired allega- tions that Winata stood to ben- efit from a fire in a textile market. "This is a win not just for Bam- bang, but for all journalists cur- rently facing criminal defamation cases in Indonesia," said Warren. "While this decision sets an im- portant precedent in the trying of defamation cases, it is only the beginning. In order for journalists to be protected from serv- ing jail time, the decision to use the Press Law and not the penal code when involving the media must be used by all Indonesian courts." The IFJ has called on the Government of Indonesia to amend the law so that libel and defamation can only be tried as civil matters. The IFJ has also called on the removal of the crimes of insulting the president or vice president. Furthermore, the IFJ has called on the defamation and libel laws to be reviewed to ensure that there is an appropriate and rational relationship between the relevant harm and the amount of damages that can be awarded. this article comes from Pacifc Media Watch online, http://www. pmw.c2o.org NEW Zealand's dramatically in- creased diversity of cultures and faiths raises new challenges for the media and community, a meeting organised by Race Rela- tions Commissioner Joris de Bres agreed unanimously. The meeting, of 19 media, religious and other repre- sentatives, discussed issues surrounding publication and broadcast of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. While all present agreed on the impor- tance of freedom of the media, they also said such freedom was not absolute, and came with responsibilities. these responsibilities include: > Sensitivity to diverse cultures and beliefs, and recognition of the diversity within cultures and beliefs > Responsibility to inform the community about diverse cultures and beliefs, and > Providing dialogue and chan- nels of communication between the media and faith communities The meeting acknowledged that the media has to make dif- ficult calls on such issues on a daily basis and these needed to be considered in an international context of conflict. Press freedom brings responsibility www.panpa.org.au PaNPa SPecS 2006 created by Peter dare: distributed by auspac Media ifJ calls for step up in campaign against defamation according to Supreme court spokesperson and panel member, Justice djoko Sarwoko, the decision was made in recognition of the important role of the press as a fourth pillar of democracy to keep society informed” there is a new bible for NeWSPaPer production in the australia-asia-Pacifc region