Editor slammed for Megawati slur

An international journalists' group has criticised an Indonesian court decision to impose a suspended jail term on an editor who compared the country’s president to a cannibal.

    Megawati was likened to a cannibal

    A Jakarta court on Monday ruled that Supratman was guilty of  "publicly insulting" Megawati Sukarnoputri in several front page headlines in the popular Rakyat Merdeka (Free People) daily. He was given a six-month suspended prison term.

    The Committee to Protect Journalists, in a statement, said it "is appalled that Indonesia is using arcane colonial laws to criminalise journalists".
     
    "President Megawati Sukarnoputri must take immediate steps to remove defamation laws from Indonesia's Criminal Code," the New York-based committee said.

    Headlines

    Prosecutors cited headlines from several editions: "Mega's Mouth Reeks of Diesel Oil" for a story on a decision to scrap fuel subsidies; "Mega is a Loan Shark" for a report on high bank interest rates; and "Mega is crueller than Sumanto."

    Megawati was described as crueller than a man who was jailed for five years in June for eating parts of a corpse

    Sumanto was jailed for five years in June for eating parts of a corpse.
     

    Supratman argued that the headlines were direct quotes from participants in protests against Megawati.

    Similar cases

    In September the same court imposed a suspended jail term on another editor of the same newspaper for insulting parliamentary speaker Akbar Tanjung in a cartoon.

    Indonesia's media was tightly controlled during the 32-year autocratic rule of Suharto, which ended in 1998.

    A vigorous press has emerged since then. But media watchdog groups criticise an increasing number of law cases by public officials and others for alleged defamation.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Do you really know the price of milk?

    Do you really know the price of milk?

    Answer as many correct questions as you can and see where your country ranks in the global cost of living.

    The Coming War on China

    The Coming War on China

    Journalist John Pilger on how the world's greatest military power, the US, may well be on the road to war with China.