In a response to the latest development regarding the case of Playboy Indonesia, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia stated as followings:
1. CONDEMNING threats of violence and intimidation by a group of court visitors against court apparatus, who were carrying their duties. The acts included: making noise in the courtroom, interrupting or protesting judges’ statements, telling inappropriate words in the courtroom, doing oration or reading petition in the courtroom and yelling outside the courtroom that disrupted the trial proceedings.
2. REGRETTING acts by omission of police apparatus, who were assigned to keep order during the trial, and that no efforts to enforce law were made against those who had disturbed the trial proceedings. If police let the hearing was terrorized, it means that police had participated in gnawing at the judicial power. AJI also REGRETTED that the judicial panel in the case of Playboy magazine was apparently not resolute to respond the dissatisfaction of some court visitors. Attitudes, which threatened prosecutors, defendants and witnesses during the trial proceedings, should not need to happen if the judicial panel had been resolute and enforced the judicial independence. As stipulated by the law, the panel of judges can drive court visitors, who are impolite, out or ask police officers to arrest those who make disturbances in courtroom.
3. URGING leaders of certain mass organizations to show good examples and sympathetic attitudes in expressing their views before the public. Indonesia is a state of law, which is based on Pancasila and the 1945 Constitution, where the freedom to express opinions is regulated and does not harm the rights of other citizens, much less cause fears and unsecured feeling to other people.
4. CALLING press colleagues who cover the trial of Playboy to make coverage in accordance to existing professional ethics, which are still valid. Covering both sides, being objective and critical and not judging are pre-requirement for a high-quality coverage, which is wanted by the public. AJI urged all journalists to improve professionalism and maintain independence and press freedom from the threats of any parties.
The position of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) INDONESIA in the case of Playboy:
That Indonesia is a democratic country, which is based on the law, where the differences in opinions and beliefs should be solved peacefully and based on legislation. The Indonesian press is a part of democratic reality, plurality and legal mechanisms.
Democratic means that all parties have equal rights and opportunities to improve themselves (regardless their religions, races, ethnic and faiths or ideology) and recognize differences available among the community. Playboy magazine, like other products of press publication such as Tempo magazine (news), Sabili magazine (Islam), TSM magazine (military), F1 Racing magazine (automotive), Kosmopolitan magazine (lifestyle), or Penyebar Semangat (Javanese culture), has the equal rights to live and opportunities to improve. The only thing, which can kill a publication, is if there is no readers buying it. But it is not killed under the name of ‘’dislike’’ or differences in beliefs. A similar principle is applied to newspapers, televisions and radios across Indonesia.
Based on law means that all products of publication existing in Indonesia must obey to legal procedures and have equal positions before the law. As long as Playboy magazine meets existing legal requirement (business publication permit), there is no reason for any parties to shut a press product or punish its management. In 1999, Indonesia had already had the Law Number 40 on Press, which guarantees press freedom and the public rights for information. The press can be punished if its media is used to commit crime or the management of the media commits crime. However, punishing a media management for the content of a news report is an effort to criminalize the press, which violates the spirit of democracy and press freedom.
Based on a legal guidance of the previous Press Council, AJI has seen Playboy as a product of press publication, so all objections related to a news report, so all objections to the content of the publication can be expressed through the rights to reply, the rights to make correction or reporting the concerned media to the Press Council.
AJI has a view that a dislike to a certain product of press publication, whether it has a news nuance, entertainment, sports, lifestyle, religion, culture, health, military, etc., can not be made as reasons for a crack-down or punishing the media management. There are still many ways, which is more peaceful and elegant, without violence and intimidation
ASKED the management of Playboy-magazine to improve the aspects of distribution of a magazine –Indonesia by focusing on the socio-cultural of the Indonesian people and aspects of consumer protection (particularly for children/teenagers) through the magazine’s distribution through the pattern of magazine distribution, which is stricter and selected.
Jakarta, March 22, 2007
Coordinator of Advocacy Division