Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Aquittal of Time Magazine

Justice has prevailed!” That’s what I thought when I read the news last Thursday, 16 April, about our Supreme Court's verdict which accepted the Judicial Review requested by attorneys of Time Magazine, clearing all Defamation charges brought by the family of late former President Soeharto.

According to The Jakarta Post, the Supreme Court overturned its own verdict passed on August 2007, which required Time to pay US$ 106 Million Compensation for Damage to the Soeharto family. As the grounds for the verdict, Supreme Court Justice Hatta Ali said that Time "did not violate the law or breach ethical standards”.

The legal case started when Time (Asia) published in its 14 May 1999 edition an article tiled: “ Soeharto Inc., How Indonesia’s Longtime Boss Built a Family Fortune ”, which reported that Soeharto collected US$ 15 billion during 32 years in power, and transferred US$ 9 Billion from a bank in Swiss to a bank in Austria. Annoyed, Soeharto, through his team of attorneys led by Juan Felix Tampubolon, filed a Defamation Lawsuit demanding US$ 17.18 Billion compensation plus legal expenses. At the Court of First Instance and Court of Appeal Soeharto lose, but won the Cassation at the Supreme Court, due to which fact, Time has requested for the above Judicial Review.

Viva News reported according to their attorney Mohammad Assegaf, the Soeharto family has accepted the Supreme Court’s verdict.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Indonesian Alliance of Journalists (AJI) Nezar Patria said that AJI is grateful that the Supreme Court has adopted the Press Law and the Journalistic in handling this case.

I hope that the above verdict of the Supreme Court would be followed as Jurisprudence by other court judges in handling similar cases related to the news media.

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