Monday, January 31, 2011

KPK and the Politicians

Last Friday, the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) arrested 19 current and former members of the House of Representatives over alleged bribery related to the appointment Senior Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia in 2004.

The arrest angered political parties of those politicians, Golkar Party, the PPP and PDIP, who alleged that KPK has not been fair in their actions. They said that KPK should take action on recent cases like the Bank Century bailout.

They further alleged that the arrest was a consession made by KPK to the Attorney General in exchange for the release of two of its Vice Chairmen i.e. Bibit and Chandra from Criminal Prosecution. 

In retaliation to KPK's action, last Monday the House of Representatives Legal Commission canceled a meeting with KPK, because some of their members refused to meet with Bibit and Chandra who they claimed are still not cleared from Criminal Prosecutions.
Later on, they banned both gentlemen from attending future meetings with the House.  

The above mentioned actions of the members of the House of Representatives reminded me of the statement made by former President Abdurrahman Wahid who alleged that their behaviours were like Kindergarten kids.

Photo : Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ariel gets three and a half years in prison

The District Court of Bandung, West Java, today sentenced Nazril Irham a.k.a Ariel, Singer of Pop Band Peterpan, to three and a half years in jail, and  pay a Fine of Rp 250 million for distributing pornographic material on the internet.

This sentence is much lower than what the Prosecutors have requested i.e. five years based on the Pornography Law and the Criminal Law.

Ariel has been detained by the Police in Jakarta since he surrendered on 22 June 2010 over two video that allegedly show him having sex with TV presenters Luna Maya and Cut Tary. His prison sentence shall be reduced by the time he has spent in detention.

The sentence was protested by around 1,000 members of fanatic Islam group who demanded that Ariel should be sentenced to five years as demanded by the Prosecutors.

I hope that the judges passed its verdict merely based on their own consideration and not because they were pressured by anyone.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

The E-Passport

Since the Police arrested him on March 2010, Tax crime suspect Gayus Tambunan has left detention center 68 times, including some overseas trips to Singapore, Malaysia and Macau

According to the Police, Gayus and his wife used false passport for the overseas trips.

In order to prevent the falsification of passport in the future, the government has issued the E-Passport i.e. passport that has an electronic chip embedded inside the book for a more accurate identification process. The electronic-based information technology adopts and followed the security standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

I wonder whether this new kind of passport would be able to prevent people for falsifying passports, considering that like the old passport it will also be issued by human beings.

Photo:  Courtesy of Gizmodo

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Twitter Phobia

On June 2009, millions of people in Iran used Twitter micro-blog to communicate, coordinate and document their protest against the result of presidential election in their country which they alleged has been unfair.

Last Tuesday, the government of Egypt has banned Twitter because they alleged that the micro-blog has been used by millions of people in that country to communicate, coordinate and document their protest against the 30-years old authoritarian government of President Hosni Mubarak.  

And last Thursday, our Minister of Defense Purnomo told reporters that Twitter has the potential to be a non military threat to our national security.

The above shows that Twitter, which has enabled hundreds of millions of people around the world to enjoy communicating easily with each other, is considered by regimes and top officials in some countries as a threat to their authority.

Logo :  Courtesy of Twitter.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Is Antasari really Guilty ?

After the South Jakarta District Court sentenced him to Seven Years in prison and pay a Fine of Rp 300 Million last week, ex Taxman Gayus Tambunan made some shocking statements to reporters.

Gayus said that the Prosecutors should have brought Cirus Sinaga, who prosecuted him in his previous case, as witness. He said that this was not done because they feared that Cirus Sinaga would reveal the irregularities in the murder case of former Chief of the Corruption Eradication Commision (KPK) Antasari Azhar. He also said that Cirus Sinaga has fabricated the said murder case.

Antasari is now serving an 18-year jail term for ordering the murder of state company director Nasrudin Zulkarnaen in March 2009. The Supreme Court has upheld the verdicts of the District Court and the High Court in Jakarta.

Last Tuesday, one week after Gayus made his allegations, the lawyer of Cirus Sinaga denied those allegations.

Gayus's statement reminded me of the murder charges against Antasari who was popular at that time because of KPK's successes in handling Corruption Cases that involved very important officials, e.g. former Deputy Governor of the Bank Indonesia who is the father-in-law of President SBY's son, and Bank Century Bailout which involved former Governor of said Bank and current Vice President Boediono.

First, there was the relationship between Antasari and the Golf Caddy girl Rani Juliani who turned out to be the second wife of the director of the state company he murdered.
As the a top official, it is very strange that he want to be involved continuously with such girl while actually he can easily get better ones.     

Secondly there was the rendezvous between Antasari and the girl at a hotel at a very crowded area in South Jakarta. For a married guy in his position, this is very foolish. Why not choose a villa at the Ancol beach resort in North Jakarta  where they can do anything they want without others knowing ?

Third, the murder was carried out by a group of 11 people lead by a Police Colonel Wiliardi that reminded me of commando operation in battle movies. Why so many people involved in the murder of an unguarded civilian ? Actually it can be done by only two persons therefore minimizing the leak of information about the crime.

Fourth, according to the report of Forensic Expert Dr Mu'nim Idris, it was difficult for him to determine about the murder because Nasrudin's body was sent to him in a manipulated condition, it has been moved from one hospital to another, bullet wounds were stitched, his hair shaved.

Fifth, Colonel Wiliardi said that the murder was fabricated by the Police. While former Chief Detectives of the National Police Susno Duaji confessed in favor of Antasari. 

Considering the above, I felt that there should be an investigation to find out the truth about the murder charges against Antasari Azhar.

Sources :
Tudingan Rekayasa Polri di Sekitar Kasus Antasari (Detik)
Cirus Says No Set Up in Antasari's Murder Trial (The Jakarta Globe)
Mayat Nasrudin Sudah dimanipulasi (VivaNews)
MA Tolak Kasasi Antasari (Liputan6)
Satgas Bantah Semua Tuduhan Gayus Tambunan (Tribune News)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jakarta Traffic

Traffic in Jakarta is getting worse every day, especially during rush hours in the morning and late afternoon.

The reason is because the numbers of cars and motorcycles increased much faster than the construction of new roads, as well as insufficiency of good quality public transportation.

In 2010, there were around 6.7 million cars and motorcycles in Jakarta. The number would be much bigger if we include surrounding area of Depok, Bekasi and Tangerang where many of their inhabitants work in Jakarta i.e around 11 million vehicles consisting of 3 million cars and 8 million motorcycles.

According to the media, the sales of cars in Indonesia last year rose 57% to 764.710 from 486,061 in 2009, and motorcycles rose 26% to 7.37 million. Around 700 thousand motor vehicles were sold in Jakarta.

Actually, the Jakarta government has made some efforts to solve the traffic problems.
It has developed the Busway system that connects many parts of the city, but considering it was built on existing roads, no additional roads, therefore the traffic became worst.
It has imposed Car limitations on the city's main roads Jalan Thamrin, Gatot Subroto and Jalan Sudirman, few hours in the morning and in the afternoon.
Starting this year the Jakarta government shall impose progressive car ownership tax, whereby citizens must pay higher additional tax for every cars they have.  

Besides, there is also a plan to start the construction of an integrated  mass transportation system, but the project need several years to complete, in the meantime the number of motor vehicles would be increasing very fast.

Considering the above, I felt that the government of Jakarta must expedite the development of an integrated mass transportation system i.e. the Subway connecting the south-central-west, resume construction of the Monorail.

Moreover, misuse of lands and road pavements should be stopped and corrected,  development of shopping malls should be stopped because we already have more than enough. Existing malls should be required to provide more access for entrance and exist to their facilities.

Sources :
Indonesia Car Sales up 57%, Motorcycles Sales Up 26 (Kompas)
Tahun in Jumlah Sepeda Motor di Jakarta 8 Juta Unit (Tribune News)

Photo :  Courtesy of Viva News.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Coins for the President

During a meeting with the Commanders of the Indonesian Armed Forces a few days ago, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) stated that his salary has not increased for the last seven years. 

In reaction to this statement, some citizens have decided to collect coins through Twitter and Facebook

Image :  Courtesy of TweetWaWa

The Mysterious Crop Circle in Yogyakarta


One of the most popular topics in the Indonesian media today is the existence of a Crop Circle (above) located in the middle of a paddy field at the village of Berbah, Sleman, Yogyakarta, around 5 kilometers from the Adisutjipto Airport.

UFO lovers told TV stations that the 60 m x 70 m Crop Circle is not made by human beings but by aliens from outer space and it is has some similarity with the one that has appeared in England in the '70s.. 

However, the Indonesian Space Agency suspects that the Crop Circle involve human invention, not a natural phenomenon or scientific phenomenon.

Meanwhile, artists in Jogjakarta said that they have nothing to do with the Circle Crop.

Sources :

Photo: Courtesy of Tribune News

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Underage Prostitution through Facebook

Facebook is the most popular online social networking media in Indonesia, that many people have been using this site to advertise their products and/or services.

This is obvious because according to Facebook, advertisements could reach over 500 million people who connect and share through this networking media.

But unfortunately, Facebook's popularity has also been used by some people to do indecent things, such as prostitution. Please find below an article about this that I have quoted from The Jakarta Post.

I hope that parents would show more care and attention on their children especially in browsing the internet including Facebook.

I also hope that Facebook's management would make efforts to prevent it's members from using their account for prostitution otherwise they would be facing problems with the information and communication authority here.

Woman arrested for running prostitution ring through Facebook

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Wed, 01/19/2011 4:43 PM | Jakarta

Jakarta police arrested a woman suspected of running a prostitution business involving seven junior high school girls through Facebook, a police official said on Wednesday. 

Central Jakarta police detective chief Adj.Sr.Com. Yoyon Toni Saputra said that Dede, 28, who was arrested on Monday, had allegedly committed the crimes for two years, reported. 

The suspect, a resident of Manggarai, South Jakarta, allegedly recruited his neighbors to become prostitutes. The suspect allegedly used Facebook to solicit the girls, aged between 13 and 16 years old, at the price of Rp 2 million (US$222) each, sending them to meeting places as required by the buyers once the deals were made, according to Yoyon.

Yoyon said the case was discovered after a teacher checked the Facebook account of a student who was a classmate of one of the girls. The teacher told the girl’s father about what he found, and the father reported it to the police. 

The father said his daughter had changed in the past few months.
“She used to greet us before going to school, but now she never does. She is rebellious and often returns home late at night,” he said, adding that everyday he gave her Rp 20,000 for pocket money.

On Tuesday the police also arrested one of Dede’s alleged customers, Alay, 50, in his room at Puri Kemayoran Apartment, Central Jakarta. He was arrested soon after a girl sent by Dede entered his room.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


Cyber-bullying is one of the most popular story in the media today.

According to Wikipedia, Cyber-bullying is "the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by individual or group, that intended to harm others".

As it has become more common in society, particularly among young people, legislation and awareness campaigns have arisen to combat Cyber-bullying.

Please find below an article about Cyber-bullying Court Sentence in the United Stated that I have read on Legal Blog Watch.

This week, 20 year-old Matthew Riskin Bean was sentenced to 45 days for cyberbullying, following his involvement with a group of anonymous Web users who tried to induce a teen to commit suicide.

The victim in this case posted nude pictures of himself on the Internet when he was 12 or 13. This wasn’t the smartest thing to do, but then again, 12- and 13 year-olds aren’t always known for being especially savvy.

A few years later, Bean discovered comments about the photo on an online imageboard, and he e-mailed the images to the teenager’s school, claiming to be a “concerned mother“ of another boy at the school, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

U.S. District Judge Anita Brody described Bean’s crime as “extremely malicious” and said, “You have to be blind to what's going on in this world not to know the effect of cyberbullying on present-day society."

As the ABA Journal notes, Bean could have been sentenced to five years in prison if had been charged with distributing child pornography.

Instead, he got off easy with only a 45-day sentence and five years of probation.
Even so, a few minutes of bad decisions could haunt Bean for the rest of his life. I wonder what potential employers will think of him when he has to disclose on job applications that he has been convicted of a crime.

Side note: A defense attorney apparently requested an alternative placement for Bean on the grounds that his client’s young age and his small size -- he stands 5-feet-4-inches tall and weighs 110 pounds -- would make Bean a target for abuse. What goes around comes around …

Image :  Courtesy of Peduli Cyber Bullying

Friday, January 21, 2011

Crystal Ball

Written by Tommy Shaw - STYX

I used to like to walk the straight and narrow line
I used to think that everything was fine
Sometimes I'd like to sit and gaze for days through sleepless dreams
All alone and trapped in time
All alone and trapped in time

I wonder what tomorrow has in mind for me
Or am I even in it's mind at all
Perhaps I'll get a chance to look ahead and see
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball
Soon as I find myself a crystal ball

Tell me, tell me where I'm going
I don't know where I've been
Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
And then tell me again
My heart is breaking, my body's aching
And I don't know where to go
Tell me, tell me, won't you tell me
I've just got to know

Crystal ball
There's so many things I need to know
Crystal ball
There's so many things I've got to know
Crystal ball

If you should see me walking
Through your dreams at night
Would you please direct me
Where I ought to be
I've been looking for a crystal ball
To shed the light
To find a future in me...
To find a future in me...

Crystal ball
There's so many things I need to know
Crystal ball
There's so many things I've got to know
Crystal ball

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

7 Years for Gayus Tambunan

The South Jakarta District Court on Wednesday sentenced Gayus Tambunan to seven years in jail and a fine of Rp 300 million. Gayus said he highly appreciated the "fair" verdict. (JG Photo) 

Gayus Tambunan was a mid-level officer at the Directorate General of Taxation, but government officials, members of House of Representatives, and law enforcement agencies have been treating him as if he was the only person responsible for all the Tax Crimes in Indonesia.

Every day the media reported about him starting from his arrest by the Anti Mafia Task Force in Singapore, his rich bank accounts, expensive house and cars, his 68 trips inside and outside Indonesia while in Police detention center, trial at the District Court of South Jakarta, and the Prosecutors' demand for sentence of 20 years imprisonment for Tax Corruption charges.

But today, the Court's panel of judges seems to have their own opinion about Gayus when they sentenced him much lower than the Prosecutors' demand i.e. 7 year imprisonment and fine of 300 million Rupiah.

After the trial, Gayus told reporters that he was very disappointed at the Anti Mafia Task Force because they have turned him into public enemy number one, tried to persuade him and his wife to confess that he has helped the Tax fraud of companies owned by Chairman of Golkar Party Aburizal Bakrie, and that he has met him in Bali when he was detained by the Police.

He also accused the US intelligence agency CIA of arranging fake Guyana passports for him, his wife and children for the out of detention trips to Singapore, Malaysia and Macau. 

Considering that the sentence is much lower than what they have demanded and what have been expected by the public, most likely the Prosecutors would file an appeal with the Jakarta High Court against the District Court verdict.

Sources :
Gayus Praises Judges, Lashes Out at Task Force (The Jakarta Globe)
Gayus verdict disappointing: Graft Watchdog (The Jakarta Post) 

Photo: Courtesy of The Jakarta Globe

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Uncertain Forest Moratorium

On 26 May 2010, the Indonesian government signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Norwegian government in Oslo, whereby Indonesia promised to reduce emission from deforestation and degradation (REDD), and Norway will pay a compensation of US$ One Billion in return.

For this purpose, the Indonesian government shall impose a Forestry Moratorium i.e. stop deforestration for a two years period starting 1 Januari 2011.

But unfortunately, until today, 18 January, the government still has not made any decision to stop deforestation in Indonesia.

I wonder whether the government delayed the moratorium because of the strong protests made by forests based businessmen and politicians who said that the compensation offered by Norway is too small compared to tax money that the government would collect from palm plantation and forestry industries.

I really hope that the government would stick to the commitment stated in the LoI, not just because of the US$ One Billion compensation but most of all because it will save our forest from destruction at least for the next two years.

Sources :
-  Menhut tegaskan LoI Indonesia-Norwegia Lindungi Hutan (HukumOnline)
LoI Moratorium Hutan Jangan Ditanggapi (Kompas) 
Kompensasi Moratorium Hutan Indonesia Dinilai Terlalu Kecil (WWF)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The ASEAN Community

Yesterday, a meeting of Foreign Ministers of the ten countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) was held at the Island of Lombok.

The meeting discussed about the ASEAN Community which shall be effective in 2015, and other matters such as pressures on Myanmar by Western countries, etc.

This news reminded me of a seminar about ASEAN organized by our Foreign Ministry and the Bekasi Blogger Community in Bekasi, West Java on 7 August 2010, that I attended with 100 other bloggers, students, teachers and journalist.

The Ministry was represented by the Director General of ASEAN Cooperation and three directors who explained that on 15 December 2008, ASEAN launched a Charter, that turned the organization into a legal entity and aimed to create a single Free Trade Area for the region encompassing more than 550 million people.

When the Free Trade Area between ASEAN and China became effective on 1 January 2010, many industrial and trade organizations in Indonesia protested by saying that they are not ready to compete with Customs Free imported goods especially from China, and requested for 2-3 years postponement.

While the ASEAN Community will start in 2015 and will be based on three pillars i.e. Security Community, Economic Community and Socio-Cultural Community.
I hope that the governments of ASEAN countries would do their very best to socialize the idea of ASEAN Community and the benefits that it would bring, so that people in those countries would want to have a closer relationship with each other. This can be done among others  by conducting joint events in the fields of sports like the AFF Soccer tournament, culture, education, etc.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ruhut Sued for Calling People Communist

Prior to the commemoration of the national Heroes Day on 10 November 2010, some people have proposed that the government grant a National Hero Award to the late former President Soeharto.

Many people protested against this proposal saying that Soeharto did not deserve the award because of the abuse of power when he was in power from 1966 to 1998 that caused very big difficulties to the country.

In reaction to that protest Ruhut Sitompul, lawyer and member of the House of Representatives from the Democrat Party, alleged that people who do not agree with the said proposal are children of the former members of the Indonesian Communist Party.

Due this allegation, Ruhut was sued by four persons who do not agree with the proposal i.e. Judilherry  Justam, Chris Siner Key Timu, Muhammad Chonzin Amirulla and Stefanus Asat Gusma, have submitted a lawsuit against Ruhut with the District Court of Central Jakarta last Tuesday.

The said Plaintiffs claimed that Ruhut has committed an Illegal Action against them when he made the above mentioned allegation.

The submission of  said lawsuit shows that the image of the Indonesian Communist Party is very ugly in Indonesia, therefore people would be very angry if they are called members of said party.  

Sources (in Bahasa Indonesia) :
-   Ruhut Sitompul Digugat Terkait Pernyataan PKI (Hukum Online)
-   Soeharto Tak Dapat Gelar Pahlawan Nasional (Suara Pembaruan)
-   Gelar Pahlawan Nasional Bagi Soeharto Berisiko Tinggi (Okezone) 

Photo: Courtesy of Kompas.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Impeachment : a Myth or a Fact ?

                                      Chief Justice: Mahfud (Right) - Deputy A. Sodiki (Left)

On 12 January, the Constitutional Court has passed a decision that makes it much easier for the House of Representatives to make inquiries to the government, which may lead to the impeachment of the President and/or Vice President.

The Court annulled Article 184(4) of the Legislative Bodies Law No 27/2009 which stipulated that inquiries can be made if a meeting is attended by by 3/4 of the members and agreed by 3/4 of the attendance, and decided that 2/3 would be sufficient.

The Court's decision was made in response to the Judicial Review requested by some members of the House of Representatives and citizens on the grounds that the above Article was contradictory to the Constitution of 1945 which ruled that the meeting's quorum should be 2/3.

I hope that members of the House would use their rights wisely and only based on the laws, regulations and very best interests of the people of Indonesia, and not merely based on their selfish political goals.

I also hope that the President and Vice President would work properly much harder, smarter, based on the laws, regulations, and the best interests of the people so that they would not be impeached.

For details, please read the following articles :

- Court Cuts House Threshold Level for Impeachment (The Jakarta Globe)
- MK Nyatakan Jumlah 3/4 Kuorum .... Inkonstutusionil (Mahkamah Konstitusi)

Photo: Courtesy of Mahkamah Konstitusi

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Government has been Lying

Last Monday, nine leaders of five religions in Indonesia alleged that the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) has been lying to the people.

For details about this, please read the following article that I have quoted from The Jakarta Post.

The Coordinating Minister for Politics, Laws and Security Djoko Suyono stated that the government has never lied to the public.

I hope that the government would pay very serious attention to the above statements and work much harder, much smarter and stop whining or making excuses.

Government tells lies: Religious leaders 

Ina Parlina, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Tue, 01/11/2011 10:34 AM | Headlines 

Nine prominent religious leaders of five religions in the country gathered on Monday, calling for the government to explain “at least 18 lies” within four days and end the lies altogether this year. 

The nine leaders, along with nine prominent activists on the environment, economy, society and human rights, said the government had told at least nine old lies and nine fresh ones.
Noted Islamic scholar Ahmad Syafii Maarif said the most embarrassing lie the government told its citizens was related to poverty.

“The government has repeated its claim on poverty eradication success, the latest figure stated 31 million live under the poverty line,” the leader told activists at the gathering hosted by Maarif Institute. 

“But the same government said in 2010 that 70 million were eligible for the rice for low-income earners program, and 76.4 million were eligible for low-income earner health subsidy.”

“It claimed that 5.8 percent of economic growth was a success, yet, small people did not feel the benefits.”

The list of new lies includes President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s promise in his speech in August last year on upholding pluralism, tolerance and freedom of religion. The fact was in 2010 there were 33 attacks in the name of religion, the group said in the discussion titled “Fight against Government Lies”.

Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, condemned the government as “not only lying, but not keeping promises”.

Senior Indonesian Buddhist monk Sri Pannyavaro Mahathera said that it was most dangerous if the leaders were lying and they did not feel it was wrong. He said he feared such lies eventually became a normalized mental attitude accepted by the public. “If the government makes no improvement, the fight against the lie will be in vain,” he said.

Chairman of the Communion of Indonesian Churches (PGI) Andreas Yewangoe said people often let depravity in the government occur.

He feared that at some point the public might embrace such lies, saying that one lie led to another, which at some point would be perceived and accepted as the truth. Hindu leader I Nyoman Udayana Sangging said that the reality did not fulfill the people’s expectation.

“Therefore, we are determined, according to each teaching of religion, that lies should not be maintained and truth must be disclosed,” he said.

Maarif added that, “If the government does not listen to the religious leaders who just like hermits come down the mountain to give moral lessons, then, who will the government listen to?”

Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) deputy chairman Shalahuddin Wahid, head of the Indonesian Council of Bishops (KWI) Martinus Situmorang, Catholic priest Franz Magnis-Suseno and Catholic priest Benny Susetyo were among the nine religious leaders.

Among the activists were Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence coordinator Haris Azhar, Econit Advisory Group director Hendri Saparini and Migrant Care executive director Anis Hidayah.
Anis said among the President’s lies was his promise to equip migrant workers with mobile phones.

The nine old government lies according to the leaders and activists were on poverty statistics, food security and energy, access to basic needs, the fight against terrorism, human rights protection, education budget, adequate settlement for Lapindo mudflow victims, case handling on Newmont, which was accused of dumping untreated mine waste in to the sea, and Freeport’s unfulfilled contract renegotiation promised in 2006.

New ones include religious freedom and national unity, freedom of the press, protection of migrant workers, government transparency, the fight against corruption, the handling of polices’ dubious “piggy bank” accounts, clean politics, handling of the judiciary mafia case and the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia in relation to the arrest of three officers of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry in Malaysia recently.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Courtney Love Sued for Twitter Defamation

Do people take what they read over Twitter as fact or opinion? That's one of the issues of contention in a lawsuit by designer Dawn Simorangkir against Courtney Love, over allegedly false tweets Love sent to her 40,000+ followers

For details about this story, please read the following article that I have quoted from THR,Esq.

Courtney Love’s Tweets Lead to Unique Defamation Showdown

Rocker's rants bring the first high-profile trial over celebrity Twitter comments.


The following article appears in the current issue of The Hollywood Reporter available on newsstands Wednesday.
Courtney Love was very upset.
The firebrand rocker had been locked in a dispute with Dawn Simorangkir, a fashion designer who was demanding payment for a few thousand dollars worth of clothes.

So on March 17, 2009, Love took to her Twitter account and began hurling a stream of shocking insults at the designer known as the “Boudoir Queen.” 

Love’s tweets, which instantly landed in the Twitter feeds of her 40,000 or so followers (and countless others via retweets), announced that Simorangkir was a drug-pushing prostitute with a history of assault and battery who lost custody of her own child and capitalized on Love’s fame before stealing from her. “She has received a VAST amount of money from me over 40,000 dollars and I do not make people famous and get raped TOO!” Love wrote.

That tirade, along with others the Hole frontwoman unleashed on social media platforms including MySpace and during the next four days, form the basis of a unique lawsuit headed to court in January: the first high-profile defamation trial over a celebrity’s comments on Twitter.

“There has never been anything like this case before,” says Simorangkir attorney Bryan Freedman, who will attempt to convince a Los Angeles jury that Love’s false statements destroyed his client’s fashion career, thus entitling her to potentially millions of dollars in damages.

In an age when public figures from Kanye West to Ryan Seacrest communicate influential messages to thousands — sometimes millions — of followers on social platforms, the Love case raises the question of whether celebrities, like the news media, should be liable for what happens if they intentionally put untrue and damaging statements in front of their loyal readers.

“We don’t believe there’s any defamation, and even if there were defamatory statements, there was no damage,” says James Janowitz, an attorney for Love.

A key to the case, say First Amendment lawyers, could be whether an average Twitter user would interpret Love’s vicious tweets as facts rather than merely her opinion.

“I’ll be interested to see if the court gives people posting on Twitter more latitude than other media,” says Alonzo Wickers, a defamation expert who has handled matters for such media clients as Comedy Central and TMZ. “The way Twitter is evolving, it seems to be more of a means to express opinion. I would hope courts give tweets the same latitude as they do an op-ed piece or a letter to the editor.”

To aid her case, Simorangkir plans to call to the stand Jessie Stricchiola, a social media expert who was tasked with studying how many people saw the Love rants and what kind of credibility is given to statements made on a casual forum like Twitter. Stricchiola will report her findings at trial.

Love, who is scheduled to testify in court, already gave a deposition in the case, during which she argued that she was only repeating in her tweets what she had heard from Simorangkir herself. (Simorangkir denies truth in any of Love’s tweets.) She did acknowledge Love’s influence as a fashion icon, of sorts, and Simorangkir plans to use those statements at trial to demonstrate that Love was enough of a trendsetter to effectively kill her reputation. In addition, e-mails and phone calls made by Love to Simorangkir in the aftermath of her Twitter rampage, some of which purportedly exhibit remorse about the comments, will be introduced to jurors.

Love’s attorneys have their own witnesses, including a medical expert who plans to testify that even if Love’s statements were untrue, her mental state was not “subjectively malicious” enough to justify the defamation lawsuit.

That claim — something akin to an insanity defense for social media — suggests that Twitter was so appealing and addictive for Love that she had no appreciation for how the comments she posted would be received by others.

The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 18 in Los Angeles. UPDATE: The trial has been delayed to Feb 6.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Crime Suspect sworn in as Mayor

Last Friday, Jefferson Rumajar, Mayor of Tomohon, was sworn in to serve his second term in office, and Jimmy Eman as Deputy Mayor.

The ceremony took place at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Jakarta, because since September Rumajar has been detained by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) as Suspect in a Corruption case that is now being tried at a Court in Jakarta.
After the ceremony, Rumajar, member of the Golkar Party,  returned to jail to induct 28 officials of the town of Tomohon, North Sulawesi.

Rumajar told reporters that although he will be in jail until the Court determine his legal status, however there will not be any problem because Deputy Mayor Jimmy Eman who will serve as Acting Mayor.

Meanwhile, Governor of North Sulawesi Sarundayang said that Rumajar will be suspended from his position as Mayor and Jimmy Eman shall become Acting Mayor. He also said that the induction of 28 officials by Rumajar was not legitimate.

The induction of a crime suspect is possible based on the Chief of Region Law 20044 which adopted the concept of Presumption of Innocent i.e a person is assumed innocent until there is a final court verdict which  determine otherwise.
In this case, Rumajar's position as Mayor will be determined after there is a final Court Verdict. If he is found guilty, his position shall be canceled, otherwise he would be be an effective Mayor.

The above shows that the sworn in of a Crime Suspect to serve as a Mayor has created uncertainty on who will lead the town, therefore should be avoided. For which purpose, I hope that Crime Suspects should not be allowed to participate as candidate in elections.

For details on the above, please read the following articles ::
Graft Suspect Made Mayor in North Sulawesi (The Jakarta Globe)
Graft-suspect incumbent sworn in as Tomohon Mayor (The Jakarta Post)
Walikota Tomohon Dinonaktifkan (Metrotv)

 Photo: Courtesy of Media Palu

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blackberry in Indonesia

I started using Blackberry mobile phone around six months ago, and since then all my online activities became  smooth and enjoyable for me.

Blackberry enabled me to have direct access to all my e-mails, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Blackberry Messenger 24-hours a day, and my monthly mobile phone bill dropped at least 40%.

For that reason, I was so surprised when I heard the Minister of Communication and Information Tifatul Sembiring a.k.a Tifie warned that he would shut down Blackberry services in Indonesia if its management i.e Research in Motion (RIM) refuse to block Porn Sites from Blackberry internet network in Indonesia by 17 January 2011..

And from the recent communications on Twitter, I found that many other Indonesian Tweeps felt the same way too about Tifie's above warning.

Frankly speaking, even if RIM finally agreed to block Porn sites from Blackberry network in Indonesia, I doubt that there will not be Porn sites anymore in Indonesia.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Rising Price of Chili Pepper

Chili Pepper is the basic ingredient for making the Sambal i.e a specific hot sauce consumed by most people in Indonesia.

Many people, including me and people I know, felt that eating would not be complete without Sambal.

For that reason, people are very shocked when the price of Chili Pepper jumped very high from Rp 20.000 several month ago to Rp 100.000 per Kilogram today.

 It is very difficult to understand why Indonesia as an agricultural country could suffer sudden shortage in the supply of Chili Pepper that has caused the price increase.

Photo:  Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why is Gayus so Strong ?

Former Tax officer Gayus Tambunan (31) is one of the most famous person in Indonesia today. This can be seen from the fact that his name and face appear on the media everyday.

                                          Credit : Wikipedia.

Besides, Gayus is also an influential person, this can seen from the fact that although he has been arrested by the Police since June 2010, but he was able to leave the detention center 65 times and free to go wherever wants to, inside and out side Indonesia using passport under the name of Sony Laksono.

                                           Credit: The Jakarta Globe.

The question is : why is Gayus that strong ?
Is it because he is a former officer of the Tax Office who has helped several big companies solve their Tax matters, and therefore got lots of money from them ?
Is Gayus being used to discredit the name of the Chairman of the Golkar Party Aburizal Bakrie, as owner of some of those companies ?

I shall be very grateful to hear your opinion about this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Suicide is Contagious

The number of people committing suicides in Indonesia has been increasing in the last few years.

In 2010, 81 cases of suicide were reported to the Jakarta Police. And according to a 2005 survey by the World Heath Organization, around 50,000 people committed suicide in the country every year.

In this regards, The Jakarta Globe has quoted a mental health expert in Jakarta as saying that this increase may have been caused by media coverage of people committing suicides.

Considering the above, I hope that the news media would be more careful in reporting about suicide case.

Photo: Courtesy of PhotoSearch

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Politicians and Football

2010 has left us with many home works that must be carried out in 2011, i.e. the eradication of Corruption, Poverty and Injustice.

We have among others, the mysterious Bank Century bail-out, the shaky leadership of the Corruption Eradication Commission, and prosecution of Taxman Gayus Tambunan.

Besides, we also have the inter-religion relationship which is often shaky when it comes to rights of minorities.

On top of that, there are the maneuvers made by political parties to prepare for the general elections and presidential elections in 2014, whereby according to our Constitution President SBY must end his second office term.

Although there is still no official announcement, however major political parties have been giving signals to the public about who would be their Presidential candidates.

President SBY's Democrat Party has the First Lady Any Yudoyono. The Golkar Party has its Chairman Aburizal Bakrie. And the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party in Struggle has the daughter of former President Megawati, Puan Maharani.

Various efforts have been made by the politicians, the most notable were made by Bakrie who gave Three Billion Rupiah and land area of Twenty Five Hectares to our national team as bonus for their success in reaching the Final Rounds of the recent AFF-Suzuki Cup football tournament.

Further, the Chairman of the Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) Nurdin Halid, a member of Golkar Party, has publicly announced that his decision to lower the ticket price for the tournament from Seventy Five Thousand Rupiah to Fifty Thousand Rupiah was made based on the request of Bakrie as his Party's boss.

In response to Golkar Party's above moves, and growing public demands for Nurdin Halid's resignation from PSSI, Arifin Panigoro, member of the Reform Democratic Party who supported President SBY, has initiated the creation of the independent Indonesian Premier League (LPI). 

Nurdin Halid and PSSI have declared that LPI is illegal and requested the Police to stop its activities.

I felt that the above situation is very ugly and not healthy for the development of football in Indonesia which is now showing some improvements. Therefore in order to make football develop well, I strongly believe that PSSI should be managed by people who are free from any political background.

Image :  Courtesy of Mises.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year Lyrics - ABBA

No more champagne
And the fireworks are through
Here we are, me and you
Feeling lost and feeling blue
It's the end of the party
And the morning seems so gray
So unlike yesterday
Now's the time for us to say...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don't we might as well lay down and die
You and I

Sometimes I see
How the brave new world arrives
And I see how it thrives
In the ashes of our lives
Oh yes, man is a fool
And he thinks he'll be okay
Dragging on, feet of clay
Never knowing he's astray
Keeps on going anyway...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don't we might as well lay down and die
You and I

Seems to me now
That the dreams we had before
Are all dead, nothing more
Than confetti on the floor
It's the end of a decade
In another ten years time
Who can say what we'll find
What lies waiting down the line
In the end of eighty-nine...

Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have a vision now and then
Of a world where every neighbor is a friend
Happy new year
Happy new year
May we all have our hopes, our will to try
If we don't we might as well lay down and die
You and I