Media May be Banned under Draft Press Law Revision
Thursday, 14 June, 2007 | 14:43 WIB

Tempo Interactive, Jakarta: Leo Batubara, Chairman of the Press and Broadcasting Community, considers that the draft of Press Decree No. 40/1999 revision is an authoritative draft and has indications of undermining the freedom of the press.

“Just look at the articles' content, once again there are the terms censoring, banning and stopping the program to be carried out by the government,” Leo told Tempo in Jakarta yesterday (13/6).

In a copy of the Press Law revision draft obtained by Tempo, Article 4 on the freedom of press includes an additional one point that emphasizes: censoring, banning or stopping programs will be applied against media that contains news, pictures or advertisement which weakens religion's esteem, disrupts the harmony of devotees' living or endanger the defense and security system.

The draft contents are contrary to Information and Television Minister Muhammad Nuh's statement made when he visited the Press Council's office last week.

Minister Nuh even stated he would not interfere or take the initiative in the revision.

“It's not proper for the government to take the initiative. If anything indeed must be reviewed, the one who is first to know is the Press Council,” said M. Nuh then.

The plan for the Press Law revision was initially mentioned by the ormer Information and Communication Minister Sofyan Djalil, now the State Minister for State-owned Enterprises.

The revision composed by government, according to him, came from the wish to protect reporters in carrying out their journalistic duties.

Leo went on to say that the setbacks of the Press Law revision draft's content could also seen from the re-appearance of the government's involvement in regulating the producers of replay rights.

This is in spite of the fact that in the previous provision, the government did not interfere in the matter at all.

Ichasul Amal, the Press Council's Chairman, stated he could not yet respond to the revision.

However, he asked for the government guarantee that if the revision is carried out, it will not silence the freedom of press as regards journalistic activities.

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