Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika says he is ready to spend the rest of his life, if necessary, in a legal process seeking justice in his case against The Bali Post.
Quoted in Nusa Bali, Pastika made this affirmation after meeting with Rofiki Hasan, Chairman of the Denpasar chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), and, Bagus Ngurah Rai, Chairman of Bali chapter of the Indonesian Journalists Organization (PWI), at his office on Thursday, December 7, 2011.
Accompanied by the chief of Public Relations and Protocol for the province, Ketut Teneng, Pastika said he is following the rules set forth in the national press law. Mediation is underway, but Pastika said the Press Council is not being transparent in publicizing the results of the mediation process. The governor is displeased with the fact that in the original findings the Press Council declared the reporting in the case by The Bali Post as unverified and inaccurate. However, the Press Council omitted to state this fact again in the written report on the mediation process.
Pastika is also unhappy with the daily barrage of tendentious front-page editorial published by The Bali Post i and, as a result, he has confirmed his intent to the PWI and AJI to continue the legal case seeking million of dollars in damages from the newspaper.
Pastika labeled the continuing coverage in the case to force his hand as immoral, provocative, tendentious and attempting to incite the public. Rejecting the view that he is not a friend of the press, Pastika countered: “It is as if I am trying to rein in the press and am threatening press freedom. Why would I create a press room.? (Why) do I visit the press when they are tying their stories in the pressroom? (Why) do I provide them with news? When I was in Jakarta, I became a source for news for Pos Kota. Almost every day, at that time, I was the source of the news.”
Governor Pastika also objects to efforts to try to link his case against The Bali Post with the murder of a reporter in 2009 from Radar Bali, Anak Agung Prabangsa, supposedly in connection with his coverage of corruption in Bangli. Said Pastika: “If there are reporters who are being threatened, let me know. Don’t let an incident like that of Prabangsa be connected. Don't let there be a set up. Later, if something happens to a reporter, I might be accused.”
When quizzed on the results of his meeting with the PWI and AJI, Pastika said: “I have asked for the lies in the news to stop; stop insinuating. Up until this point, the news has been like that.”
Governor Pastika explained that the law provides him four legal avenues. These are: the right of response; the right to file a civil suit; the right to make criminal charges and the rights under commercial law. Dismissing the applicability of commercial law, Pastika said he is left with civil or criminal solutions.
The Governor complained that when he made a public statement clarifying the erroneous news published by The Bali Post after he testified before the Bali House of Representatives (DPRD-Bali), but the newspaper failed to print that clarification.
Bali’s governor has called on the factions making public comments portraying him as trying to control the press to make an effort to try to truly understand the facts of the case. He said the press was publishing lies and that The Bali Post has never admitted its violation of the principles of press ethics. Because of this, Pastika is using his right to seek justice before the law.
Angered with the unfair treatment he continues to receive from The Bali Post, Pastika said: “If this is the situation, I’m ready to continue this case for the next five years, If the courts say I have no right to file this suit, I will appeal. I am ready to go (all the way) to the Supreme Court. I am prepared to litigate for ten years into the future. It doesn’t matter. (I’ll do it) for the rest of my life.”
[Press Freedom Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry]
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