Bali governor Made Mangku Pastika told the press in Denpasar on Friday, March 8, 2013, that the door is still open with The Bali Post for a peaceful settlement of the court case in which the leading Bali daily was found to have misrepresented the news.
Pastika said he was open to a peaceful settlement as a means to avoid crippling the press whose rightful role should be as a defender of democracy.
Quoted by Beritabali.com, Pastika said he has already long forgiven The Bali Post in his heart and it remained for the newspaper to decide if they want to accept the decision of the courts or appeal that decision and carry the legal battle on to its next stage.
The Denpasar High Court has ratified the decision of the Denpasar District Court, reinforcing the sentence against The Bali Post for publishing untruths on September 19, 20, 21 of 2012. Those stories carried in The Bali Post alleged the governor was trying to break up the traditional villages (Desa Pakraman) of Bali and, according to Pastika’s lawyers, brought the governor into disrepute and created an atmosphere of public distrust and unrest.
In ruling in the governor’s favors, the Courts declared that The Bali Post must publish headlines apologizing to the governor on pages one and four of their newspaper for six consecutive days. Similar apologies for two consecutive days must be published in Fajar Bali and for one day in Radar Bali.
The governor has now publicly called on the newspaper to accept the Court's verdict and signal their readiness to end the matter by not seeking to prolong the case and rapidlymeet the terms set forth in the settlement.
The Bali Post has consistently sought shelter under the Indonesian Press Law, but have been told by the Press Council that the press law cannot clash with a decision handed down by the civil courts.
While Pastika is prepared to settle the case against The Bali Post in accordance with the decision of the courts, he warned that he is also prepared to turn the matter into a criminal complaint if the Newspaper refuses to meet the sentence handed down in the civil courts.
The Bali Post when contacted for comment by Nusa Bali said it appreciated the recent statements of governor Pastika and was now reviewing the matter with its legal counsel.
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