January 1st, 2022
Reported And Translated by: PO
Article Written by: D. Suprianto Jagad.. N (Head Quarter Secretary General of PWRI)
Can journalists who do false (Wrong) reporting be punished?
Jakarta (ANN) | Journalists in every reporting task are required to be able to make news on an event they cover. In carrying out their duties, journalists are limited by legal provisions such as the Press Law no. 40 of 1999 and adhere to the journalistic code of ethics.
The aim is to hold journalists accountable for maintaining public trust and upholding consistency and professionalism. Professional journalists, will create an attitude of respect for individual dignity and private and personal rights of the community in news coverage. But unfortunately, in practice in the field, we often encounter journalists who ignore the rules of law and the principles of professionalism. As a result, many journalists are entangled in legal cases.
Not long ago, I was asked by one of the investigators from the Aceh Regional Police, who was handling a legal case by a journalist, who wrote disproportionately news stories, thereby damaging a person’s dignity. Secretary General of the DPP Association of Journalists of the Republic of Indonesia (PWRI) D, Supriyanto JN The question is simple, can journalists who do false reporting be punished?
If a journalist makes a mistake in reporting, the journalist must immediately withdraw, rectify, and correct the erroneous and inaccurate news accompanied by an apology to the reader. The right of reply and the right of correction are steps that can be taken by readers of the work of the National Press if there is an error in reporting, especially those that cause harm to certain parties. If this right of reply is not served by the press, the press company can be punished. Regarding the wrong reporting, refer to Article 10 of the Press Council Regulation Number: 6/Regulation-DP/V/2008 concerning the Ratification of the Press Council Decree Number 03/SK-DP/III/2006 concerning the Journalistic Code of Ethics as a Press Council Regulation (“Code of Journalistic Ethics”) states: “Indonesian journalists immediately retract, rectify, and correct false and inaccurate news accompanied by apologies to readers, listeners, and or viewers.” In the world of the press, there are 2 (two) terms, namely: the right of reply and the right of correction as regulated in Law Number 40 of 1999 concerning the Press (“the Press Law”).
1. The right of reply is the right of a person or group of people to provide a response or rebuttal to the news in the form of facts that are detrimental to his good name. 2. The Right of Correction is the right of every person to correct or correct incorrect information provided by the press, both about himself and about other people.
The right of reply and the right of correction are steps that can be taken by readers of the work of the National Press if there is an error in reporting, especially those that cause harm to certain parties. What steps can be taken as a result of adverse press coverage? The step that can be taken is to make a complaint at the Press Council. In an effort to develop press freedom and improve the life of the national press, an independent Press Council was formed.
The Press Council defines a complaint as the activity of a person, group of people or institutions/agencies who submit objections to journalistic works and or activities to the Press Council. One of the functions of the Press Council is to provide considerations and seek to resolve public complaints on cases related to press reporting. Thus, the victim of slander can become a complainant in the Press Council to file an objection to the journalist’s journalistic work.
If the Right of Reply Doesn’t Bring Results If the Right to Answer and Complaints to the Press Council also does not produce results, then the Press Law also regulates the criminal provisions in Article 5 jo. Article 18 paragraph (2) of the Press Law is as follows: Article 5 of the Press Law: (1) The national press is obliged to report events and opinions with respect to religious norms and a sense of public morality and the principle of presumption of innocence.
(2) The press is obliged to serve the Right of Reply. (3) The press is obliged to serve the Right of Correction. Article 18 paragraph (2) of the Press Law: “A press company that violates the provisions of Article 5 paragraph (1) and paragraph (2), as well as Article 13 shall be sentenced to a maximum fine of Rp. 500,000,000.00 (five hundred million rupiah).” Legal basis: 1. Law Number 40 of 1999 concerning the Press; 2. Press Council Regulation Number 3/Peraturan-DP/VII/2013 concerning Procedures for Complaints to the Press Council; 3. Press Council Regulation Number: 6/Peraturan-DP/V/2008 concerning Ratification of Press Council Decree Number 03/SK-DP/III/2006 concerning Journalistic Code of Ethics as a Press Council Regulation. Freedom of expression through journalistic work encountered challenges after the ITE Law was born.
This law can ensnare anyone who is reported to have defamed, including journalists who are tasked with carrying out their profession. A number of journalists have had to face legal proceedings because their journalistic work was reported to have contained defamation. Whereas basically in carrying out their profession journalists get legal protection.
This is in line with the provisions of Article 8 of Law no. 40 of 1999 concerning the Press. However, until now there are still problems that befall journalists in carrying out their journalistic duties. One of the challenges is the defamation article in the ITE Law which is considered very flexible.
The use of Article 27 paragraph (3) to journalists in the future will set a precedent in law enforcement. “Everyone who knowingly and without rights distributes and/or transmits and/or makes accessible Electronic Information and/or Electronic Documents containing insults and/or defamation can be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 6 years and/or a fine of Rp1. 000,000,000″.
The explanation of this article states that the provisions in Article 27 paragraph (3) refer to the provisions for defamation and/or slander as regulated in the Criminal Code (KUHP). The definition of a number of actions mentioned in article 27 paragraph (3) can be found in the explanation of article 27 paragraph (1) of the ITE Law. According to the Elucidation of Article 27 paragraph (1), what is meant by the act of distributing is sending and/or disseminating Electronic Information and/or Electronic Documents to many people or various parties through the Electronic System.
The act of transmitting is sending Electronic Information and/or Electronic Documents addressed to one other party through the Electronic System. Accessible actions are all actions other than distributing and transmitting through Electronic Systems that cause Electronic Information and/or Electronic Documents to be known to other parties or the public. At this point, the public understands the anatomy of Article 27 paragraph (3) of the ITE Law.
Article 310 of the Criminal Code regulates offenses against insults or defamation. Based on this article, anyone who intentionally attacks someone’s honor or reputation by accusing someone of something, which means clearly so that it is known to the public, is threatened with libel with imprisonment. Based on the provisions of Article 310 paragraph (2), if a written or graphic image is broadcast, displayed or pasted in public, it is threatened because of written contamination.
However, all such actions as stipulated in Article 310 paragraph (1) or paragraph (2), cannot be subject to a classification of pollution or written pollution if the act is clearly committed in the public interest or because it is forced to defend oneself. This is in line with the formulation of Article 310 paragraph (3) of the Criminal Code. This means that, as long as the act of distributing, transmitting, or making accessible information is carried out in the public interest or in the interest of self-defense, then such action cannot be subject to the provisions of 310 paragraph (1) or paragraph (2).
The scope of Article 27 of the ITE Law is indeed broad. For this reason, anyone has the potential to be ensnared in an insult or defamation offense as stipulated in the ITE Law. “If we look at the scope of the article, Article 27 paragraph (3) is broad. This means that it can ensnare individuals and journalists alike. In general, Article 27 paragraph (3) of the ITE Law or Article 310 paragraph (3) of the Criminal Code is maintained by lawmakers and the Constitutional Court on the grounds of protecting the greater interest.
Protecting one’s dignity from acts of misuse of personal information is one of the reasons for maintaining these two norms. The Constitutional Court itself through a decision in 2008 had rejected a judicial review that asked for this norm to be abolished. Hopefully this little picture can be an enlightenment so that fellow journalists are not mistaken in making news.
*) Secretary General of the Indonesian Journalists Association (DPP PWRI)