Fri, 05 Dec 2003

Article focuses on Tomy: Witness

JAKARTA: Expert witness Tjipta Lesmana testified on Thursday at the South Jakarta District Court in the civil suit case between businessman Tomy Winata against Tempo daily. Tomy filed the libel suit over a Feb. 6, 2003 article about Tomy and Governor of Southeast Sulawesi Ali Mazi.

Tjipta, a lecturer at the University of Indonesia, said the article focused more on Tomy than the governor. He said the first six paragraphs consisting of 277 words, or 53 percent of the article, centered on Tomy, while only 40 percent was on the governor.

He regretted that a prominent newspaper like Tempo often used words such as "rumors said" and "purportedly".

Tjipta pointed out that the first six paragraphs would lead readers to think that Tomy had truly opened a gambling business in the province.

He also regretted the use of the word "taipan" to describe Tomy, as the word had a negative connotation, implying that Tomy was a bandit-tycoon, and said the article could be considered a character assassination.

The court, presided over by judge Zoeber Djajadi, was adjourned until Dec. 8, when the defense would call its expert witnesses. -- JP