Mon, 22 Aug 1994

Journalists association suspends Medan tabloid editor

JAKARTA (JP): The Honorary Council of the Indonesian Journalists' Association (PWI) has suspended the membership of Bintang-Sport-Film (BSF) weekly's chief editor for publishing reports on an alleged case of sexual harassment involving the governor of North Sumatra.

Romuthu Setia Dharma was suspended for two years, beginning Aug. 5, for publishing reports "which are not supported by facts and accurate data and in nature defaming the dignity and integrity of North Sumatra governor Raja Inal Siregar," according to a press release signed by PWI chairman Sofjan Lubis and deputy secretary Soegyarto PS.

The Council said the weekly had violated PWI's Code of Ethics by running a series of articles on the alleged harassment from June 1 to Aug. 1.

In its deliberation, the Council said that Romuthu had failed to comply with the principle of presumption of innocence and displayed poor judgment in deciding to run the articles.

Antara reported on Tuesday that the Council had accused the magazine of exaggerating the inaccurate data in each edition. It claims that the tabloid distorted the story of a woman who accused Siregar of sexually harassing her in an attempt to win a government contract.

The woman later withdrew the accusation while Minister of Home Affairs Moch. Yogie S.M. issued a statement saying that the governor was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

The Council also warned the Waspada, Sinar Pagi and Sentana newspapers for their coverage of the reports following a complaint filed by the governor. (par)