Thu, 18 Sep 2003

Year in jail demanded for editor

JAKARTA: Prosecutors demanded on Wednesday a one-year jail sentence for the executive editor of Rakyat Merdeka daily for insulting President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Chief prosecutor Wahab Arief told the South Jakarta District Court the editor was found guilty of violating Article 134 of the Criminal Code on defamation of the president and vice president, punishable by a maximum six years in jail.

The defendant, according to prosecutors, was responsible for a number of articles that had libeled the head of state, including one titled, "Mega in the same league as a regent," published on Jan. 4, 2003, "Mega's mouth smells of diesel fuel," on Jan. 6, 2003, and "Mega the profiteer," on Jan. 8, 2003.

Wahab insisted the headlines came from facts collected in the field and were in line with the Press Code of Ethics.

The Central Jakarta District Court sentenced last week the daily's chief editor, Karim Paputungan, to five months in jail, suspended for 10 months, for insulting House of Representatives Speaker Akbar Tandjung. -- Antara