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PPM Files New Suit Against Tempo

PPM Files New Suit Against Tempo

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post/Pacific Media Watch): Pemuda Panca Marga (PPM) youth organization has filed a new civil lawsuit against Tempo magazine, accusing the weekly of committing a felonious act in its coverage of the group.

The lawsuit was registered on Monday at the Central Jakarta District Court by PPM chairman Yoga Santosa and secretary general HM Agoest Zakaria. In the suit, the group is demanding Rp 10.5 billion (US$1.15 million) in compensation from Tempo chief editor Bambang Harymurti, journalist Ahmad Taufik and publisher PT Tempo Inti Media Tbk, according to Article 1365 of the Civil Code.

The article stipulates punitive damages for a felonious act.

PPM had previously filed a similar lawsuit at the court last December, accusing the weekly of publishing a libelous statement in its June 2, 2003, article titled Terror on Kontras.

In the article, Tempo said that PPM members, who attacked the office of the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) on May 27, 2003, were "of a baser dignity", and described them elsewhere as a "gang" and "children of former soldiers".

PPM had demanded the weekly to pay Rp 250 billion in damages and run a public apology in national media for three consecutive days. The group had also asked the court to revoke Tempo's publication licence for at least two years.

However, PPM lost the suit when the court said in its verdict that the allegations were vague and obscure.

Presiding judge Mulyani ruled that the charges were unacceptable as the plaintiff had charged the defendants using both Articles 1365 and 1372 of the Civil Code, when the articles are for different matters. Article 1372 stipulates punitive damages for slanderous act.

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PACIFIC MEDIA WATCH is an independent, non-profit, non-government organisation comprising journalists, lawyers, editors and other media workers, dedicated to examining issues of ethics, accountability, censorship, media freedom and media ownership in the Pacific region. Launched in October 1996, it has links with the Journalism Program at the University of the South Pacific, Bushfire Media based in Sydney, Journalism Studies at the University of PNG (UPNG), the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism (ACIJ), Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, and Community Communications Online (c2o).

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