Thursday, July 30, 2009

Prita's Case Carries On .......


Prita Mulyasari, mother of 2 infants, was arrested and charged with Defamation for sending e-mails to her friends complaining about the terrible services of the Omni International Hospital in Tangerang.

After very strong supports shown by bloggers via online social media, and presidential candidates, on 25 June the District Court of Tangerang passed an Interlocutory Verdict that released her from the charges. As a reaction, the Prosecutor filed an Appeal against this Verdict, with the Banten High Court.

On 27 July, the Banten High Court accepted the Appeal and canceled the Interlocutory Verdict of the Tangerang District Court. According to the Chairman of the Banten High Court Sumarno, the High Court considered that the Electronic Information & Transaction Law No. 11/2008 Art. 54 (1) stated that the law is valid since the date of its promulgation and Art. 54(2) which stated that it would be valid not later than 2 years afterwards.
This is contradictory to the District Court’s interpretation of Art. 54(2) i.e should be valid two years afterward. Beside that, Sumarno said that the District Court did not pay attention to the other basis of prosecution i.e. Defamation based on Penal Code Art. 310 & Art. 311.

In reaction to the High Court’s verdict, Prita told news reporters that she was shocked but she will follow the court proceedings till the end.
And the Tangerang District Attorney said that they are ready to carry on with the Court proceedings, but do not know yet when will the trial start again.

For details on the above, please click here, here, and here.

Photo: Courtesy of Detik

Let's Save the Komodo


The Komodo is an ancient Giant Lizard, often called Dragons, that can only be found in the Indonesian islands of Komodo and Flores.
And today, there are 2,500 of them living in Komodo Island and 17 in Flores Island.

Many efforts have been made to preserve the Komodo from extinction, among others by declaring their habitat in Komodo Island as a protected National Park.
Last year, the Komodo National Park has been participated in the campaign for the World’s New 7 Wonders of Nature. And on 21 July, the New 7 Wonders Foundation has announced that Komodo Island is one of the 28 Finalist which will continue to compete in the final stage of the campaign until 2011 in order to be the Final 7 Wonders of Nature.
This is a very good achievement considering that there were more than 440 participants from all over the world when the campaign started in 2008.

Further, in order to make them breed healthily, 10 of the 17 Komodo in Flores shall be moved to the Taman Safari in Bali. This plan has been protested by the environmental agency WALHI who doubted the plan’s successfulness, and by the local people who feared that tourist would not come to Flores if there is no Komodo.

For details regarding the above, please click here and here.

I hope that the efforts to safe the Komodo would really be based on the interests of the Komodo themselves, so that they would live healthily and their numbers would increase in the future.


Photo: Courtesy of Visit Indonesia Year

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After the Elections

On 25 July, incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) & former Central Bank Governor Boediono have officially been announced by the General Election Commission (KPU) as the President elect/Vice President elect for 2009-2014.

If everything goes fine, they will both be inducted as President & Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia by the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) on 20 October 2009.

However, the current political developments in Indonesia shows that the road ahead might not be smooth for both of them. Here are the obstacles that they might face:

1) Rival candidate President/Vice President: Megawati/Prabowo & Jusuf Kalla/Wiranto are very unsatisfied with the result of Presidential election on 8 July, and they have filed complaints with the Constitutional Court (MK). There are several grounds for complaints, but the significant one being irregularities in the Permanent Voters Lists (DPT). In this case, MK Chief Mahfud MD has stated that if there is evidence massive foul play, a new election can be held.
2) Last week the Supreme Court (MA) passed a judicial review which cancelled KPU regulation regarding distribution of seats in the national Parliament (DPR), as a result more than 60 seats will be shifted from six smaller parties: PKS, PKB, PAN, PPP, Gerindra and Hanura, to 3 major parties: Democrat Party, Golkar and PDI-P.

For details on the above (in bahasa Indonesia), please click here, here, here and here.

Considering the above mentioned facts, I felt that all irregularities during the elections should be settled immediately by MK, in which case all parties involved should be willing to accept whatever decision that will be made.
Regarding MA's Judicial Review, all parties including KPU and the political parties should seat together and work things out based on the best interest of our country, therefore they should shed away their individual ego.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Children's Trial in Tangerang


Are children playing a tossing-coin game dangerous for our society ?

That's the question that I asked myself after I read the news about 10 children, aged between 11 and 15, who were found Guilty of Gambling by the Judges of the District Court of Tangerang on Monday 27 July.

My above question is obvious, because the basis of the Court's verdict is Penal Code Article 303 which bans Gambling and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. While actually those children were merely playing a tossing-coin game with the prize of Rp 1.000,-(= 10 US Cents), when they were arrested by the Police at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport on 29 May. For which, those children have to spent 29 days in confinement at the Tangerang Juvenile Detention Center.

Although the Court did not sent the children to prison, but sent them home to their parents based on the Children Protection Law, however the whole Court proceedings, which required the children to wear masks, have been widely criticized by the public, especially human rights activists and children protection agency. They argued that the guilty verdict will give the children labels as convicts.

In reaction to the public criticism, the chief of the council of judges for the trial explained that the guilty verdict was meant to educate those children so as not to repeat their action.
While the Attorney General Office explained that the Children Protection Law cannot be used as basis for indicting a case of Gambling by children, because Gambling is regulated by the Penal Code.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here, here, and here

As a father of a young son, I pray to God that such kind of verdict would be the last one passed on children playing games. I also hope that in the future all the judges in Indonesia would always be careful whenever trying cases that involve children i.e. by always using the Children Protection Law as basis, and consider the children psychological characteristics.

Photo: Courtesy of Detik

Monday, July 27, 2009

Manohara's Mom's New Enemy


Since Indonesian-American model Manohara Odelia Pinot (17) left her husband Tengku Fakry, Prince of Kelantan Kingdom, Malaysia, last May, the media have been reporting about her and her Mom Daisy Fajarina every day.

The reports were so massive that my sympathy toward Manohara eroded, especially after she seemingly favored publicity and highly paid film contract than prepare legal action against her husband for the alleged horrible treatments that he gave to her during their short lived marriage. Due to which fact, I have been avoiding any stories about her since then.


Last Saturday, my interest on this case returned after TV stations reported about a 25 years old woman, Shaliha Lanti, who told reporters that she has been brutally treated by Manohara’s Mom when she lived with them for around 10 years in France. Saliha said that Daisy took her from a small town in South Sulawesi and promised that she will be sent to school abroad. However, Daisy has made her as a Servant. At first, Daisy was kind to her, until her French husband Noack Pinot showed interest on her & abused her sexually. Instead of protecting Saliha, Daisy have tortured her.
In 2007 a French Court sentenced Noack Pinot to four and a half month imprisonment for the Sexual Abuse, and Daisy 18 months imprisonment for the Torture and Providing Inhuman Working Condition since 1998. However, Daisy never went to jail because she left France.
Saliha explained that she wants Daisy to return to France and serve the Court sentence.

Earlier, on 23 July 2009, Shaliha and her lawyer have reported with the National Police headquarters in Jakarta, about Daisy's above alleged Torture based on our Penal Code Art. 361 and the Domestic Violence Eradication Law No. 23/2004 Art. 44.

In reaction to Shaliha's above allegations, Daisy Fajarina told TV reporters that
Shaliha is her foster daughter therefore her family never treated her as a Servant, and Shaliha's allegations were not true.

For details on the above media reports, please click here, here, here and here.

Considering the above, it would be very interesting to know how Manohara and her Mom would end up.


Photos: Courtesy of Detik

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Suicide by a Student

While we were still shocked and angered by the terrorists' suicide bombings of the Hotel JW Marriot and Hotel Ritz-Carlton on 17 July, the media reported another shocking news about a 12 years old Indian school girl who jumped from her 12th floor apartment in Kelapa Gading, North Jakarta, on 24 July.

The girl, Okeshi Naharan, a 7th grade student at the Jakarta Gandhi Memorial School, was believed to be very disappointed and depressed because of the bad result of testings at her school.

For details regarding the above, please click here, here and here.

In this regards, I wish to express my condolence and sympathy to the family of Okeshi Naharan. As a parent, I felt so sad with the suicide of a very young child merely because of failure to meet the school's requirements.
In my opinion, the knowledge and ability of a student cannot be determined merely by the results of testings and/or examinations at the school. Because we cannot expect a student to always perform well. For example, a student who usually performed well, may not get good markings at a test/exam if at that time he/she does not feel well or any other reasons.

Santri & Swine Flu

According to the Islamic regulation, Pork (= Pig/Swine Meat) is considered as a food that is Haram (forbidden), therefore cannot be consumed by a Muslim.

Considering this regulation, I was very shocked when I read media report last week ago about 300 Santri/Students at the Dar Qolam Islamic school in Tangerang, Banten, have been suspected of being infected by the Swine Flu.
I was more shocked when the media reported that 8 Santri at the Gontor Islamic school in Ponorogo East Java, have also been suspected of being infected by the virus.

For details on the above media reports, please click here, here and here.

Due to the fact that those Santri do not consume Pork/Pig/Swine Meat therefore they must have been infected by the virus through other sources i.e either through contacts with others who have been infected or through the air that they breath. Whatever the reasons are, I hope that those Santri would not feel so humiliated because they have been infected by virus originating from Pig/Swine.
Morever, the above incidents show that the Swine Flu or H1N1 Virus can infect anyone in Indonesia, therefore a much more serious and harder efforts should be made to stop the spread.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Election Winners

Note : Left: SBY - Right: Boediono

On Thursday, 23 July 2009, the General Election Commission (KPU) officially announced the final result of counting of ballots in the Presidential Election on 8 July 2009.

As predicted by political analysts & the media, the result turns out to be not so different compared to the Quick Counts results, as follows:
1) Candidates President/VP: Susilo Bambang Yudoyono(SBY)/Boediono: 73.874.562(60.80%)
2) Candidates President/VP: Megawati/Prabowo: 32.548.105 (26,79%).
3) Candidates President/VP: Jusuf Kalla/Wiranto: 15.081.814 (12.41%).
Note: Listed Voters = 121,504,481 Abstain = 49.212.158 (27,77%)

This landslide victory has no doubt makes SBY the most powerful man in Indonesia, therefore should be very confident in leading our country in the next five years. However, SBY’s Democrat Party only got 20% of seats in parliament (DPR), therefore must heavily rely on the supports of his coalition partners i.e. PKS, PKB, PAN, PPP which have Islamic orientations, plus 24 tiny parties. Considering this fact, SBY and his party have approached the major nationalistic parties i.e. Golkar & PDIP but with no progress so far. Instead, both parties are now complaining with the Constitutional Court (MK)about alleged foul play in the Parliamentary and Presidential elections.
According to MK's chief Mahfud MD, the election result can be annuled if the court finds two things. First, there is strong evidence of sistimatic & massive foul play. Secondly, after clarification of the "clean" vote, the winning candidates only get less then 50% of the total eligible votes.

Perhaps that’s why SBY was so upset when he told the media after the bomb blasts last Friday, that the explosions were related to the elections results and have been done by Draculas and Spreaders of Death who have killed and make people disappeared in the past but untouched by the law. Many people thought that this statement is aimed at Megawati's running mate Prabowo, former commander of the army's special forces, and the army's strategic commando who has faced such accusation in the past. But later on, SBY denied this allegation when he met with Prabowo last Monday.

For details on the above, please click here, here, here and here.

Let us wait and hope that our leaders will eventually give priority to the best interests of our country and people, therefore settle their differences or at least have them narrowed.


Photo: Courtesy of OkeZone

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fatwa Haram for Terrorism

The Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) is the highest Muslim authority which can issue a Fatwa or Edict declaring that it is Haram/Forbidden for Muslims to do or not to do something.

For example, a few months before last April's Parliamentary election, MUI has issued a Fatwa which Forbid Muslims from refusing to vote. Beside that, it has also issued a Fatwa which declared Yoga chanting as Haram.

Although a Fatwa is not part of our national legal system, however considering that MUI is the highest Islamic religious authority in Indonesia, therefore many Muslims individuals & organizations would obey such Fatwa.

In this connection, I felt that MUI is able to help our government in eradicating Terrorism which has been reported to be conducted by Muslim fanatics in Indonesia, that is by issuing Fatwa/Edict which declare Suicide Bombing and other acts of violence as Haram/Forbidden for Muslims.
Such Fatwa/Edict would be followed by Muslim organizations in Indonesia, including Pondok Pesantren (Islamic Boarding School) which have been suspected of trainning terrorists. For details, please click here, here, here and here.

Considering the above, I felt that a Fatwa Haram for Terrorism including Suicide Bombing, would greatly minimize the number of Terrorists, therefore will make Indonesia a much better and safer place to live.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Terrorist Bombings in Indonesia

Since the year 2000, terrorists’ bombings have killed and wounded so many innocent people in Indonesia.

Here is a recap of the tragic incidents I quoted from Kompas newspaper, Saturday 18 July 2009, as follows :
1 August 2000 : Jakarta, Residence of the Ambassador of Philippines, killing 2 people, wounding 21 people;
13 September 2000 : Jakarta Stock Exchange Building, killing 10 people wounding 90 people;
24 December 2000, simultaneously in several cities/towns : Jakarta, Bekasi, Sukabumi, Bandung, Mojokerto, Mataram, Pematang Siantar, Medan, Batam and Pekanbaru, killing 19 people and wounding 96 people;
12 October 2002 : Bali, at Sari Club, Paddy’s Bar, US Consulate, killing 202 mostly foreigners and wounding 300 people;
5 December 2002 : Makasar-South Sulawesi – McDonald restaurant, killing 3 people and wounding 11 people;
27 April 2003
: Jakarta International Airport Terminal 2F, killing 3 people and wounding 11 people;
5 August 2003 : Jakarta, J.W Marriot Hotel, killing 6 people, wounding 152 people;
9 September 2004 : Jakarta, outside the Australian Embassy, killing 6 people
and wounding 168 people;
1 October 2005 : Bali, Raja Bar and Jimbaran Café, killing 13 Indonesians and 9 foreigners, wounding 107 people;
17 July 2009 : Jakarta, J.W Marriot Hotel and Ritz Carlton Hotel, killing 9 people and wounding 55 people.

At present there is a growing resistance in our society against the terrorists i.e. TV stations show devastating effects of the bombing by interviewing many victims who are sufferring. Beside that, the Anti-Terrorists cause: Indonesiaunite in Twitter and Facebook have been strongly supported.

For details on the above, please click here and here.

Considering the above, I hope that the government and its law enforcement agencies would work much harder and better to capture and punish anyone who plan, finance and execute the bombings. And considering that many of the victims are foreigners and the terrorists belong to Jamaah Islamiyah and Al Qaeda, therefore there should very close cooperations with security agencies of other countries.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The latest Bombings in Jakarta

This morning, Jakarta has been devastated by 2 bomb explosions, first at 7.47 am at the J.W Marriot Hotel, followed by louder blast 5 minutes later, at the Ritz Carlton Hotel located accross the street.

The media reported 9 people killed and more than 50 people wounded. But according to the Police Hospital where dead victims were sent for autopsy, they have actually received 12 body bags from the incident.

Meanwhile, National Police Chief Bambang Danuri said that the explosions were ignited by two suicide bombers, whose decapitated heads were found at both places. A Police spokesman said that the bombers may have disguised as guests of the hotels, which can be seen from the explosives found in room no. 1808 of JW Marriot Hotel which are the same as the ones they found when they captured terrorists in Cilacap, Central Java 2 days ago.

Earlier, President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) condemned the bombings and said that he has inteligence reports about people who are dissapointed with the presidential election. Those people were involved in the killing and the dissapearance of people in the past but never been prosecuted. He quoted those people as saying that SBY should not win the election otherwise they will take actions to hinder SBY's re-election ceremony.
SBY also show some photos of 2 terrorists holding pistols aiming at SBY's photo. In this regards, the National Police Chief explained that the photos were taken last May in East Kalimantan, and the terrorists have been arrested.

In reaction to SBY's allegations, two Presidential candidates i.e. incumbent Vice President Jusuf Kalla and former President Megawati and her running mate Prabowo denied that the bombings have link with the elections. They also condemned the bombings as crime against humanity.

For details regarding the bombings, please click here, here, here, here and here.

As the effect of the bombings, British soccer club Manchester United, who have booked to stay at the Ritz Carlton, has cancelled their match in Jakarta next Monday. Further, foreign countries have condemned the bombings, and governments of Australia, Singapore, U.S have warned their citizens about the danger of travelling to Indonesia.

To the families of the victims, I would like to express my condolence and symphaty. And to those who are involved in the planning, financing and execution of the bombings, I condemn each and everyone of you for your Barbaric, Cowardice and Inhuman actions, no matter what your reasons are. I also hope that the government especially the Police and the National Inteligence Agency (BIN) would do their very best to investigate this case so that those who are responsible can be identified, prosecuted & punnished.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Is KPK dying?

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has been under very strong pressure since its Chairman Antasari Azhar was suspended last May after the Police arrested & named him as a Suspect in the murder of Nasrudin Zulkarnaen, director of state owned company PT. Rajawali Sinar Banjaran, on 14 March 2009.

While Antasari's case is still waiting to be tried by a District Court in Jakarta, three of KPK's four Vice Chairmen have been reported to be targets of investigations by the Police and the Attorney General Offce for their alleged involvement in a bribery case. Beside that they were also reported to be involved in telephone tapping.
These reports have worried 3 non government organizations: Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), Legal Aid Institute and the Society for Judicial Reform , who feared that if the three Vice Chairmen are named as Suspects, they would be suspended from their positions in KPK. If this happens, KPK would be like a toothless Tiger without leaders.

However, Attorney General Hendarman Supanji and Chief of National Police Bambang Danuri have denied the above allegations.

Media reports regarding the above can be read by clicking here, here and here.

Considering that KPK has shown its seriousness in fighting corruption based on KPK Law No. 30/2002, and there are still a whole lots of Corruption cases that need to be handled, I hope that the above reports are not true, and KPK will always be well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Papua: Battlegound or Playground?


Since last Saturday, an Australian engineer and 2 Indonesian security officers have been killed closed to the world’s largest open-pit Gold Mine in Papua operated by PT Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of U.S Gold & Copper mining giant Freeport-McMoran.

According to media reports, the Indonesian Police and Military blamed the Free Papua Organization (OPM) for those killings but was denied by the latter. This has lead to a speculation that the killings stem from rivalry between the Police and Military forces that are competing for more than US$ 5 Millions illegally paid every year by Freeport to protect the mine.

This speculation emerged because the U.S regulatory filings mentioned that Freeport pays such money, but Freeport did not respond to a request for details about its security spending. Further, the Police said that Forensic material collected at the scene of killings indicates a coordinated attack by several gunmen. Casings were recovered of military-grade 5.6 mm bullets that fit AK-47s, M-16s and Indonesian-made SS1 assault rifles which are standard weapons for both the military and police, but also known to be used by the rebels.

Defence Minister Juwono Sudarsono has denied the speculation, however he did not rule out the possibility that "rogue elements" of the police or military were behind the shootings.

For details regarding the above, please click here, here, here and here.

I hope that the above speculation is not true; therefore the shootings were merely acts of crimes committed by the rebels. In which case, our Police and Military authority should boost their efforts to maintain security in Papua, so that people can live peacefully.

Photo: a courtesy of Unik-unik

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mbah Surip

Since the beginning of this year, several new musicians made their debut in the Indonesian Music world, one of them is a Reggae singer Mbah Surip (50) with his hit song " Tak gendong " (Javanese for I'll carry).

Unlike the other musicians who appeared well groomed, Mbah Surip appeared just like any other Reggae musicians, eccentric with Jamaican style long curly hair, colorful hat and clothes. The song itself is actually not so special compared to other hit songs, as a matter of fact it is very simple. Although the title is in Javanese, but the lyric is in Indonesian language which is confusing for me. The song was first recorded in 2003 but only became very popular in recent months, and has provide him with a Royalty of Rp 4.5 billion for Ring Back Tone from Telkomsel alone.

The real name of Mbah Surip is Urip Apriyanto, born in Mojokerto, East Java, on 5 May 1949, education : Chemical Engineer. Details about him can be read in Bahasa Indonesia by clicking here, here, here, and here.

Considering the above, I believed that Mbah Surip and his song became popular because they provide alternative for the usual hit songs which are more sophisticated and performed by musicians who appeared well groomed. Such alternative is necessary if people felt the same way as I do in the last 12 months i.e. very sick and tired with the social & political conditions in our country which is filled with too much political campaigns for the Parliamentary and Presidential elections.

Photo: Facebook

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Papua .. oh .. Papua

The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua have very rich natural resources, i.e Gold, Copper, Oil, etc., huge tropical forest, and lots of beautiful locations for tourists.


And the most profitable business in Papua is the Gold and Copper mining operated by PT. Freeport Indonesia, a subsidiary of the U.S based mining company Freeport McMoran, which have been there for around 40 years.
In spite of this fact, unfortunately many parts of Papua are still underdeveloped compared to other provinces in Indonesia.

Since the Indonesian democratic reform in 1998, the people of Papua tried to negotiate for fair share of Freeport’s profit, but in vain. Their complaints with the local & central government were not responsed as they have expected. These disappointments have inspired some people in Papua to rebel against the government, for which purpose they have frequently attacked the mining company and killed many people. In 2002, two Americans and an Indonesian were killed in an ambush near the Grasberg operations, which is one of the world’s largest massive open-pit mines.

Last Saturday, Drew Nicholas Grant, an Australian mining technician, was shot in the neck as he traveled in a car with five others on a road near the mining location. And earlier today, the company's security guard was killed and seven other people were injured in a pair of attacks by suspected rebels, police and company officials said.
Details regarding the above killings can be read here, here and here.

I hope that the results of the recent Parliamentary and Presidential elections would enable our government to work on a much better agenda for peaceful settlement of the unrest in Papua, a.o. by persuading Freeport to share much more of their profits for the acceleration of the development in Papua.


Image:Courtesy of PapuaWeb

Indonesian Radicals

After the Soeharto regime was toppled by the so called Reformasi movement on 20 May 1998, Muslim organizations have flourished in Indonesia.

Many of those organizations were established by certain Muslim persons who claimed to be true followers of Islam, thereby carried out what they believed as Holy War against others who do not share their thoughts. In doing so, they have killed Muslims and non Muslims in Ambon, Palu, Bali, Jakarta and other places in Indonesia. Beside that, they have also been involved in violence in other countries like Afghanistan, Thailand and the Philippines.

Since the change of government in Indonesia on October 2004, a more firm policy have been adopted against those organizations, their leaders were jailed, some of them sentenced to death.

Perhaps it is the above mentioned reasons that motivated Egyptian security agency when they detained, interrogated and tortured four Indonesian students who studied at the Al Azhar University in Cairo. 12 Egyptian Policemen took those students from the house they lived on 28 June 2009 after they found a picture of Syekh Ahmad Yasin, leader of the Palestian Hamas organization, in their home. The students were released after they were detained for 4 days. Details can be read in bahasa Indonesia here, here and here.

Now that the nationalist ruling political party has obtained the biggest votes in last April's parliamentary election, and the incumbent president has won a landslide victory in the presidential election on 8 July, I hope that there would not be anymore violence by anyone no matter what their religion or ethnic or any other backgrounds in the future. That way our people can live in peace and development of our country can be carried much better. In the end, other countries would have more respect on our people.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu)


This evening, Indonesian TV stations have been reporting the news about 12 members of the Indonesia Elfa Musician Group have been infected by the Swine Flu (H1N1 virus) while they were visiting South Korea.

This news is very alarming because earlier Kompas reported the Swine Flu which is now called H1N1 virus has been spreading rapidly in Indonesia since last June. The Minister of Health Siti Fadila Supari was quoted as saying that as per 9 July 2009 52 persons were suspected to be infected by the virus. Whereas last month, there were only 28 persons suspected. The worst thing is that in Indonesia the virus has spread from one human being to another human being, in which 12 persons have been suspected.
Due to which fact, the Department of Health has installed Thermal Sensors equipments at the entrance gates of airports and seaports. Hospitals will provide Tamflu. Beside that, the Minister urged the public to practise healthy life by washing hands and wear mask whenever they catched flu.

Considering the above, I hope that the government will take necessary steps to prevent the H1N1 virus from spreading any further, by conducting strict check on anyone arriving from countries known to be sources of the virus, like Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Korea, and stop importation of Pork.

Image:Courtesy of BK Marcus

Bloggers & Journalists

Last May, the Indonesian Constitutional Court(MK) have recognized that Bloggers have the same role as Journalists, and far as public interest is concerned and no individual privacy is violated, Bloggers are free to conduct social control.

MK also decided that Defamation charges based on the Electronic Information & Transaction Law (ITE) Article 27(3) can only be processed :
1) Based on a report (filed to the Police) by the victim concerned.
2) Only those who directly commit the crime can be charged
3) Only individuals can file the Defamation report
An extract of the above MK verdicts in Bahasa Indonesia can be found here.

Considering the above, I felt that Indonesian Bloggers are lucky, because bloggers in other countries, including the United States, may not be enjoying such benefits, as reported by Legal Blog Watch :

New Jersey Blogger Not Protected by Shield Law

Bloggers may be gaining respect as citizen reporters or commentators, but they still don't have all of the legal protections that apply to journalists. As The New Jersey Law Journal (via Law.com) reports, Monmouth County, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio ruled that blogger Shellee Hale is not covered by New Jersey's reporter shield laws and must disclose the source of comments posted on Oprano.com, a site dedicated to "the business of porn."

According to the article, Hale's comments at Oprano criticized a software product known as NATS, which helps businesses that link to each other keep track of click-generated commissions. Apparently, NATS is used in the adult porn industry as well. Hale commented that Too Much Media, the company that developed the NATS product, had engaged in fraud and "illegal and unethical use of technology," violated New Jersey's Identity Theft Protection Act and profited from stolen e-mail addresses. Too Much Media sued Hale and asked about her sources at a deposition, and she moved for a protective order based on the shield law. However, the judge found no evidence that Hale had worked for the media before or that she was "engaged on, engaged in, connected with, or employed by news media for the purpose of gathering, procuring, transmitting, compiling, editing or disseminating news for the general public."

Reading the summary of the case, I didn't think that the ruling was all that bad -- at least insofar as the facts of the case were concerned. To me, it seemed as if Hale filed irresponsible comments and invoked the shield law to defend against a defamation claim. It did not seem from the description that she was operating as a journalist under any sense of the word.

But the problem is that the case may have broader implications, as Jane Genova points out at Law and More. Confining the definition of a journalist to those who work for traditional news media outlets would exclude citizen journalists or the new breed of bona fide investigative bloggers:

The issue of possible great concern here is how this particular judge defines the concept of "journalist." Hasn't citizen journalism, as political consultant Dick Morris predicted in his 1999 book "Vote.com," expanded or, more accurately, reconfigured that concept? Theoretically, in practice, and perhaps according to the law, digital technology has made Everyman and Everywoman a "journalist."

Do shield laws need to expand the definition of journalists -- particularly as traditional journalism is being replaced by new variations? We posted back in May about a bill in New York that would expand the shield law to cover bloggers. Is this the way all states should go? What do you think?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Presidential Election

At 10 a.m this morning, I went to the voting station located around 300 meters from my house. After having registered and waiting for around 10 minutes, I cast my vote and placed a finger in the bottle of special marking ink and left.

Unlike in the previous elections, this time I have been confident about whom I want to give my vote too, i.e. the incumbent President Susilo Bambang Yudoyono (SBY) and his running mate former Governor of Central Bank Boediono.
Although I am not satisfied with several matters during SBY's 2004-2009 presidential term, but I believed that if he is given a chance to govern 5 more years, he will be able to improve his performance.

Photo: Complimentary of Media Indonesia - Left: SBY, Right: Boediono -

Apparently, my expectation is similar to that of many other Indonesians, as can be seen from the results of Quick Counts conducted by several Polling Organizations which show that SBY got more than 51% of the votes.
Although it is still too early, but in the previous elections, such Quick Counts results were not very different from the actual counting results of the General Election Commission (KPU).

I hope that the result of KPU’s counting would confirm the results of above Quick Counts so that based on the Presidential Election Law No. 42/2008, SBY can be considered as the winner. If that happens, it will not be necessary to have Second Round Election, therefore saving a whole lot of tax payers’ money, time and energy.
Further, I hope that the other pairs of candidates: former President Megawati /Prabowo and incumbent Vice President Jusuf Kalla/Wiranto would be wise enough to accept the fact, so that our people would have peace of mind and our country's development can be carried out more progressively.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Election Cooling Down Period

Today, Saturday, 4 July 2009, is the last day for the three pairs of Candidate President/ Vice President to campaign before the Presidential Election on Wednesday, 8 July 2009.

According to the Presidential Election Law No.42/2008, from 5 until 8 July, the 3 pairs 1. Megawati/Prabowo, 2. Susilo Bambang Yudoyono/Boediono, 3. Jusuf Kalla/ Wiranto are not allowed to campaign. Further, the Law also restricted the news media from reporting election related stories.

But The Jakarta Post reported that last Friday the Constitutional Court (MK) has annulled the stipulation regarding news media restriction, saying that it is against our country's constitution which protects freedom of speech.

According to Kompas, MK has accepted the Judicial Review on Law No. 42/2008 Articles 188 (2&3), 228, & 255 that forbid announcement of polling results during the cooling down period. The Judicial Review was requested by the Association of Public Opinion Research.

With the above MK's decision, public opinion survey (poll) & Quick Counts results may be announced during the cooling down period. And as long as the polling is carried out by non partisan organization, its results would not manipulate the minds of the voters.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Alleged Defamation via Facebook

Facebook has now become a favorite site for alleged Defamation cases in Indonesia, which can be seen from media reports about 3 alleged Defamation cases that took place in three different provinces, North Sulawesi, West Java & Lampung within only one month.

The first case was reported by Bandjarmasin Pos, about Indra Sutriafi, a school teacher in Kotamubagu, North Sulawesi, who was reported to the Police by the town’s Mayor i.e Djelantik Mokodompit for alleged Defamation after Indra wrote in Facebook about the practice of ‘Time Corruption’ in the town’s. According to the Police, Indra is suspected of violating the Penal Code Article 311 with a max. Penalty of 4 years imprisonment.

The second case was reported by Detik about Ujang Romansyah a citizen of Bogor, West Java, who was reported to the Police by his friend Feli Fandini for alleged Defamation after Ujang badly criticized Feli on Facebook.

The third case was reported by Lintas Berita about M. Iqbal, an honorary civil servant of the Forestry Office in Lampung, who was reported to the local Police by his co-worker Virona Bertha, for Defamation after Iqbal badly criticized Virona on Facebook. The Police have suspected Iqbal based on Penal Code Artice 310 with penalty of 9 up to 16 months months imprisonment.

The above cases indicate that some people in our country tend to be much uncontrolled in expressing their feelings toward others via social networking sites like Facebook, which violate the existing law therefore can be indicted. Due to which fact it is important for us all to respect each other and avoid making allegations against other people in public including via Facebook.

Debt for Sumatera Nature Swap

The cutting and burning of forest trees in Sumatera have endangered the lives of Sumatran Elephants, Orangutans, Tigers and Rhinos living in the forest, and causing global climate changes.
This deforestation process has worried the United States, Australia and Germany, so they try to persuade Indonesia to stop said process by offering the so-called Debt for Nature Swap program.

According to UPI, last Tuesday the United States has signed an agreement with Indonesia that reduce our debt to the US by almost US$ 30 million over the next 8 years. In return, Indonesia would protect and restore its tropical forests. The program will conserve tropical forests in Sumatra including the Batang Gadis National Park, Bukit Tigapuluh National Park, Way Kambas National Park, and Siberut Island. Eligible areas cover a total of 18.4 million acres.

And according to Kontan, previously Indonesia has signed a similar agreement with Germany that reduced a 70 million Euros, in return we have developed the Barisan Selatan National Park and the Leuser National Park.
At present, the government is negotiating with Germany for the reduction of 20 million Euros debt, and with Australia for the reduction of AUS$ 75 million debt.

I sincerely hope that the agreements would be implemented accordingly without any foul play, so that our forests would be green again and the endangered animals would live peacefully in their habitat.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

HIV/AIDS Red Alert in West Java

West Java is one of the two Provinces (beside Banten) which have land boundaries with Jakarta, and is famous among others for its beautiful landscape and women.

Many of its big towns are located not far from Jakarta, for example Bogor (60Km) and Bandung (180 Km), and Puncak mountain resort (90 Km) therefore many citizens of Jakarta usually go there during weekends & holidays. This brought positive effect i.e. financial income and negative effects e.g HIV/AIDS to the Province.

The Jakarta Post reported that the Province’s Governor Ahmad Heryawan has just declared HIV/AIDS State of Emergency in the province. The reason is because according to the Province’s HIV/AIDS Commission (KPAD) as of March 2009 there were 2,682 AIDS cases & 1,838 HIV cases. 85 percent, or 3,838 people, living with HIV/AIDS were between the age of 15 and 49 years, meaning that the epidemic would further strain economic and social ties among the community. What is shocking is that the report also mentioned that the number of Housewives living with HIV/AIDS i.e 285, are higher than that of Prostitutes i.e 259. The decease was transmitted from one person to another through Unsafe Sex (without Condoms) and exchange of Needles for injecting Drugs.
Emergency Status was supported by the Chairperson of the National AIDS Commission Nafsiah Mboi.

Further, The Jakarta Globe quoted the head of KPAD Alma Lucyanti as saying that West Java only held the record as the province with the highest number of HIV/AIDS cases because it has the proper public awareness and early detection system to diagnose the cases. Due to which fact, KPAD will pay more attention in providing information about Safe Sex to housewives.

The HIV/AIDS State of Emergency declaration in West Java would make citizens of the province and Jakarta more aware about the decease, avoid sexual intercourse with more than one partner, and/or avoid exchange of needles for injecting Drugs.