TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Press Council could not yet provide an answer regarding the criminal case that involved a journalist of Kemajuan Rakyat, Muhammad Yusuf, who died on June 10 while serving time at the South Kalimantan Class II B Kotabaru detention center.
Press Council chairman Yosep Adi Prasetyo said he must check whether there were any request from the police for consultation regarding the journalist’s arrest.
“We are still checking upon the existence of a consultation letter from the police,” said Yosep on Monday, June 11.
Before his unfortunate death, Yusuf had been detained at the detention center since April (15 days) after police suspected him of violating the Law on Information and Electronic Transactions (UU ITE) for writing an alleged instigative piece against palm oil company Multi Sarana Agro Mandiri (MSAM) owned by Syamsudin Andi Arsyad on Laut Island, Kotabaru. The case is currently ongoing at the Kotabaru District Court.
On June 10, Muhammad Yusuf complained to prison guards that he felt asphyxiated with chest pains and had vomited. The prison management then took him to hospital but Yusuf unfortunately died just 30 minutes after he was taken to the hospital.
Kotabaru Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Suhasto said the police had consulted with the press council when they received a complaint from MSAM regarding Yusuf’s news report. The police went to the press council on the basis of a memorandum of understanding between the Press Council and Indonesian National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian.
According to Suhasto, Yusuf wrote a news piece that was considered one-sided and provocative to bring the public into conflict against MSAM. Yusuf is also said to have been evasive when MSAM wanted to clarify the news.
Based on the deliberation of the press council upon Yusuf’s news piece, the police where given the green light to legally process the journalist under the UU ITE law.
Yosep later said that the media outlet where Yusuf worked, Kemajuan Rakyat, had not been listed as a verified news agency by the Press Council.
M ROSSENO AJI