Saturday, 2 May 2009

Nasty Balinese Police Methods 4 – Criminal Libel

Nasty Balinese Police Methods 4 – Criminal Libel
By Bali BS News
Aug 30, 2005, 08:50

Libel can be and too frequently is deemed a criminal offence in Indonesia; that is, if the alleged defamation is judged to be not in the public’s best interest and potentially damaging to the state of Indonesia. That’s right, it’s against the law, as decided and interpreted by Indonesia’s well recognized corrupt police and judiciary. So anything they don’t agree with constitutes criminal libel, even if what was said is true! It is surely why the massive amount of corruption in Bali never makes the public domain.

You see, libel is one of the few subjective areas of law, and Indonesia has placed it in the domain of corrupt police officers and court officials. What that means is that someone who speaks out, or worse publishes any form of criticism can be jailed just like that, even if what they said was true and not even criminal! Because the Indonesian government and authorities clearly “believe”, or rather contend that criticism about ANYTHING Indonesian is not in their citizens’ best interests and also might damage Indonesia’s economy. What this means in real terms is a person can do something wrong in Indonesia, someone else can expose them possibly because the subject enjoys immunity with the local police & judiciary and therefore can not be brought or bought to justice, but then the wrong doer can have their friends in the police and courts jail the messenger for criminal libel!

If you think this is baloney, then tell Indonesia’s press (see our report: Indonesian Press Suppressed), as President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has decreed journalists should not be exempt from criminal libel proceedings. Which seems ill at odds with his election promise to allow a free Indonesian press, although that is not the only major election promise we believe he has broken (see our report: Indonesian Corruption Commission). Also read how Mr. Jack Daniels of PT Bali Discovery Tours was able to brag that he was going to collude with corrupt police officers in Bali to masquerade a case of alleged civil libel against a competitor who publicly named him (Daniels) for an earlier police complaint he made against this competitor as, you got it, criminal libel (see our report: Bali Discovery Tours).

Of course, with criminal libel, Indonesia’s corrupt police and judiciary equally are effectively able to shut people up including now their own media; just do a search on Google for the poor chap in the picture, Bambang Harymurti. Plus they have a gold mine, as they can extort money from anyone who they and they alone deem have committed criminal libel. When Candi Internet was unlawfully closed down by clearly corrupt police officers at the bequest of one of Candi’s competitors, when Candi’s Harry Bleckert filed a complaint against the Balinese police’s so called “cyber crime” division, they unlawfully arrested his wife without charge. And when the corruption commission agreed there was a case for certain police officers to answer, the police issued a summons against poor Harry for criminally libeling them with the Indonesian Corruption Commission! See our report: Bali WiFi Corruption. If it were not so nasty, if it did not involve innocent people being blatantly and unlawfully jailed by corrupt police and judges, if people's lives and businesses were not ruined, the Candi story might even be funny.

What this means for everyone, including people who use one or more of the several Bali Travel Forums is that they dare not say anything negative about Bali or anything / anybody on Bali, or they may end up in jail on their next visit to the island (or more likely have money extorted from them by Bali’s mafia police in order to make the problem go away). No, really. If someone were to put a message on a travel forum complaining and warning others about a certain hotel for example, as is their right in most countries under freedom of speech protection laws, that hotel may not appreciate it and may also want to teach other tourists that it is not ok to say bad things about them. The hotel could be inclined to look up that person’s passport information from their reservation records, watch the travel forums, wait for that same person to declare they are heading off to Bali again on such and such a day, and then file a police complaint against that person for criminal defamation, giving details of when that person is arriving and possibly even where they will be staying if they mentioned it on the forum as posters are prone to doing; as in “xx more sleeps to go”. After all, the Indonesian government and judiciary have shown enough times they contend that criticism is not in the Indonesian public's best interests and also damages the country's economy; so any criticism is criminal defamation.

It does not matter if someone posted such a message outside Indonesia in the English language and on forums physically located outside Indonesia, and thus placed themselves outside Indonesia’s nasty criminal jurisdiction (as International conventions dictate any alleged case of defamation would have to be held in their own, home country). The police in Bali have proven they not only will investigate a person when they know they are acting unlawfully (outside their jurisdiction), but they have shown they are prepared to keep on doing it against that person until they can find something to jail them or extort money from them on. So, if you did not like Bali or something or someone on Bali. By all means, in fact please tell the world, but perhaps think twice about ever going back to the “island paradise” ever again.

If you agree the Indonesian government are acting like dictators all over again and are deliberately allowing their world renowned corrupt police force and judiciary to act unfairly and unlawfully against both Indonesians and foreigners alike, please do not go back to Bali until the situation changes. But also, do not simply boycott Bali; tell the Indonesian government that you are doing it and why. You can find a list of email addresses for this purpose on our other report about the shocking child rapes in Bali and Indonesia; Bali’s Rape Culture.

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