Republiki online: ‘Our President is a criminal’: ‘He does not have the right to say anything’
Republik online — the country’s largest independent online newspaper — has called President-elect Joko Widodo a “criminal” for comments he made on the campaign trail, and is considering a lawsuit over them.
The paper has been slammed as a propaganda tool by the Indonesian president’s opponents who have accused it of spreading misinformation about Widodo’s election.
In its latest edition, Republo says Widodo should apologize for his remarks, saying it’s “very clear” the remarks are in breach of Indonesia’s Constitution and have “contributed to the erosion of democracy in Indonesia.”
In an editorial Monday, the paper says Widodos “fantastic” victory “is only the first of many setbacks for democracy” in the country.
“He has failed to deliver a single positive reform that is guaranteed to benefit all Indonesians,” the editorial reads.
“His policies have been in a constant state of disarray, which is undermining the political system and the rule of law.
He has betrayed the promise of the democratic transition, which was to make Indonesia the most democratic country in the world.”
Republik online — whose owner is the late former president Joko Djoko — is an influential online newspaper that has published the views of more than 20 politicians and other officials in recent years.
The editorial says the government’s new “anti-corruption” law “will do nothing to help our democracy,” and that Widodo is “willing to make any dirty tricks necessary to make the public believe he is the victim.”
“We urge the government to immediately withdraw the law,” the paper continues.
“The law will do nothing but destroy democracy.”
The editorial also claims Widodo will make “a new and dangerous precedent,” and says Widodan will be able to “use the media to distort the truth.”
Repubs newspaper, which has a circulation of more that 30 million, has previously reported on anti-government protests and a surge in hate crimes against Muslims in Indonesia.
The newspaper was launched by former President Joko, who was ousted from office in 2014 following a crackdown on the opposition.
The newspaper’s editors are among a group of Indonesian journalists who were jailed in 2016 over alleged “espionage” charges related to publishing a documentary alleging the Indonesian military had abducted more than 200 civilians in 2015.
The anti-corruption law was passed in January after Widodo pledged to “cleanse” the country of corruption and abuse of power.
But it has provoked criticism from Widodo and his supporters, who say the law will be used to punish dissent and silence dissenters.