Journalist wins prize for fighting for press freedom

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Fri, 08/07/2009 1:56 PM | National

Jupriadi "Upi" Asmaradhana, a Makassar-based freelance journalist, received the Udin Award from the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) on Thursday.

He was chosen for the award by a panel of judges, consisting of Imam Wahyudi from the Indonesian Association for Television Journalists, AJI's Ezki Suyanto and Bayu Wicaksono from the Press Legal Aid Institute, for enduring psychological duress in fighting for press freedom.

Upi is currently being tried for defamation under the Criminal Code following a lawsuit filed by a high level regional official.

Ezki said Upi was relentless and consistent in standing up for what he believed in: that the press should not be criminalized.

"He is also unswerving in fighting for press freedom," Ezki told a press conference in Jakarta.

Upi, who is also the coordinator of Makassar's journalist coalition against press criminalization, was charged with defaming former South Sulawesi Police chief, Insp. Gen. Sisno Adiwinoto, who is now the South Sumatra Police chief.

The case began in May 2008, following Sisno's remark, calling on everyone who felt slighted by the media to report to the police directly, and waive their right to reply under the current Press Law.

Responding to the statements printed in the local media, the coalition that Upi headed staged a rally and petitioned the public to condemn Sisno's statements.

Prosecutors in the ongoing case say that the rally and the reports were a form of a public defamation against Sisno.

Upi said the award meant more support for him to continue fighting for press freedom.

"It will recharge my spirit."

The Udin Award is given to journalists who have to endure physical or psychological duress in their work. The award is a tribute to the late Muhammad Fuad Safruddin, a journalist of the Bernas daily, who was murdered for his report on a corruption case in 1996.

On Thursday, AJI also granted the Tasrif Award to Khoe Seng Seng, who was found guilty of defaming a developer of a mall in North Jakarta in his letters printed in local dailies.

The award is given annually to groups or individuals who contribute to the public's right to information and freedom of expression.

Khoe, who is set to file an appeal to the High Court within the next two weeks, said he hoped the award would influence the judges to rule in his favor.

In commemoration of its 15th anniversary, which falls on August 7, AJI also named the best journalistic works of the year. RCTI journalist Levianer Silalahi won in the television category while in the radio category, the winner is 68H journalist Irvan Imamsyah for his reporting on the privatization of Sukabumi water.

Boy Harjanto from Indopos daily was named the winner in the photo category while Bagja Hidayat and his team from Tempo magazine won in the print category with their investigative work about Lambang, an archeologist who was found dead in Yogyakarta earlier last year. (adh)

(DIkutip dari Harian The Jakarta Post Fri, 08/07/2009)



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