Jakarta. Hints emerged on Monday the police may be softening their stance in the blasphemy investigation against The Jakarta Post’s chief editor, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat. Although the Indonesian Press Council announced unequivocally on Monday the case will be dropped, that declaration appeared premature, as a police spokesman only said further consideration of the case was pending.
“We have made an agreement with the police to close the investigation into the case. It’s over,” Press Council member Yosep Adi Prasetyo told the Jakarta Globe on Monday. “This case is a pure ethics violation, and the newspaper has done what must be done when it comes to an ethics violation,” Yosep said.
National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen. Boy Rafli Amar, however, only dropped hints of a softening position. “We are planning to [review] the case,” Boy was quoted as saying by Tempo.co on Monday.
The police’s decision to name the Post’s editor a blasphemy suspect drew widespread criticism last week.
Jakarta Police named Meidyatama a suspect in the July 3 publication of a caricature that depicted the Shahada flag — which bears the inscription of an Islamic creed declaring belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Muhammad as His messenger, most recently popularized as the insignia of Islamic State fighters — with the central oval replaced by a Jolly Roger-style skull and crossbones beneath the Arabic inscription “there is no God except Allah.”
The newspaper retracted the caricature and apologized in both Bahasa Indonesia and English, emphasizing that the newspaper had no intention of mocking Islam.
The statement was confirmed by the Post’s lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis, saying that the media only wanted to inform people about the danger of radical IS group.