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Candidates availing of every opportunity to woo voters JAKARTA - Two weeks to go before the election runoff on Sept. 20, 2004, both presidential candidates are availing of every opportunity they can to woo the voters. As the Central Jakarta District Court was slated on Monday to hand down its verdict in a high-profile defamation case against three Tempo magazine journalists, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono used the opportunity to seek the support of the media. He said there should be no journalists sent to prison for articles they wrote.
"Use the Press Law to settle all disputes with the media and journalists. We have the Press Law and we should make use of it," Susilo said during a visit to the Syaichona Cholil Islamic boarding school in Madura, East Java. Susilo, who won the first round of the presidential election on July 5, said the Tempo case should be reviewed as it could affect the future of press freedom.
The court was scheduled on Monday to deliver its verdict in the criminal libel case against Tempo chief editor Bambang Harimurti and two of its journalists, Ahmad Taufiq and Tengku Iskandar Ali. However, it adjourned the final hearing until Thursday. The three journalists were reported to the police by businessman Tommy Winata, who accused them of implicating him in last year's devastating fire at the Tanah Abang textile market in a report published by the weekly magazine.
Present on other days in the courtroom to show support for the defendants and press freedom was Pramono Anung Wibowo, a close confidante of President Megawati Soekarnoputri, who is being challenged by Susilo in the runoff. Pramono's presence in the court was construed by journalists as part of the efforts by Megawati's campaign team to woo the media ahead of the second round of the election.
As a deputy secretary-general of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Pramono has lately been accompanying Megawati to many events. During his trip to Madura, Susilo also visited the grave of a noted cleric from the island and attended a number of events there. However, the retired Army general was greeted by an antimilitary protest staged by dozens of youths.
Susilo's running mate, Jusuf Kalla, attended a meeting with hundreds of people in Bima, West Nusa Tenggara, during which they declared their support for the Susilo-Kalla ticket in the upcoming election runoff. Meanwhile, Megawati's running mate, Hasyim Muzadi, visited several places in East Java province, including Kediri and Surabaya, and held talks with Islam-based organizations.
In Jakarta, the Nationhood Coalition, a grouping of four parties that supports the Megawati-Hasyim ticket, held another meeting at Megawati's residence on Jl. Teuku Umar. Golkar Party chairman Akbar Tandjung, United Development Party (PPP) chairman Hamzah Haz and Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) chairman Ruyandi Hutasoit were among those in attendance.



Posted in Elections @ 07 September 2004 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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