Jakarta. Press Council member Nezar Patria issued a legal warning on Monday (30/01) against cleric Alfian Tanjung, who accused him and nine others of being members of the banned Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI.
In a sermon at Central Jakarta's Jami Said Mosque on Oct. 1 last year, Alfian said the State Palace has been a home for PKI members, including Nezar, Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki, Indonesia Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) politician Budiman Sudjatmiko, Urip Supriyanto, Waluyi Jati and several others.
He said PKI meetings were routinely held at the palace, mostly at night.
"We reject and strongly object to the statement by Alfian Tanjung that went viral on social media," Nezar's lawyer Kamal Farza said in a statement.
Kamal deplored Alfian's statement and said it defamed and portrayed his client as a threat to Islam.
"As a Muslim, it is impossible that Nezar would oppose Islam, which has been his religion and identity. He was born and raised in Aceh, a region that has a strong Islamic culture," Kamal said.
Nezar, who has worked as a journalist for 18 years and who is currently editor-in-chief of The Jakarta Post Digital, has never been involved in politics or become a government official as it would violate journalism ethics, the lawyer added.
The legal warning calls on Alfian to issue an apology in the media and withdraw his statement within three days.
"If Alfian ignores this warning, we will proceed with legal action against him," Kamal said.