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Soeharto vs TIME magazine September 13, 2007

Posted by natasha in LITERATURE REVIEW.

Interesting coverage that happened just recently this week:


 a little spill:

Press freedom is threatened in the outcome of the Soeharto vs. Time libel case.

Case & Verdict

A three-judge panel of the Supreme Court, led by Army Major General German Hoediarto, along with M. Taufik and Bahauddin Qoudry, found on 31st August Time Asia Inc. guilty of tarnishing the good name of former president Suharto over a report in its May 1999 issue, and fined the magazine proprietors 1 trillion rupiah, or $106 million.

Major General German Hoediarto
Major General German Hoediarto, who is the head of the Supreme Court’s military justice department.

In the offending Time report of 1999, titled “Soeharto Inc. How Indonesia’s Longtime Boss Built a Family Fortune”, it was argued that the Suharto family had over 30 odd years amassed a fortune of about $70 billion, which it stashed in various places and investments around the world. Time alleged that Soeharto and his children then, shortly before the leader’s fall from power in 1998, transferred what was left of their fortune after the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis, about $15 billion, from Switzerland to Austria.

Suharto Inc
Suharto Inc.

In previous hearings of the libel/defamation case both the Central District Jakarta Court and later the Jakarta High Court, had each ruled in Time’s favour, however the recent Supreme Court ruling, only announced on September 10th, overturns the verdicts of the earlier trials. [1]


Oh come on man! everyone knows that it is true. But I’m not surprised, although that he’s no longer ‘legally’ in power, Soeharto and his family still holds the country, esp. its government in their tight grip, with fear, corruption and truth manipulation. Some comments about the article:

Achmad Sudarsono Says:  Add karma Subtract karma  +0
September 13th, 2007 at 12:25 pm
This is a tough one.

On one hand, there’s little doubt that Soeharto and his kids weren’t shy about “dipping their hands in the till,” or plundering state finances. And the timing of this verdict – just when Soeharto is facing a revival of charges against him – is very suspicious. Let’s face it, Soeharto Inc. probably bribed the Supreme Court.

On the other hand, Time magazine just didn’t have its facts down. The original article – if anyone read it reads like a shopping list of baubles and trinkets, this house here, this painting there. Many of the valuations were very suspicious, and none of the four journalists who wrote the thing were accountants. According to Asia Sentinel, one of the lead writers, spent months afterwards substantiating the article to support their court case. You have to wonder why they didn’t do such research before publishing.

So yes, Soeharto was probably corrupt. But what obligation does a “credible” media outlet have to get its facts right. I’d say to a very high degree, make it clear what they have – or don’t have – and shut up. Of course, you might not then make the same splash.



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