Dropping A Case: Between the Journalism Attacked and Legal Emotional Distress

Abstract for the XXVII World Congress of the International Association for the Philosophy of Law and Social Philosophy: “Law, Reason, and Emotion”, Washington D.C. [27 July-1 August 2015] 



Getting involve with the court in Indonesia seems problematic for journalist at local level. Albeit press freedom is considered freer after the demise of Soeharto's authoritarian regime, it does not automatically affect to local journalists who have been often facing brutal attacks or violence against the press. Decentralised Indonesia governance has been widely known affecting the court reforms, the fact that justice is still far reaching for journalists if they deal with a complicated judicial system. Yet, the internal pressure from media owner or editor to withdraw the case led to a very emotionally frustrated way for journalists to get more legal protection.  

Journalists have been often facing injustices which were not merely related to their main task in doing professional journalism, but also connected to two major problems, which are the weak judicial protection system and the pressure from  political-economy power alliances who securing their vested interest by deploying privatised gangsters in attacking the press.     

In that regards, dropping a case is a serious matter for journalists to consider whether or not they bring justice before the judicial system. Judiciary is not always used to solve the problem on press legal cases, although avoiding the court is not fully accepted by other journalist groups or even among their group. They are aware that the ineffectiveness or even distrust of judicial mechanism and lack of protection are the most serious problems for journalist or editor to deal with the court or other judicial processes. However, the paper argues that dropping a case does not always relate to distrust over the judicial system, but it is more a ‘forced emotional situation’ (situasi keterpaksaan), and it might led to the systematic of impunity governance. The paper dissects philosophical reasons, to what extent avoiding the court could be fairly considered as possible justice for journalist in the injustice and legal emotional distress situation. 


Keyword: press freedom, court, injustices, impunity, and emotional distress


Host Universities:

• American University, Washington College of Law
• Georgetown University Law Center
• George Washington University Law School
• University of Baltimore School of Law 

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