Indonesian editor faces blasphemy accusation over IS cartoon

Indonesian editor faces blasphemy accusation over IS cartoon

JAKARTA - Police in Indonesia have named the editor-in-chief of its largest English-language newspaper a suspect in a blasphemy case, the newspaper said in a statement, over a cartoon depicting the Islamic State militant group.

The media in Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population, has enjoyed broad freedom since the establishment of democratic rule in the late 1990s.

Last month, Amnesty International called on Indonesia's new government to end the criminalisation of beliefs through its blasphemy laws, which it said was contributing to a rising climate of intolerance.

Responding to police identifying him a suspect in the case, the editor-in chief of the Jakarta Post, Meidyatama Suryodiningrat, denied he had committed a crime in relation to the cartoon published on July 3.

"We have received information on the matter and currently we are still studying it," Suryodiningrat said in a statement posted on the newspaper's website late on Thursday.

"What we produced was a journalistic piece that criticised the ISIS ... which has carried out violence in the name of religion."

The cartoon depicted an Islamic State member raising a flag with a human skull on it with an Arabic phrase about Allah. Under Indonesian law, charges only follow an investigation.

Five days after the cartoon was printed, the newspaper published a retraction and apologised for the religious symbolism contained in the cartoon.

Since 2004, at least 106 people have been convicted in Indonesia under blasphemy laws, some who have been imprisoned for up to five years, Amnesty International said.

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