The construction of victim of defamation in court's written verdict

Mahardhika Zifana, Iwa Lukmana, Dadang Sudana


Most countries in the world consider defamation case as a civil domain. Indonesia is still one of the few countries in the world, which classify defamation case as a criminal act. The issue of defamation in Indonesia becomes more complex since there are various regulations governing defamation. Initially, the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) is the only law that regulates the act of defamation. The establishment of the Law Number 11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Information & Transactions (the EIT Law) has resulted in a complex situation since it also covers the act of defamation. After the EIT Law came into force in 2009, up until 2014, there have been 71 people charged in court for alleged defamation. Current research is a linguistic study in the context of law to discuss the construction of victims in copies of court decision. The data of the study were taken from two copy-texts of court decisions, which were the result of defamation cases in 2014 and 2015. Data are in the form of texts explaining the position of victims in relation to one of the grounds for judge’s decision. As explained by Coulthard & Johnson (2007), Forensic Linguistics includes several levels such as acoustic phonetics, discourse analysis, and semantics. On this basis, data analysis in this study uses a critical discourse analysis (CDA) framework by Fairclough (1997) used with the consideration that the framework features dialectical-relational approaches which can map the patterns of social relations to explain the construction of a party in a discourse. Data interpretation and final conclusions of this study reveal the reproductions of logic of certain parties in a copy of criminal justice decisions; marginalization of victims to balance justice retributively and restoratively; and the establishment of role and position of victims in defamation discourses by ignoring institutional aspects and powerlessness. Thus, it appears that victims are not the center of discourse in the text copies of court decisions. Besides, the victim is the most important part of the defamation case considering that the case was classified as a criminal complaint.


Court decision, defamation; forensic linguistics



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