A travel blogger may be facing defamation charges after posting a video on Youtube to make fun of a handwritten menu he was presented during a business class flight on Garuda Indonesia.
Since the video was posted the airline has asked cabin crew to stop passengers taking photos and videos, according to a directive from the airline which was leaked on social media. A Garuda spokesperson said in a statement the directive has since been amended and was not in response to travel blogger Rius Vernandes’ video.
Vernandes was flying from Sydney to Denpasar with his fiance when he claims he was given a handwritten menu for his business class meal, which he later mocked in his video review of the flight. The video has since had more than one million views.
A spokesperson for the airline has denied the handwritten note was the “official in-flight menu for the business class”, according to the Jakarta Post. However, in Vernandes’ video, a flight attendant can be heard apologising for a printing problem and “bad writing”.
Vernandes’ video also includes comments from two Australian men complaining the plane had run out of wine.
“There’s like 40 business-class seats here right, and you have three bottles of champagne — that’s all they had,” one of the men said.
“For 40 seats, that’s pretty bad.”
Vernandes said in a post on Instagram both he and his fiance have been contacted by the police over reports of suspicion of defamation.
“I’m sure you know that I have no intention at all to defame anyone,” he said.
“I really ask for your support about this. All of it. Anyone. You all have a voice. Especially influencers.
“I hope you can help share and support me in this problem because I don’t want it in the future when we review things as they are, when we give constructive critics, we can be [treated as a] criminal.”
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Guys, gw sama elwi dapat panggilan dari polisi mengenai masalah ini. Kami di laporkan atas dugaan melakukan tindak pidana pencemaran nama baik. Gw yakin kalian tau kalau gw TIDAK ADA maksud sama sekali untuk mencemarkan nama baik siapapun. Gw sangat minta support kalian soal ini. Semua nya. Siapa pun. Kalian semua punya suara. Terutama teman2 influencer. Gw harap kalian bisa bantu share dan support gw dalam masalah ini karena gw gak mau di masa depan ketika kita review sesuatu dengan apa adanya, ketika kita memberikan kritisi yang membangun, kita bisa di pidana. Gw akan menghormati segala peraturan hukum yang ada dan akan menjalani semua ini. Gw sama sekali tidak merasa mencemarkan nama baik. Gw tidak takut. Tapi tidak ada kah cara yang lebih kekeluargaan dalam menyelesaikan masalah ini?
Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport chief, Victor Togi Tambunan, told the ABC Vernandes and his fiance had been reported over claims they had broken Indonesia’s board internet defamation laws.
However, according to Human Rights Watch Indonesia’s Andreas Harsono the laws need to be reformed.
“[the law is] so rubbery it can be used for whatever you want to do,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Travel Weekly has contacted Garuda Indonesia for comment but is yet to receive a response.