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Prita in New York Times

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Prita's story is now in New York Times:
PRITA MULYASARI became famous, as her lawyer put it, for going from “e-mail to jail.”
Her ordeal began when she sent an e-mail message complaining about the poor treatment she received at a hospital to 20 relatives, friends and co-workers. The message, forwarded from one mailing list to another, eventually fell into the hands of the hospital’s lawyers, who sued for defamation. In no time, Ms. Mulyasari, 32, a mother of two infants, found herself sharing a jail cell with murderers and facing six years in prison, seemingly yet another ordinary Indonesian caught up in one of the world’s most corrupt legal systems.

This will surely raises Omni Hospital's Public Relation budget. I have argued in my op-ed that bringing patients to court is not a good way of settling problems. The monetary damage caused by Prita's initial email to Omni's reputation is insignificant compared to the public relations disaster following her detention and trials. The public fund is used for trials and prosecution, Omni spent a lot of money (and time) to pay their lawyers and finance PR campaigns and the house of representative, the ministry of health and Tangerang mayor spent considerable time to act as a mediator to the case. In the end, nobody wins.

If only it had been settled out of court, we could have allocated these resources elsewhere.

Hat Tip to Rumi