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Jokowi administration’s efforts to soften public criticism

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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Statement by President Joko Widodo or Jokowi who asks the public to be more active in criticizing the government, becomes a question mark in society. A number of parties consider this statement to be incompatible with the actual practice of criticism in society which often results in reports to the police.

The President of the Legal Aid Foundation for All (YLBHI) Asfinawati, said Jokowi’s remarks counter the account of various criticisms and data, a hint of civil rights violations and the decline of Indonesian democracy.

“This statement is formally positive, but if it is not followed by policies it will only become lip service,” Asfin said when contacted. Time, Monday February 15, 2021.

Asfin’s words are not without merit. Referring to the results of the Indonesian Political Indicators Survey of October 25, 2020, the level of public confidence in the device shows that 57.7% of people agree that the authorities are increasingly arbitrary in the arrest of citizens who do not correspond to their political views. with the government.

As for those who disagreed with this, it reached 36.5% and those who did not respond were 5.8%. The survey was conducted from September 24 to 30, 2020 among 1,200 respondents who used phone calls due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

President of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Asfinawati during a speech to the GEBRAK alliance crowd at Jalan Medan Merdeka Barat, Central Jakarta, Thursday October 22, 2020. Tempo / M Yusuf Manurung

Jokowi expressed his remarks during the Ombudsman’s year-end report on Monday, February 8, 2021, calling for the active involvement of the public in criticism of the government. This activity is seen as a tangible form of government openness to criticism.

“KSP Hearing is also in line with President Joko Widodo’s wish for the public to be active in criticizing the government. The KSP itself is a bridge between the community and the government to understand all the issues,” the chief of staff said. to President Moeldoko, opening the event.

However, the activity only lasted about an hour. Of the 250 participants who participated online, only about 10 people had time to speak. Most complain about the problems they encounter in their region. Moeldoko couldn’t promise that their problem could be followed up quickly. “But of course we will record and follow up. The results can be transmitted directly to the relevant ministries / agencies, I can even pass them directly to the President,” Moeldoko said.

Read: SBY calls criticism like medicine and praise like sugar

Even so, the Palace’s move is considered to have left the root of the problem of freedom of expression in Indonesia. Benny Kabur Harman, adviser to the Democratic Party of the House of Representatives, said one of the main problems was linked to the existence of the restrictive Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) law.

If he really wants to be safe from criticism, he said Jokowi must have the courage to remove all legal barriers to criticism, including among others. UU ITE.

“The president must submit a review of the ITE law to parliament and amend it so that the regulations are not too strict,” Benny said on Saturday, February 13, 2021.

He felt that if this law was not revised, at least the government would implement it selectively. Benny said the problem now is that this rule is double-edged and discriminatory. That is, sharp towards critics or political opponents, but brutal towards supporters of the government.

The Network for Freedom of Expression in Southeast Asia (SAFEnet) has mapped a number of regulations that are seen as breaching the freedom of opinion and expression. The articles of the Law on Information and Electronic Transactions, which are the most emphasized. Among them; Article 26 of the ITE law; Article 27, paragraph 1, of the ITE law; and article 40 of the ITE law concerning content blocking. Then, article 40 paragraph 2b of the ITE law is linked to Internet shutdowns.

In addition, Article 27, paragraph 3, Article 28, paragraphs 1 and 2, Article 29 of the ITE Law; Penal Code 310-311, 156, 156a which are considered likely to be used to criminalize expressions. The rubber article is considered the most contained in the ITE law.

Civil society coalition studies based on cases collected during 2016-2020, the level of sanction under the ITE law is very high, namely; 96.8% (744 cases) with an imprisonment rate of 88% (676 cases).

For this reason, SAFEnet Executive Director Damar Juniarto called on the government not only to appeal to critical communities, but also to ensure people’s freedom of opinion. “If that is the case, society becomes a dilemma. If you have a voice to go to jail, if you don’t speak up, there will be bad practices,” Damar said.

Other opposition political parties have also criticized the ITE law. Deputy Secretary General of the Successful Justice Party, Ahmad Fathul Bari. He considered, if Jokowi asked to be criticized, the president should have taken the initiative to revise several articles on rubber in the ITE law. “Both initiatives from elements of government and also encouraging the majority of the DPR coalition political parties to jointly make revisions,” Fathul said.

However, it seems that the revision of the ITE law is still not a priority for the central government. Asked about the urgency of revising this law, presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman underlined the importance of the ITE law to convey criticism. Fadjroel said that for people who wish to criticize via digital media, they should read the ITE law first.

<< Pay particular attention to the penal provisions of paragraph 1 of article 45 concerning content which undermines decency; in paragraph 2 concerning the content of gambling; paragraph 3) concerning the content of insults and / or defamations; paragraph 4) regarding the content of the extortion and / or threats, ”Fadjroel said.

He also reminded the public to pay attention to paragraph (1) of Article 45a concerning deliberately and without the right to disseminate false and misleading information which harms consumers; subsection (2) regarding the intentional and unlawful dissemination of information intended to arouse hatred or hostility towards certain individuals and / or groups in society against SARA.

“Next, Article 45b concerns threats of violence or intimidation aimed at personally,” Fadjroel said. Emitting criticism through protests, Fadjroel said there are rules the public must obey.

However, it is precisely these numerous regulations that, according to Damar Juniarto of SAFEnet limit criticism during the administration of Jokowi. “We are surrounded by regulations that limit freedom of opinion and expression itself,” Damar said.

DEWI NURITA | BUDIARTI UTAMI PUTRI | EGI ADYATAMA



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