Gov't Urged to Cancel Nationwide Communist Book Crackdown

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Laila Afifa

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  • Members of TNI's Kediri 0809 Military District Command (Kodim) found books about the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) at several bookstores in Kediri on Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

    Members of TNI's Kediri 0809 Military District Command (Kodim) found books about the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) at several bookstores in Kediri on Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Human Rights Working Group (HRWG) and the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) asked the government to cancel its plan to conduct a massive crackdown against books with leftist content or communist beliefs.

    The two groups deem the plan as a major violation against the rights to freedom of expression and obtaining information. The massive crackdown was first mentioned by Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo on Wednesday, January 23.

    “HRWG and LBH Pers are against it and consider it unconstitutional,” said HRWG Executive Director Muhammad Hafiz in a written statement on Thursday, January 24. He recommended that Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo should review his own suggestion.

    Read: Govt Hints on Massive Crackdown on Books Related to Communism

    Hafiz said that the act of confiscating and eliminating such books will violate the protection of freedom of expression and will be against due process of law.  

    “The due process of the law says that law enforcement must not be based on stigma or hatred, which in this case, the major confiscation against leftist books is subjective,” said Hafiz.

    The crackdown against literature of communist belief will violate the 1945 Indonesian Constitution Article 28F on the rights for an individual to communicate and have access to information. Hafiz said that government crackdowns against ‘dangerous books’ should be left in the past during Indonesia’s New Order.

    CAESAR AKBAR