SAFEnet Blasts Government for Limiting Internet Access



Markus Wisnu Murti

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    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - In commemorating its sixth anniversary, the Southeast Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) once again highlighted the Indonesian government’s move of curbing people’s access to internet information.

    In its writen statement dated Friday, June 28, SAFEnet stated the government's decision was a basic form of internet shutdown that “clearly violates [people’s] digital rights.” 

    According to SAFEnet, the principle of limiting the freedom of expression, as stated in Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), carried a condition that the limitation that aimed at preventing crimes should be clear and specific, as opposed to the government's seemingly hurried move.

    The latest internet throttling in the country took place during the May 22 riots that broke out in Central Jakarta. The government limited people’s access to several social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Whatsapp. 

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    The Communication and Information Ministry (Kominfo) reasoned that the policy had to be imposed to avoid damaging long-term impacts of “troublesome and provocative” contents that spread wildly during the riots.

    The government maintained the move was based on the Information and Electronic Transaction Law (UU ITE), which oversees content management that included access limitation.

    “Up to this day, the evaluation reports on the internet access limitation has yet to be announced to the public. But the government only announced that they had muzzled 61,000 Whatsapp accounts believed to be responsible for spreading hoaxes,” said SAFEnet.