TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Jakarta Legal Aid (LBH Jakarta) argues that the suspect-naming of human rights activist Veronica Koman by the Indonesian National Police (Polri) presents a threat toward other activists.
“Not only can it happen to Veronica Koman, but we can also potentially be charged after this too. Take an example if we say that Vero is innocent, they can say that we violated Law No.1/1946 for spreading lies,” said LBH Jakarta Chief of Advocacy Nelson Simamora at the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) headquarters on Monday.
Nelson argues that Papua is a relatively enclosed region for journalists, moreover international journalists. He says that the condition regarding information there is worsened by the police’s monopoly over the spread of information in the region.
He says that the monopoly from authorities come in the form of a controlled narrative about Papua for people outside the region, and would face criminal charges if anyone dares to challenge the fixed narrative.
“Those monopolizing the truth are the police. Whatever the actual story is but if they, as a government, can deem information as a hoax would be greatly dangerous,” said Nelson.
Previously reported, the East Java Police Department named Veronica Koman suspect responsible for spreading a hoax and provocative materials to the public following the Surabaya incident that saw a Papuan student dormitory raided by authorities and mass organizations. Veronica acted as the students’ lawyer.