AJI: Govt Uses Internet Block to Control the Situation

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Mahinda Arkyasa

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  • The alliance of SAFEnet stages a solidarity action in front of the Communication and Information Ministry building on Jl. Tanah Merdeka, Jakarta, August 23, 2019. The alliance says the ministry's blocking internet access in Papua will only render people outside of Papua uncapable of finding the true conditions of Papua. TEMPO/Hilman Fathurrahman W

    The alliance of SAFEnet stages a solidarity action in front of the Communication and Information Ministry building on Jl. Tanah Merdeka, Jakarta, August 23, 2019. The alliance says the ministry's blocking internet access in Papua will only render people outside of Papua uncapable of finding the true conditions of Papua. TEMPO/Hilman Fathurrahman W

    TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Independent Journalist Alliance (AJI) explained its arguments for filing a lawsuit against President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo and Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate to the Jakarta Administrative Court (PTUN). The lawsuit was filed by AJI along with the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) in November 2019.

    AJI chairman Abdul Manan, considered that the government's two decisions to slow down and block internet access in May 2019 and August 2019 were unprofessional.

    "They use internet slow down and blocking as a way to control the situation at that time," said Manan in an online press conference on Thursday, June 4, 2020.

    Manan recalled that during the internet block following the unrest in May 2019, journalists complained about the difficulties to report events, and the public was unable to reach out to their families or friends.

    The SAFEnet Head of the freedom of expression division Ika Ningtyas, said that she had submitted objections to the government and did not receive any response. The government even repeated the act in response to demonstrations related to racism and repression against Papua.

    "So SAFEnet and AJI took legal action. We want to challenge whether the government had applied the right procedure [for making such decisions] and what was the impact when the policy was taken," Ika explained.

    The Jakarta Administrative Court (PTUN) on June 3, 2020, declared that President Jokowi and Minister Johnny G. Plate were guilty of blocking the internet in Papua and West Papua. The hearing was presided by Judge Nelvy Christin and members of the panel of judges include Judge Baiq Yuliani SH and Judge Indah Mayasari.

    ANDITA RAHMA