Minister Defends 'Defamation Against the President' Draft Law
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly on Wednesday’s meeting with House of Representatives (DPR) legislators revealed the reason why the government insists on including the ‘defamation against the president’ Article in the latest penal code draft law (RKUHP).
“I might argue that we would be too overly liberal by tolerating [defamation against the president]. It is a common law in a number of countries. Freedom cannot be without boundaries as it would not be freedom but anarchy,” said the minister in the House meeting on Wednesday, June 9.
He believes criticism against the president’s policies is legally valid but not for personal attacks against the president, which he believes the latter is often the case if President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo is the subject.
Yasonna claims the current president has no issue with the personal attacks but stated that the draft law on defamation against the president is exclusively for future leaders who will eventually be elected as president.
“There must be boundaries that we preserve as civilized Indonesian citizens,” said the PDIP politician who comes from the same party endorsing the current President.
Minister Yasonna also explained that the current draft law against the defamation of the president differs from a similar law that was revoked by the Constitutional Court (MK) from the Penal Code (KUHP) with the difference being that the old one was an ordinary offense while the current one is categorized as a complaint offense.
The draft law in question states that defamation against the president will be faced with a maximum 3.5 year imprisonment and increased to a maximum of 4.5-year imprisonment if done through social media and electronic tools. Prison time will also face those insulting other state symbols such as House legislators.