Watchdoc: Freedom of Speech is Threatened

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Founder of the documentary channel Watchdoc, Dandhy Dwi Laksono, said that the freedom of expression is currently facing a serious threat. He said so as based on the Law No 11/2008 on electronic transactions and information (UU ITE) that seems vague.

    He reasoned that UU ITE is often misused to criminalize an individual’s opinion. “This is a warning for what we have been fighting for,” said Dandhy during a discussion that was held at Tempo’s editorial office on Thursday, September 14.

    The recent example of a news piece and opinion which ended up being reported to the police happened on Tuesday, September 5. Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) senior investigator Novel Baswedan was reported to the Jakarta Metro Police for his statement issued in the 3-9 April edition of Tempo magazine.

    Tempo was also reported to the police for issuing the article.

    Dandhy was once again reported to the East Java police by the Regional Board of Volunteers of the Democratic Struggle (Repdem) for allegedly spreading hate against PDI-P chairman Megawati Soekarnoputri and President Joko Widodo via Facebook status.

    His Facebook status said, “Just after Megawati came to power through PDIP’s triumph after President Jokowi who she considers as ‘a party staff’ (Just as Aung San announced her authority) was elected, the number of captured Papuans reached 1,083.”

    The series of reports were filed under the UU ITE Law which is vague and open to an overly broad interpretation, the nature of the law makes it prone to be used as a criminalization tool.

    Member of the Press Council Jimmy Silalahi thinks that the cases related to reportings and opinions should be dealt with through mediation. “As long as journalists essentially hold on to the journalistic ethical code and the public’s interest,” said Jimmy.