Monday, 23 September 2019

Civil Coalition Demand Jokowi to Assure Press Freedom

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  • Mass organization Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) stages a rally in front of Tempo office building, Jakarta, March 16, 2018. TEMPO/Irsyan

    Mass organization Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) stages a rally in front of Tempo office building, Jakarta, March 16, 2018. TEMPO/Irsyan

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Civil Society Coalition and other social agencies in Indonesia demanded Jokowi assure the press freedom following the act of persecution conducted by Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) against Tempo on Friday, March 16. The mass organization held a rally regarding the caricature published in February 26th edition of the Tempo Magazine which they viewed as depicting FPI leader Rizieq Shihab.

    The Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers) director Nawawi Baharudin stated the rally violated democracy rights because there were intimidation and persecution subjected to Tempo. “Tempo was forced to say apology,” he said in LBH office, Wednesday, March 21.

    According to Nawawi, the police had overlooked the demonstration and the protester who threw a mineral water cup and snatched eyeglasses worn by Tempo Editor in Chief Arief Zulkifli to the mass. He argued that it was a dishonor to democracy and human rights in Indonesia.

    Read: Tempo Caricature AJI Denounces Rally by FPI at Tempo Office

    and: Legal Expert Comments on FPI Protest at Tempo HQ

    Nawawi considered the threat might be faced by other media besides Tempo if the law officer did not implement strict policy on the matter. The FPI rally might be contagious and endangered the independence of press which protected by the law. “This is a real threat for all Indonesian media,” he asserted.

    The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI Indonesia) Chairman Abdul Manan stated Tempo has produced journalistic works that protected by the Law and the Constitution. If any group feel offended by the journalistic work, they have to express the objection which the mechanism regulated by the Press Law.

    The media can provide the right to reply and right to correct to the offended party as regulated by Law No. 4/1999. “Or the party send a complaint to the Press Council," said Manan.

    Read: 5 Things Considered as FPI's Intimidation Against Tempo

    Manan assessed the incident experienced by Tempo was because the police have been overlooking such cases. Tempo was not the first media to be persecuted by a mass organization or group; other media such as Kompas, Metro TV, and Tirto have experienced the same. "Because the act was left as it was, it creates a space for certain groups to persecute the media," Manan added.

    AJI Indonesia, LBH Pers, Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), KontraS, Safenet, and Amnesty International Indonesia demanded several points.

    1. Demand President Joko Widodoto stand firm in defending the freedom of press and freedom of expression as a part of democracy and human rights.

    2. Demand all political leaders to have responsibility and tolerance in the society so that democracy will be going well and citizens receive the human rights.

    3. Call on all parties who have an objection against journalistic work, to respect the freedom of press and freedom of expression by issuing a press resolution dispute based on Law No. 40/1999 on the Press.