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Anti-communist propaganda being exploited to restrict freedom of expression

Kompas.com - May 9, 2016

Jakarta – Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace chairperson Hendardi believes that the recent spate of propaganda about the rise of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), which is being linked to activities such as film screenings, discussions and book publications, is in fact aimed at creating a negative influence on government efforts to resolve the 1965 tragedy.

Hendardi said that this effort is being carried out by certain parties to play people off against each other and counter the state's interest in moves at reconciliation, along with justifying broad limits on civil freedoms.

"The spread of this PKI stigma against various activities has already given rise to hatred among people against efforts at a persuasive dialogue and solution to the fulfillment of the rights of victims of the 1965 affair", said Hendardi in a written statement on Monday May 9.

According to Hendardi, it is odd that the TNI (Indonesian military) and Polri (national police) believe that the PKI is rising up again when they have intelligence that can provide accurate information on the phenomena behind various attempts to restrict and persecute freedom of expression, opinion and association that have occurred over the last three months.

He said that broader society has doubts about the alleged reemergence of communist ideology in Indonesia. "The ordinary people actually have doubts about the propaganda on the rise of the PKI bearing in mind the construction of Indonesia's constitutional state that is becoming progressively more democratic", said Hendardi.

On the other hand he continued, it is impossible for the PKI as a political party to be reestablished in Indonesia. The TNI and Polri's mind set of reproducing this propaganda only shows that their intelligence networks are not working.

Or it could also be that it is precisely because it is the TNI that is part of the groups that reject efforts by civil society to push for the truth to be revealed.

"This situation is clearly counter-productive to democracy and the advance of HAM [human rights]. Moreover the comments by Indonesian Defense Minister [retired General Ryamizard Ryacudu] are not cooling things down but instead spreading hatred and reinforcing social segregation", he said.

Hendardi continued by asserting that the victims of this propaganda are not just the victims of the 1965 mass killings but citizen's basic freedoms. Moreover those who are not even discussing the issue of the PKI are persecuted with the same stigma.

Therefore President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo must immediately take a stand on plans to put together a scheme to resolve pass human rights violations so that the dynamics of social cohesion are not destroyed by this baseless propaganda.

[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Isu Kebangkitan PKI Diembuskan untuk Gagalkan Penyelesaian Kasus 1965?.]

Source: http://nasional.kompas.com/read/2016/05/09/17573661/Isu.Kebangkitan.PKI.Diembuskan.untuk.Gagalkan.Penyelesaian.Kasus.1965..

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