Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) criticized the statement President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo made on Monday where he called for the public to be more actively engaged in criticizing the government, arguing that the current situation has shown civil freedom under threat.
"It's ironic that the statement actually shows that the president is not paying attention to the situation and condition where civil freedom has eroded, represented by the series of [police] reportings and arrests towards individuals who were using their constitutional rights to balance the country's discourse," said KontraS researcher Rivanlee Anandar to Tempo on February 10, 2021.
He argued that the people who have criticized the government are, in turn, facing legal cases under the overly-broad law in the ITE Law or the Law No. 16/2016 on information and electronic transactions.
"If the President honestly wants to be criticized, he must ensure and guarantee it will be free from threats under the existing 'elastic law'. He can start by being responsible for the people who have become victims of restricted civil liberties that were either committed under the Police Chief's telegram or ITE Law," Rivanlee explained.
KontraS recorded 10 incidents up until October 2020 where 14 people had been legally processed for criticizing President Jokowi, 25 people processed after criticizing the Police institution, and 4 people who were legally processed for criticizing regional administrations.