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After 23 years of reformasi, democratic space, civil freedoms shrinking: Amnesty

CNN Indonesia - May 21, 2021

Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia says that the protection of civil freedoms in Indonesia has gone backwards even though reformasi has been proceeding for 23 years.

Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid said that the civil rights that were fought for through reformasi – the political reform process that began in 1998 – have in fact been curbed and repressed over the last few years.

"Over the last few years, the space for civil freedoms in Indonesia has gradually shrunk", said Hamid in a press release on Friday May 21.

"This can clearly been seen from a number of incidents which have occurred recently, from criminalisation using the problematic articles in the ITE [Information and Electronic Transaction] Law to digital attacks against government critics", he continued.

Hamid said that civil freedoms have been eroded by the catchall articles in the ITE Law which he believes has become a tool to limit the right to freedom of expression.

Amnesty recorded 119 vases of violations of freedom of expression using the ITE Law in 2020. As many as 141 people were charged under the law.

This has been repeated in 2021. As of May 2021, Amnesty recorded 24 cases of the ITE Law being used resulting in some 30 people being charged.

In addition to this, Amnesty also highlighted cases of digital attacks violating the right to freedom of expression. There were as many as 66 cases of digital attacks in 2020 involving a total of 86 people.

Hamid said that the latest incident targeted anti-corruption activists. They had their accounts hacked after criticising the civics knowledge test or nationalism test (TWK) given to Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) employees.

Several people were attacked including former KPK leaders Busyro Muqoddas and Bambang Widjojanto, former KPK spokesperson Febri Diansyah and senior KPK investigator Novel Baswedan.

"The government must show its commitment to implementing the vision of reformasi by investigating cases like this and protecting citizens' right to voice their views peacefully even if these opinions are different from the views of the government", said Hamid. (dhf/end)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "23 Tahun Reformasi, Ruang Kebebasan Sipil Dinilai Menyempit".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210522064253-12-645549/23-tahun-reformasi-ruang-kebebasan-sipil-dinilai-menyempi