Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in a meeting with regional unit heads on Friday lamented the dropping freedom of expression index in a Statistics Indonesia (BPS) survey.
The survey in 2018 scored 66.2 percent and gradually dropped year-after-year to 56 percent in 2020.
"This is the perception, avidly arresting people. The approach should be persuasive and putting forth dialogue. Let me give you a small example of the [critical] murals that were erased [by the police]. The orders would be impossible to come from the national and regional police chiefs. It might actually come from the decision of Police Sectors according to my field observation," said the President in Bali, December 3.
He said that this must be addressed by National Police (Polri) leaders, who must directly explain to their members that murals, especially the ones critical against the government, are minimal issues that should not be disputed.
Being insulted, cursed at, slandered, it's normal [for me], a mural would not scare me. What are you doing? This is freedom of expression," said President Jokowi. "But if it is a disturbance of public order, it is just disrespectful."
He went on to say that freedom of expression is guaranteed by the constitution in this democratic country and must be respected.