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Coalition slams undemocratic, closed-door meetings on ITE Law revisions

KBR - July 12, 2023

Wahyu Setiawan, Jakarta – The Civil Society Coalition says that the revisions to the Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law are undemocratic.

Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Advocacy Division Deputy Chairperson Arif Maulana said the discussions on the revisions are being held behind closed doors without meaningful public participation.

"The bill on revisions to the ITE law began to be discussed in May. In an Indonesian Parliamentary Centre (IPC) report, they noted that on 12 occasions there have been meetings since May to discuss the revisions to the ITE Law and on two occasions there were RDPU [public hearings]. Unfortunately, of the 12 meetings, all of them were closed and then the documents that could be accessed by the public were only on who attended. But what was talked about was not able to be consumed, it couldn't be access by the general public", said Maulana during an online press conference on Wednesday July 12.

Maulana added that the discussions on the revisions to the law should be open to the public. The YLBHI along with 18 regional Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) offices around the country are urging the government and the House of Representatives (DPR) to respect the people's sovereignty and hold the discussions in a transparent manner.

On the other hand, Maulana also highlighted several rubber (catch all) articles in the ITE Law that are still being maintained, despite the revisions. Such as Article 26, Article 27 Paragraphs 1 and 2 through to Article 40. These articles are seen as having the potential to curb freedom of expression.

"The question is, what should the revisions be like? Of course we're pushing for the revisions to be revisions that ensure the ITE Law is no longer used in the future as a tool to hit out at people who criticise the government and the elite, to [be able] to convey their views openly both digitally as off-line", he said.

Earlier, the government and the DPR agreed to make a second lot of revisions to the ITE Law. DPR Commission I member Dave Akbarshah Fikarno Laksono said the revisions to Law Number 11/2008 on the ITE Law were almost complete. He said the discussions on the bill had being doing the rounds in parliament for quite a long time.

"The previous [discussions] have been held for quite a long time and recently (have been closed) because the discussion has been going on for more than three weeks in this session", said Fikarno in Jakarta on Wednesday June 5.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Pembahasan Tertutup, Revisi UU ITE Dinilai Tak Demokratis".]

Source: https://kbr.id/nasional/07-2023/pembahasan-tertutup-revisi-uu-ite-dinilai-tak-demokratis/111997.htm