Jakarta – The newly enacted Terrorism Law has raised concerns among the press, as it has much broadened definitions that hark back to the legal ambiguity of the authoritarian New Order regime.
In the law, which was passed last month, lawmakers and the government introduced a number of broadened definitions to legitimize stronger preventive measures against terrorism.
Article 13A is of particular concern to the media, as it stipulates that a person who deliberately disseminates speeches, ideas, writings or images to incite terror acts can be penalized with a maximum five years behind bars.
Concern came despite the fact that that provision is exclusive to individuals affiliated with a terrorist organization.
"It can be very much used on journalists and the media," Abdul Manan, the chairman of the Alliance of the Independent Journalists (AJI), said during a recent public discussion.
"That is because a journalist has a duty to inform the public about counterterrorism measures and matters surrounding the terrorists themselves."
The discussion, which was attended by media observers, journalists and representatives of media companies, concluded with a sense for the need to monitor the implementation of the new law.
Former National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner Ifdhal Kasim, who now works as an expert staff member at the Office of the Presidential Staff (KSP), dismissed the concern, saying the conditions set by the law were specific enough to avoid implicating journalists producing stories on terrorism.
"The provisions [in the law] confine its implementation exclusively to radicals," he said, adding that the media were not mentioned specifically in the article. Yet, he urged media companies to be prudent when reporting on terrorism. (nor/ipa)