Jakarta – The State Palace has warned critics of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to be careful when throwing criticism at the President, saying that criticism was not the same as slander or defamation.
"Be careful, since academic and logical criticism should be differentiated from slander and defamation. So be careful," said presidential spokesman Fadjroel Rachman.
Fadjroel was responding to journalists' question regarding a plan by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) to press defamation charges against outspoken Jokowi critic Rocky Gerung for saying "Jokowi does not understand Pancasila".
While appearing on the Indonesia Lawyers Club talk show on TVOne on Tuesday, Rocky said: "[Jokowi] doesn't understand Pancasila. He memorizes it, but he doesn't understand it. If he understood it, [the nation] would not be in debt. If he understood it, then Health Care and Social Security Agency premiums would not increase. If he understood it, he would not destroy the environment."
PDI-P lawmaker Junimart Girsang said he planned to report Rocky to the police for defamation.
The Constitutional Court scrapped in 2006 an article in the Criminal Code (KUHP) that criminalized people for insulting the President. Law enforcement, however, can still use defamation articles to charge those accused of insulting the President.
The government and lawmakers plan to reinstate the controversial article in the KUHP bill despite protests from the public. (hol)