Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Renowned political observer Rocky Gerung assessed President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's public call for more criticism as a paradox, saying that what the government had recently been engaged in depicted the otherwise.
"He is trying to give a signal that we are not anti-criticism even though at the same time he orders people to take the critics to court, it's a paradox," said Rocky Gerung in his video uploaded on his official Youtube channel on February 10.
Rocky said the president's statement is as if he has put a blind eye on the plethora of cases that involve suppressing the freedom of speech that has happened. The former University of Indonesia lecturer of philosophy argued that President Jokowi's public encouragement seems to encourage active criticism but does not guarantee the implications of such action.
"It's as if he is saying to go ahead and criticize, yes you may speak, your words are guaranteed by freedom but the same freedom is not guaranteed after your words come out," he argued.
Rocky Gerung believes that if the President is actually sincere about his statement, he would free all of the political prisoners and annul political buzzers from existence as the latter is widely known to lash back at government critics.
On Monday, President Jokowi called for members of the public to be more active in criticizing the government, claiming that it is the process to improve public services. The Cabinet Secretary, Pramono Anung, also likened criticism as a jamu (traditional medicine) that only strengthens the government.