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Allowing insults against president 'too liberal', minister Yasonna says

Tempo - June 9, 2021

Dewi Nurita, Jakarta – Law and Human Rights Minister Yasonna H. Laoly said that Indonesia would become "too liberal" if the state allows insults against the President. He said that the government will include an article on defamation against the president in the latest Draft of the Criminal Code (RKUHP).

"I think we would become too liberal if we allow [insults against the president]. In some countries, it is a normal thing. But excessive freedom is not freedom. It is anarchy," Yasonna said in a work meeting with the House of Representatives' Commission III on Wednesday, 9 June.

The minister said it is legitimate for the public to criticize the president's policies, but they must not make personal attacks.

"We all know that our president is often accused personally using numerous issues. He told me he has no problem with it. But are we going to allow that for the next president?" the PDPI politician said.

"There are boundaries that we must maintain as civilized Indonesians," he said.

He added that this article is different from the one that the Constitutional Court (MK) revoked. In 2006, the Constitutional Court issued decision Number 013-022/PUU-IV/2006 to annul an article on insulting the president and vice president in the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP).

"This is different from the one MK canceled. This one is [regulated under] a complaint offense," he said. The article that the MK canceled was regulated under public offense.

The rule on insults against the president and vice president is drafted in Articles 218 to 220 of the latest Criminal Code Draft. Insulting the president and/or vice president is punishable by up to 3.5 years in prison. If the insult is made via social media or electronic methods, the sentence is 4.5 years in prison. It also states that those who insult state institutions, such as the DPR, could face a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1470752/allowing-insults-against-president-too-liberal-minister-yasonna-say