Egi Adyatama, Jakarta – The Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (KontraS) assessed that the government of Joko "Jokowi" Widodo is still restricting people's freedom of speech and expression. The state seems to no longer be loyal to democracy, but shows symptoms of authoritarianism.
"The Joko Widodo government is still allergic to criticisms voiced by citizens. This contradicts the President's statement that allows criticism but does not guarantee the space for people to express criticism," said KontraS Coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti in a written statement, Tuesday, September 14.
KontraS observed that freedom of expression, both offline and online, often causes quick reactions, especially from state officials and the police, to summon, arrest, and ask for confirmation at the police station. From January 2021 to date, there were at least 26 cases of restrictions on freedom of expression.
On that basis, Fatia urged President Jokowi to guarantee every form of space and expression of people's criticism. This can be done by giving firm orders to the state apparatus not to easily silence all forms of people's expression.
KontraS also urged the National Police Chief to instruct personnel not to take arbitrary actions to address the public's freedom of opinion and expression. The state through the Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) should prioritize the principles of law and human rights.
"Security approaches such as arbitrary arrests, criticism leading to the ITE Law [violation], silencing, and so on will only harm people's efforts to convey criticism which can lead to distrust of the government," said Fatia.