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Journalist safety commission criticizes final draft of the Criminal Code bill

Tempo - July 7, 2022

M Faiz Zaki, Jakarta – The Journalist Safety Commission (KKJ) in a statement on Wednesday expects the new Criminal Code Draft Law (RKUHP) that is set to be passed by the House and the government will not sacrifice press freedom, which the commission argues will significantly affect the work of journalism.

"We expect transparency in its formulation to ensure that press freedom is entirely protected and journalists are not going to be victims of [RKUHP's] multi-interpretation Articles and end up being jailed," the KKJ official statement reads on July 6.

The government has handed over the RKUHP draft to House legislators during a meeting with Commission II House members. The next step will see both parties discuss the Criminal Code Bill's content in a closed session among legislators.

The KKJ deems the latter aspect as a bad precedent because of the lack of meaningful public participation. "Even though the draft law will wholly affect the larger part of society," the Journalist Safety Commission wrote.There are more than 14 crucial topics within the draft law that the commission believes need to be focused on, even though they believe the government only prioritizes 14. KKJ argues that the Articles overseeing freedom of expression and freedom of speech should be discussed more in-depth as it contains laws for defamation against the president and vice president (Article 218, 219, and 220), slander against those in power and state agencies (Article 351 and 352).

Then there are Articles covering permits to gather in groups leading to protests and demonstrations (Article 256), the spread of false news (Article 263), and the act of treason (Article 191, 196).

"Responding to the complexity of a wide array of issues under the RKUHP, a transparent formulation process, and meaningful public involvement is more crucial than ever, " KKJ asserts.

The Journalist Safety Commission consists of 10 press and public organizations that comprise: the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH), SafeNet, Indonesian Television Journalists Association (IJTI) Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), and Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI), Federation of Independent Media Workers Union (FSPMI), Amnesty International Indonesia, Union of Media and Creative Industries for Democracy (SINDIKASI), Association of Indonesian Journalists (PWI).

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1609489/journalist-safety-commission-criticizes-final-draft-of-the-criminal-code-bil