Jakarta – President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo believes that the democratic climate in Indonesia at the moment is very liberal. According to Widodo, a sign of this is freedom of expression which is increasingly free.
Widodo expressed this view while at the same time denying that under his leadership, the public believes that freedom of expression is lacking.
"What freedoms are still lacking? People berate the president, insult the president, mock the president, ridicule the president also, every day we hear this", said Widodo in a video of an interview with TV One media personality Karni Ilyas which was uploaded on his Twitter account @Jokowi on Tuesday August 23.
Widodo also questioned what other freedoms of expression the public wants, saying that he believes that Indonesian democracy at the moment is too liberal.
"[Indonesia's] democracy is very very liberal I think, even though we're an eastern people who are very well mannered, ethical and have refined ways, but now we, I think, it's already very very liberal", he said.
Prior to this, not a few parties have expressed the view that the Widodo regime has curbed freedom of expression.
The Information and Electronic Transaction (ITE) Law has become a huge obstacle to freedom of expression in Indonesian society over the last few years.
The catch all article contained in the law have become a 'ghost' haunting people wanting to convey an opinion, which should be guaranteed under domestic as well as international law.
Aside from the ITE Law, the presence of buzzers has also been cited as a challenge for people to freely express themselves in virtual space. The essence of democracy has been disrupted.
The results of an Indonesian Political Indicator survey showed that the majority of respondents agreed that people are increasingly afraid to convey an opinion.
People are also finding it difficult to hold demonstrations with the police acting in an increasingly arbitrary manner and arresting people with different views to those in power at the moment.
These results were the findings of a national survey using face-to-face interviews which was conducted on June 16-24, 2022.
The survey used a multi-stage random sampling method from a sample base of 1,200 people aged 17 years and above. The survey had a margin of error of around 2.9 percent and a 95 percent level of confidence.
Based on this survey, it was found that 60.7 percent of respondents agreed that people were increasingly afraid to express an opinion. Meanwhile 57.1 percent of respondents stated that people were finding it increasingly difficult to demonstrate or hold protests.
In addition to this, the survey also showed that 50.6 percent of respondents agreed that the police arbitrarily arrest people who express political views that are different with those in power at the moment. (dmi/pmg)
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Jokowi soal Kebebasan Bicara di Indonesia: Apa yang Masih Kurang?".]