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Journalists alliance lament set of alarming laws in Criminal Code bill

Tempo - December 6, 2022

Nabila Nurshafira, Jakarta – The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) on Monday protested against the passing of what they deem as principally troublesome provisions in the Criminal Code Draft Bill (RKUHP). The ongoing offline and online protests are set to last until Wednesday, December 7.

"The House of Representatives (DPR) and the government must postpone passing the RKUHP as the set of laws can eradicate the freedom of the press and democracy in Indonesia. AJI will continue to voice this until the problematic provisions are dropped," AJI chairperson wrote in a statement on December 5.

The protest is being held across major cities in Indonesia which are also members of AJI.

Member of the Press Council, Ninik Rahayu, said legislators' plan to ratify the RKUHP essentially threatens press freedom due to the myriad of problematic articles.

According to her, the regulation on press crimes in the Criminal Code Bill violates those that have been regulated in Law No 40/1999 concerning the Press.

"Criminalization efforts in the RKUHP are not in line with what is regulated in the Press Law. Because of the important elements of democracy, with freedom of speech, freedom of opinion, and freedom of the press. Because it embodies the sovereignty of the people," said Ninik.

She emphasized that in a democratic society, the freedom to express thoughts and opinions according to one's conscience and the right to obtain information is the very essential human rights.

Some of the provisions within the RKUHP deemed problematic include:

  • Article 188 regulates the crime of spreading or developing the teachings of Communism/Marxism-Leninism.
  • Article 218, Article 219, and Article 220 which regulate the crime of attacking the honor or dignity of the President and Vice President.
  • Article 240 and Article 241 regulate the crime of insulting the government.
  • Article 263 regulates the criminal act of broadcasting or disseminating false news or notifications.
  • Article 264 regulates criminal acts against anyone who broadcasts news that is uncertain, exaggerated, or incomplete.
  • Article 280 regulates interference and misdirection of the judicial process.
  • Article 300, Article 301, and Article 302 contain criminal acts against religion and beliefs.
  • Article 436 regulates the crime of light insult.
  • Article 433 regulates the crime of pollution.
  • Article 439 regulates the criminal act of defiling the dead and Article 594
  • Article 595 regulates the crime of publishing and printing.

Source: https://en.tempo.co/read/1664980/journalists-alliance-lament-set-of-alarming-laws-in-criminal-code-bil