Jayapura, Jubi – The journalist community in Jayapura City took to the street calling for the postponement of the ratification of the Criminal Code Draft Law (RKUHP) on Monday, December 5, 2022. The draft law, which is planned to be passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, contains some articles that are considered to hamper the work of journalists.
The protest was attended by around 20 journalists in Papua from print, online, television and radio, including members of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), the Indonesian Women Journalists Forum, the Indonesian Journalists Association, the Indonesian Television Journalists Association, and other press organizations.
The journalists protested in Taman Imbi and in the courtyard of the Papua Legislative Council (DPRP).
Chairman of AJI Jayapura Lucky Ireeuw said the ratification of the RKUHP would have a major impact on press freedom in Indonesia, especially in Papua. Journalists will not be reporting freely as they are threatened with imprisonment.
"Papuan journalists reject the ratification of the revised Criminal Code. This regulation will hinder press freedom in the midst of a democratic era," Ireeuw said in his speech.
Papuan journalist Hengky Yeimo said in his speech that the RKUHP could hamper journalists from criticizing state institutions that commit injustice.
Member of Commission I of the DPRP Yonas Papua said his party accepted the aspirations of Papuan journalists who rejected the ratification of the RKUHP. He acknowledged the rejection also occurred in all regions in Indonesia.
"This is a concern for all of us. We in DPRP will discuss and forward these aspirations to the House," he said.
So far, there are 19 articles in the RKUHP known to have the potential of hindering press freedom. Among them are Article 188, which sanctions the spreading of the teachings of Communism/Marxism-Leninism; Articles 218, 219 and 220 which sanction attacks on the dignity of the President and Vice President; and Articles 240 and 241 which regulate the criminal offense of insulting the Government.
In addition, there is Article 263 which regulates the crime of broadcasting or disseminating false news.; Article 264 which punishes any person who broadcasts news that is uncertain, exaggerated, or incomplete; Article 280 for interference with and obstruction of the judicial process; Articles 302, 303, and 304 which regulate criminal offenses against religion and belief; Articles 351 and 352 which sanction insults against public authority and state institutions; Article 440 for minor insult; Article 437 for defamation; Article 443 for the defilement of the dead; and Articles 598 and 599 which regulate the crime of publishing and printing. (*)