Novita Andrian, Jakarta – The Elections Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) will act upon "political buzzers" who use identity politics or SARA (religious, racial, and societal groups) in their internet campaigns. The agency's chairperson Rahmat Bagja asserted that such contents will be taken down and subjected to criminal charges under the ITE Law.
This comes as a pressing issue considering Indonesia is entering the "political year" ahead of the 2024 General Elections.
Citing the Bawaslu website, the Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE Law) Article No. 11/2008 oversees every action from individuals who intentionally distribute, transmit, and make electronic documents accessible that violate decency may face criminal charges of a maximum of 6 years imprisonment.
The Law also oversees online slander or defamation – under Article 28 (2) – can face 4 years behind bars and an additional Rp750,000 fine. The distribution of false information is also mentioned in Article 28 (1).
The ITE Law also punishes people who spread or distribute information that causes societal group hostility under the SARA rule. This is mentioned in Article 45A (2) of Law No. 19/2016 and could see violators being imprisoned for up to 6 years.
From the bawaslu.go.id page, Bawaslu member Herwyn JH Malonda mentioned that the agency's prevention measures include collaborating with social media platforms, state ministries, state institutions, and approach groups or communities, down to the grassroots level, to prevent SARA and identity politics campaigns during the 2024 General Elections.