Defamation cases quashing press freedom in Indonesia
The president of AJI, Suwarjono said: “Recent events have shown that there is a rise in criminalizing people’s views. These facts are a setback to democracy in Indonesia. They could even be worse than the situation during the New Order era, since the law now legalizes criminalizing those who express their views. It makes things worse when the Police have a mindset that objects to freedom of speech and expression.”
The IFJ said: “Using laws the suppress freedom of expression is a concerning issue in Indonesia and appears to be on the rise. Indonesia is well equipped with mechanisms, such as the Press Council to deal with press complaints and issues; however a growing number of people are taking criminal action. This will only work to create a culture of fear among the media community, concerned about what they can say.”
The IFJ and AJI call on the government to take a stand against the growing number of criminal defamation cases, against both the media and the general population, and support the role of existing mechanisms such as the Press Council.