Investigative journalist Dandhy Dwi Laksono has been reported by the youth wing of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P, to the East Java Police for allegedly insulting former President Megawati Sukarnoputri and President Joko Widodo in a Facebook post.
Dandhy likened Megawati to Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, by suggesting there was a similarity between the two once prominent opposition figures who became leaders of their countries. Also in how they mishandle conflicts — Suu Kyi in Rakhine State, Megawati in Papua. According to the post, since Megawati’s return to power through her party’s win and the choice of Jokowi as president, there have been far more arrests in the province that has a history of separatist movements.
Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) activist Damar Juniarto said the role of social media in democracy is endangered if those who express their own opinions are reported to police.
“People will end up thinking that by saying something bad they can be accused of insult. Similarly, saying something good can also lead to accusations. There’s always a chance to get accused,” Damar said in Jakarta on Friday (08/09), as quoted by state news agency Antara.
He added such circumstances make people unwilling to express opinions, as their freedom to do so would not be protected.
Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) director Asfinawati said Dandy’s post should be seen as criticism, not an attack, as no incitement to hatred is found there.
According to Damar, this year six activists have been reported for violating the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law by expressing their views online.
In 2016, 10 activists were reported. Most of them worked in the field of anticorruption, environment and investigative journalism.