ITE Law prosecutions rise sharply under President Widodo's watch: Amnesty

Source – October 28, 2020
Banner reads 'Stop jailing activists – abolish the UU ITE's catchall articles' – Undated (Alinea)

Sania Mashabi, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid says that there have been more indictments using Law Number 11/2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions (UU ITE) under the administration of President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in 2014-2019 than there were during the administration of former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) in 2009-2014.

This is based on data gathered by Amnesty in cooperation with the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network SAFEnet.

"During the era of Pak [Mr] SBY, there were 74 cases during his term in office between 2009 and 2014", said Hamid during a Kompas TV One Table event on Wednesday October 28.

"Then during Pak Jokowi's term during his first five years there were 233 cases. So it rose sharply", he said.

Meanwhile if the number of cases during Widodo's first term is added to the first year of his second term, then the total is 241 cases. And out of these cases, 82 cases people were charged with insulting the president.

"Even though the article on insulting the president no longer exists under criminal law", said Hamid.

Earlier, the Communication and Information Technology Ministry's (Kemenkominfo) director general for applications, Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, said that the ITE law is not being used to muzzle the public.

This was conveyed by Pangerapan when asked about the ITE law and the view that it endangers democracy during a virtual press conference titled Kominfo's Strategy to Deter Covid-19 Hoaxes on Monday October 19.

Pangerapan said that the ITE law provides road signs so that traffic in the digital world is more orderly. "The UU ITE is to create order. There is not the slightest thing which could be called muzzling", said Pangerapan.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Amnesty: Kasus Penjeratan UU ITE Saat Kepemimpinan Jokowi Meningkat Tajam".]