Amnesty reports widespread intimidation against government critics, journalists

Source – April 8, 2021
All Indonesia Student Executive Council rally in Central Jakarta – October 20, 2020 (Kompas)

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – Amnesty International Indonesia recorded 132 cases of violations of freedom of expression which were suffered by social groups in 2020.

"There were at least 132 cases found of violations of freedom of expression throughout 2020 with 157 victims of alleged criminalisation using articles under the UU ITE [Electronic Transaction and Information Law] and the KUHP [Criminal Code]", aid Amnesty International Indonesia researcher Ari Pramuditya during a press conference on Wednesday April 7.

Pramuditya said that the violations against freedom of expression included those suffered by journalists in the form of digital attack, threats and criminalisation.

During this period, Amnesty recorded some 56 cases of violence against journalists. "There were at least 56 cases of violence against journalists who were documenting protests against the Draft Omnibus Law between October 7 and October 21, 2020", said Pramuditya.

As a whole, continued Pramuditya, students, academics, human rights defenders and journalists suffered digital intimidation. This intimidation occurred when they criticised the government or when they raised sensitive issues such as human rights violations taking place in Papua.

"There were at least 66 cases of digital attacks and intimidation suffered by 86 victims made up of organisations, activists, journalists and academics throughout 2020", Pramuditya revealed.

According to Pramuditya, the digital intimidation was aimed at cultivating feelings of fear and silencing public criticism. "Intimidation was carried out in various forms including physical violence, intervention by university authorities against students", he asserted.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Laporan Amnesty, 132 Pelanggaran Hak atas Kebebasan Berekspresi Sepanjang 2020".]