Fitria Chusna Farisa, Jakarta – Presidential Staff Deputy Chief Juri Ardiantoro says that criticism should not be allowed to ignore obedience to the law, ethics and aesthetics. If the criticism is intended as part of democracy, said Ardiantoro, these three elements must still be basic to this.
Ardiantoro conveyed this in response to the spread of murals depicting President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo on various public facilities around the country.
"Murals that have been intentionally spread of late which have attacked President Jokowi Widodo mirror actions which in fact are outside these three elements because they disturb social order and obedience to the law, with minimal ethical and aesthetical value", said Ardiantoro in a press release on Friday September 3.
Ardiantoro believes that the rampant spread of murals which allegedly attack the president shows that there is a basic error in the perception and practice of democracy by the artists.
Aside from abeyance of the law, ethics and esthetics, said Ardiantoro, criticism should contain enthusiasm and constructive elements. "Including providing solutions to the various problems that are the object of criticism", he said.
President Widodo has repeatedly said that he is open to input and criticism. He has also not placed his critics in the position of enemies, including mural artists.
In his State of the Nation address on August 16, Widodo said that criticism is important for the nation and the country and because of this the president actually conveyed his thanks.
Ardiantoro also asserted that murals are not actually a problem and are not prohibited. But once again it is important to pay attention to the aspects of abeyance of the law, ethics and aesthetics.
"Should these mural be allowed to be 'drawn' in public places? Do they not disturb the public's comfort, and does the content not recklessly attack a person personally", said Ardiantoro.
"Please convey and express [yourselves] in a way that builds a democracy which is full of refinement and optimism for us as a nation", he said.
As has been reported, a number of murals depicting President Widodo have appeared around the country. In mid-August a mural with the message "Jokowi: 404 Not Found" appeared in the Batu Ceper area of Tangerang City, West Java.
The mural became a topic of discussion by netizens on social media after it was removed by police on Thursday August 12.
Most recently a mural resembling Widodo appeared on Jalan Kebagusan Raya in the Jagakarsa area of South Jakarta. The mural however only survived for a day before it was removed on Tuesday August 31 by four people wearing civilian clothing.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "KSP Sebut Mural-mural Mirip Presiden Ganggu Ketertiban Sosial".]