Under new Criminal Code, journalists could be jailed just for writing about Marxism

Kompas.com – July 15, 2022
Azyumardi Azra speaking to reporters at Hotel Aryaduta in Jakarta – May 18, 2022 (Kompas)

Singgih Wiryono, Jakarta – Press Council Chairperson Azyumardi Azra says that a media which broadcasts communist, Marxist and Leninist ideas could be subject to imprisonment. This stipulation is found in the latest version of the Draft Criminal Code (RKUHP) which is currently being deliberated by the House of Representatives (DPR).

"[Even] if it's implicitly mentioned by a media that's not allowed, because if there is writing on Marxism, even if the writing is critical of Marxism, [that's not allowed]", said Azra during a press conference at the Press Council offices in Gambir, Central Jakarta, on Friday July 15.

This threat is found under Article 188 on crimes against the state ideology.

Paragraph (1) of the article reads, "Anyone who spreads or develops communist, Marxist or Leninist ideas in public verbally or in writing including spreading or developing it through any kind of media shall be subject to a maximum prison sentence of four years".

Azra also explained that the prison sentence incurred can be increased depending on the impact of spreading the prohibited ideas.

Under Paragraph (3) it states that if the broadcasting of these ideas causes a public uproar it is subject to a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.

Paragraph (4) stipulates that if spreading these ideas results in a riot which causes serious injury the punishment it is subject to an additional two years. The additional punishment can be 15 years in prison if the riot caused by these ideas results in the death of a person.

Aside from these articles, there are scores of other articles which Azra says threaten press freedom in Indonesia:

1. Article 188 on crimes against state ideology;

2. Articles 218, 219 and 220 on the crime of being disrespectful to or attacks the values and dignity of the president and vice president;

3. Articles 240, 241, 246 and 248 on the crime of insulting the legitimate government, which are catch all articles;

4. Articles 263 and 264 on the crime of broadcasting or disseminating reports or announcements which are false;

5. Article 280 on the crime of disturbing or disrupting trial proceedings;

6. Articles 302, 303 and 304 on crimes against religion and beliefs;

7. Articles 351-352 on the crime of insulting public authorities and state institutions;

8. Article 440 on the crime of defamation;

9. Articles 437 and 443 on the crime of libel.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Dalam RKUHP Media Menyiarkan Tentang Marxisme Bisa Dipidana".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2022/07/15/17302261/dalam-rkuhp-media-menyiarkan-tentang-marxisme-bisa-dipidana