World Press Freedom Day

25 Years of Reform, Criminalization of the Journalists are Still Rising

Instead of moving forward, Indonesian democracy is moving backward, marked by many regulations hindering freedom of expression and freedom of the press.

In commemorating World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) today, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) calls for the government’s responsibility to protect freedom of expression and press freedom. Without the protection of freedom of expression and press freedom, jeopardization of other human rights could happen.

The theme of is year’s global commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day is ‘Shaping the Future of Human Rights: Freedom of expression is the driving force behind all other human rights‘. This year’s commemoration also coincides with the 30th anniversary of May 3’s designation as International Press Freedom Day by the General Assembly of the United Nations,. As well as the 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Press Freedom is an integral part of the freedom of expression listed in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It refers to the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media, regardless of frontiers. 

In addition, in Indonesia, the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day coincides with the moment approaching the 25 years of Reformation. The 1998 reformation was when the collapse of the New Order authoritarian government under Suharto occured, bringing Indonesia to a democratic government. The Human Rights Law and the Press Law were born in 1999. Two crucial laws that guarantee the recognition and protection of human rights, including press freedom.

Also Read: Grumbling to See CATAHU 2023, Real Evidence of TPKS Law Has Not Been Effectively Implemented

However, instead of moving forward, Indonesian democracy is moving backward. Marked by the use of several regulations to hinder freedom of expression and press freedom. These include Law No. 1 of 1946, Electronic Information and Transaction Law (UU ITE), Government Regulation No. 71 of 2019 and Minister of Communication and Information Regulation 5/2020 concerning Private Electronic System Operators, Law No. 1 of 2023 concerning the Criminal Code and UU no. 6 of 2023 concerning the Stipulation of Government Regulation in Lieu of Law Number 2 of 2022 concerning Job Creation.

The ITE Law is still a law that is dangerous for online journalists and those who express their criticism on social media. AJI noted that since the enactment of ITE Law in 2008 and its 2016 revision, at least 38 journalists have been reported with problematic articles in the ITE Law. Four of them were imprisoned because they were found guilty by the Court. 

The attacks on journalists and independent media organizations never end. In 2022, AJI Indonesia recorded the number of attacks reaching 61 cases. With 97 journalists becoming victims and 14 media organizations being the target of attacks. From January 2023 to April 30, 2023, there were 33 cases, an increase compared to the same period in 2022 of 15 cases.

Human rights defenders and other critical groups also experienced the same condition. They become targets of criminalization, digital attacks, disinformation, and various other efforts to delegitimize expressing their legitimate opinions and expressions both online and offline.

This is despite the fact that freedom of expression and press freedom support other human rights in Indonesia. Which is experiencing various impacts from the climate crisis, economic inequality, corruption, polarization, violence against women and children, discrimination against vulnerable groups, and rampant information disruption. 

Also Read: Why Does LGBT Community Face Discrimination Continuously? 

“Press Independence Day 2023 emphasizes that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are interdependent, interrelated, and inseparable from other human rights.” Said AJI Chairman, Sasmito on May 2, 2023.

Against this background, AJI urges the Government and DPR RI to revoke and or cancel various problematic regulations and articles that hinder freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Especially the ITE Law, PP 71 of 2019, and Permenkominfo 5/2020, the Job Creation Law. Apart from that, the President of the Republic of Indonesia and the Chief of Police of the Republic of Indonesia should also stop all cases of criminalization against journalists and human rights defenders because of their legitimate journalistic works and expressions.

AJI also urges the President of the Republic of Indonesia and the Chief of the National Police to transparently and independently investigate cases of physical and digital attacks against journalists and human rights defenders. Furthermore, the government must create a mechanism for protecting human rights defenders, including journalists. By involving other relevant state institutions, the press community, and other independent civil society.

Ignorance should stop. Media owners should also not intervene in the newsroom by not censoring journalistic works and critical opinions. On the other hand, all journalists can comply with the Journalistic Code of Ethics. Provide reporting space for those who cannot speak, and mainstream public issues in all news coverage.

(Translated by Marina Nasution from here.)

Tim lahir pada 8 Maret 2016 untuk mengelola ruang publik dari sudut pandang perempuan dan minoritas sebagai bagian dari kesadaran dan daya kritis, menghadirkan penerbitan artikel di website, produksi video/ film, dan informasi/ pengetahuan publik.Kini dikelola oleh individu-individu yang mempunyai kesamaan dalam memandang perempuan dan minoritas.
Republikasi artikel ini, klik tombol di bawah

Creative Commons License

1. Silakan lakukan republikasi namun tidak boleh mengedit artikel ini, cantumkan nama penulis, dan sebut bahwa artikel ini sumbernya dari, tautkan URL dari artikel asli di kata “”. Anda bebas menerbitkan ulang artikel ini baik online maupun cetak di bawah lisensi Creative Commons.

2. Artikel kami juga tidak boleh dijual secara terpisah atau menyebarkannya ke pihak lain demi mendapatkan keuntungan material.

Let's share!