Indonesian Government Ratified Internet Law: Death to Bloggers' Voice?
On March 25, the Indonesian government ratified Undang-undang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronic (ITE) which, in short, means Internet Law. The law regulates everything online under Indonesian government's territory effective April 1. Some highlights of the statute:
Article 10: government has the right to give Certificate of Credibility to Online Businesses
Article 11: Giving electronic signature a legal standing
Article 15-22 : regulate online transaction security
Article 25: protection for intellectual property
Article 26: regulates privacy
Article 27: Prohibit contents that is indecent, gambling related, defamation, extortion, and threat
Article 28: Prohibit contents that invokes hate based on lies, ethnic, religion, race, and affiliation.
Article 31: Prohibiting the transmission of content that is not one's own.
Article 45: Punishment for this statute ranges from 6 years to 12 years in prison or Rp 1 billion – Rp 12 billion and any additional charges.
The ratification of the Internet Law ignited uproar from Indonesian bloggers who feel that the Internet law, especially Article 27, 28, and 31, threatens freedom of expression guaranteed by the original 1945 constitution.
Previously, Indonesian government only loosely controlled the Internet. With the rise of cybercafes in cities, Internet usage in Indonesia has been increasing dramatically. In a country where the press is controlled tightly by various telecommunication laws [1,2,3], many Indonesian journalists had turned to the Internet to free their voices. How the Internet law will be implemented, and whether extensive filtering will be put in place, is unclear. The law itself seems to have come from a push from the Cyber Crime Direktorat Ekonomi Khusus Badan Reserse dan Kriminal (Bareskrim), the police cyber crime division for another cybercrime law . Under the new law, many critical journalism pieces could be challenged under articles 26, 27, 28, or 31 and thus would be unpublishable online as well as in print.
If used improperly, this new law will, again, silence Indonesian journalism.
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