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Jakarta Post

Reaffirming oligarchy in digital realm

  • Adek Media Roza


Sydney   /   Tue, November 12, 2019   /  04:07 pm
Reaffirming oligarchy in digital realm Solidarity: An activist holds up a poster during a demonstration in Jakarta on Friday, August 23, in protest of the internet blackout in Papua and West Papua, imposed following riots in a number of the provinces’ cities. The violence was a reaction to physical and racial abuse of Papuan students in Surabaya, East Java. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

The new communications and information minister, Johnny G. Plate, has said that the government may restrict social media access in states of emergency and has cautioned netizens against circulating sensitive content. While acknowledging that this may violate freedom of speech, he said the government had no choice to limit the impact of materials that could harm the public. Public safety must be prioritized. However, what worries human rights activists is the unclear definition of emergency and public interest, which could further justify the state’s control of information to maintain power. As in the old days, criticism of state policies and officials may be considered sensitive. Instead of responding to this criticism with introspection and improvement, the government may simply restrict internet access. The government has already limited access to digital spaces at least tw...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.