The Jakarta Post
The National Police ordered all of their personnel to anticipate any potential conflicts in society caused by hate speech.
The order is stipulated in the circular signed by National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti on Oct. 8, 2015.
"Hate speech issues must be handled carefully because it could undermine our nation's principle of living in accordance with Bhinneka Tunggal Ika [Unity in Diversity]," the circular stated as published by the Center for the Study of Religion and Democracy ( PUSAD) at the Paramadina Foundation on Tuesday.
As state officers that keep public security and order, it is of high importance that all police personnel comprehend hate speech forms to conduct early prevention before the speeches instigate legal violations. Therefore police officers will be more responsive to any symptoms that could lead to violations.
National Police also urged officers of all levels to put intelligence at the forefront to know the real condition in the conflict-prone areas.
"Police must approach all parties using hate speech and [...] find a peaceful solution," the police said.
As stipulated in the Criminal Code (KUHP), hate speech includes libel, defamation, unpleasant conduct, provocation, inciting violence and spreading lies.
The Criminal Code also states that hate speech is aimed at instigating hatred based on ethnicities, religions, beliefs, races, sexual orientations, skin colors and disabilities; it can be spread through campaign orations, posters, social media, religious sermons, mass media, demonstrations and fliers.
National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Agus Rianto told Kompas that the circular was not only aimed at police but also the public.
There have been several conflicts in Indonesia caused by hate speech.
The latest incidents include the religious-related conflicts in Tolikara, Papua, in July and Aceh Singkil, Aceh, this month.
Hendardi, the chairman of human rights advocacy group Setara Institute, applauded the National Police for issuing the circular.
"The circular could be a guideline for local police officers to understand that National Police will not tolerate any provocations that cause hatred. I hope [this] will help lower hate speech, which often iniates violence," he told thejakartapost.com on Thursday.
However, Roichatul Aswidah, commissioner of the National Commission for Human Rights (Komnas HAM) said police must be careful in implementing the orders so that it would not restrict freedom of speech.
She said that defamation should not be included as hate speech even though it is regulated in the Criminal Code.
"I agree that hate speech must be banned. But police must carefully examine [each case] because otherwise it would only harm the freedom of speech," she told Kompas. (rin)(+)
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