The Jakarta Post
Two noted lawyers have demanded that the National Police immediately revoke a recently issued circular on hate speech, saying it could cause misperceptions in society, particularly because it could be considered as a limitation of the freedom of expression.
Circular No. SE/06/X2015 on hate speech, signed by National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti, was issued last week. The forms of hate speech mentioned are the same as those stipulated in the Criminal Code, including libel, defamation, unpleasant conduct, provocation, inciting violence and spreading lies.
'Such a circular could cause disquiet in society. The police need to understand that. And it should be revoked,' Indonesian Advocates Association (Peradi) chairman Luhut Pangaribuan said as reported by kompas.com on Wednesday.
According to Luhut, the police did not need to issue such a circular in the first place because regulations on hate speech were found in a number of articles in existing regulations. 'Even if the National Police [revoke] it, it will not reduce the authority of the police to enforce the law on hate speech,' he added.
A similar call was made by former law and human rights minister Amir Syamsuddin, who is also a Peradi member. He said the task of the police was to enforce the law, not to issue circulars that could cause disorder in society.
'People may think that the circular wants to limit the freedom of expression. It also could be considered as social control and it could be considered as being against democracy,' Amir added.
National Police chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti said on Monday that the public did not need to worry about losing freedom of expression following the circular. He said that it was in anticipation of any potential conflict in society caused by hate speech.
The circular was issued following recent religion-related conflicts, such as a mosque burning in Tolikara, Papua, and a church burning in Aceh Singkil, Aceh. On July 15, a violent mob allegedly affiliated with the Evangelical Church of Indonesia (GIDI) disrupted an Idul Fitri prayer service held by Muslims at a local mosque in Tolikara. (bbn)(+)
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