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Jakarta Post

Jokowi must do more for freedom of expression: Setara

  • Liza Yosephine
    Liza Yosephine

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, October 20, 2016   /  07:10 pm
Jokowi must do more for freedom of expression: Setara Path to democracy? -- A man walks in front of an anti-LGBT community banner placed by an ultra-conservative Islamic group in Jakarta on March 17. (AP/Tatan Syuflana)

Two years since taking office, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Vice President Jusuf Kalla’s administration has shown it does not prioritize civil liberties, evidenced by continued freedom of expression violations, a human rights watchdog has said.

“It’s ironic to see that on one hand, law enforcement authorities barely do anything to prevent a violation of freedom of expression, particularly on issues related to LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] rights and the 1965 communist purge, but on the other hand, rampant hate speech in the name of religion is widespread on social media and the internet," Setara Institute deputy chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos told The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

Turning away its attention from rights protection, he said, the government had instead heavily focused its policies on economic development and infrastructure.  

Bonar said the government must instruct the police to protect the freedom of expression of all citizens and not to bow to anti-freedom and anti-democracy groups. Freedom of expression and freedom of opinion are fundamental rights of modern society, he went on.

Ensuring public space is free from hate speech, as well as racial and ethnic prejudice, must be conducted in a balanced way, however, he said.

The rights activist said it was not easy for the government to ensure freedom of expression while at the same time protect people from extremities.

"It must be able to make sure that in the face of differences, mutual respect from both sides could continue to grow,” Bonar said. (ebf)


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