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Jakarta Post

SAFEnet condemns censorship of jobs law critics

  • Tri Indah Oktavianti

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, October 20, 2020   /   07:40 pm
SAFEnet condemns censorship of jobs law critics Members of a union stand behind a banner opposing the recently passed Job Creation Law during a strike on Oct. 7 at a footwear factory operated by PT Panarub Industry in Tangerang, Banten. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)

The Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) has condemned recent restrictions imposed on the Twitter accounts of certain civil groups that have been critical of the Job Creation Law.

“We received a report yesterday that two Twitter accounts that have been actively criticizing the Job Creation Law have been blocked,” Ika Ningtyas of SAFEnet wrote in a statement released on Tuesday, referring to the accounts @FraksiRakyatID and @BersihkanIndonesia, which belong to the Indonesian People’s Faction (FRI) and the Bersihkan Indonesia Coalition (Cleaning Indonesia Coalition) respectively.

“The FRI’s Twitter account has been restricted twice and now the Cleaning Indonesia Coalition’s Twitter account is also being restricted. [...] This is very disgraceful,” Ika added.

SAFEnet noted that the two accounts had tweeted at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday to present a report called Oligarchy, mining business and dirty energy behind omnibus law: roles, conflicts of interest and track records.

The two accounts’ administrators said they received a warning message on Monday notifying them that the Twitter accounts had been temporarily blocked.

“SAFEnet does not consider the posted content a violation of Twitter's community guidelines. What has been delivered is a legitimate form of the freedom of expression,” Ika said.

Read also: Ministry denies 'iron fist' measures to block social media amid jobs law protests

The digital rights watchdog accused the government of being behind the restrictions and claimed they were part of a systematic effort to muzzle political speech in the country, especially opposition to the controversial new law.

SAFEnet demanded that Twitter lift the restrictions on the two accounts.

“Restrictions must be imposed in a transparent manner that can be held publicly accountable,” Ika said.

She urged the authorities to treat people who had dissenting opinions fairly, to stop labeling critics as fake news distributors and to stop criminalizing activists under the contentious Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) Law.

“The police must prioritize mediation efforts because the legal avenue is supposed to be the last resort of all processes,” she added.

The FRI is one of a number of civil organizations that have criticized the new jobs law.

The Cleaning Indonesia Coalition is a group of civil organizations campaigning for green energy and environmental economic policy.