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Jakarta Post

Overcoming ‘criminalization’ trauma. Is Indonesia muting critical voices?

  • Raka Ibrahim


Jakarta   /   Tue, February 23 2021   /  01:00 am
Members of the Corruption Eradication People’s Committee rally outside the State Palace on Jan. 8, 2019, to demand that the government abolish articles in the Electronic Information and Transaction (ITE) Law they deem to be a threat to freedom of expression. (JP/Seto Wardhana)

It was dawn on Sept. 27, 2019, and singer Ananda Badudu was fast asleep. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. “I found myself surrounded by six to seven policemen. They had a warrant for my arrest,” recalled Ananda, now 33. His worst fear had come to pass. In the days preceding his arrest, a series of demonstrations against a proposed law rocked Indonesian cities, with critics saying that it would curtail civil rights and weaken anticorruption efforts. Using his platform as a former member of popular folk band Banda Neira, Ananda had organized a crowdfunding campaign to support the protesters. He had expected some pushback from authorities, but not this. “They didn’t tell me what I was being charged with, only that I had to come with them,” he said. Dragged into a cold interrogation room at the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Police headquarters...