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Jakarta Post

Indonesia inches closer to ‘digital authoritarianism’

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)
Nina A. Loasana
Jakarta   ●   Thu, April 15 2021

Indonesia moved closer to digital authoritarianism in 2020 as attacks against government critics and the criminalization of free expression reached new highs, two recent reports suggest.

The two reports, produced separately by the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet) and Amnesty International Indonesia but released at the same event on Wednesday, found that the COVID-19 pandemic had allowed authorities to constrict civic space in the country.

SAFEnet executive director Damar Juniarto said that throughout last year, law enforcement officers had taken "excessive measures" to limit the freedom of expression through the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law and by devising new regulations.

On April 4, 2020, for example, the National Police headquarters issued a circular instructing officers to patrol the internet and ta...

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