Criminal code passed, Press Council questions govt and House’s commitment to democracy

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RKUHP protester
Illustration of RKUHP rejection (Doc. Independent Observer)

Jakarta, IO – The House of Representative officially ratified the criminal code a plenary meeting on Tuesday (6/12) despite opposition toward a number of articles deemed controversial.

Press Council member Ninik Rahayu said the passage of the criminal code would reverse democratic gains as many articles, especially those related to press freedom, are considered problematic as they run counter to the Press Law and can be potentially abused to muffle press freedom.

“It seems that the government is not committed to advancing democracy. Democracy is what we are fighting for, it has been agreed as the form of our government,” Ninik said, reported CNN Indonesia, Tuesday (6/12).

In her view, freedom of the press is the most important pillars of democracy. She regretted that the government and the House seemed to ignore this cornerstone of a democratic society in the formulation of the criminal code.

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The Press Council had previously written to President Joko Widodo to postpone the ratification of the code. They recommended that a number of articles be reviewed for the sake of democracy. One of the concerns is that the criminal code could lead to the criminalization of journalistic works. (un)