House open for revisions to Electronic Info and Transaction Law

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Member of House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) of RI’s Commission I, Tb. Hasanuddin. (Photo: DPR RI)

IO – House (DPR)’s Committee I legislator Tubagus (“Tb.”) Hasanud din has spoken out about the plan to revise Law Number 11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Information and Transaction Law (Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik – “UU ITE”). He declared that “The revi sion of UU ITE is planned with due consideration of input from various groups. In fact, it is true that two Articles are crucial for revision, i.e. Article 27 Paragraph 3 and Article 28 Paragraph 2,” Hasanu ddin stated in a written statement released to the media on Tuesday (16/02/2021).

The issue gained traction after President Joko Widodo mentioned in his directives during his meeting with the Commander of the Armed Forces and the Chief of Police at the Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on Monday (15/2/2021) that UU ITE needs to be revised if it cannot provide a sense of justice for the people.

“Our country is a democrat ic country, one that respects the freedom to express one’s opinion and to organize. Our country is based on the law, and we must implement the law as fairly as pos sible to protect the higher interest and to ensure the sense of justice among the people,” Jokowi stated in a broadcast on the Presidential Secretariat’s YouTube channel on Monday (15/2/2021). “I request that our Chief of Police, General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, be selective in receiving the people’s reports. Many of our citizens misuse the UU ITE to report on each other. Further more, the Police must create a clear guideline for UU ITE to prevent its Articles from having multiple inter pretation. The Army and the Police must really respect democracy and make justice a reality.”

Hasanuddin, former Head of the Legislative Task Force during the UU ITE discussion a few years ago, stated that Article 27 Paragraph 3 of the Law concerns insults and the besmirching of reputation. “Yes, there have been many debates re lated to Article 27 Paragraph 3 of the Law. However, it refers to the provisions of Articles 310 and 311 of the Criminal Code concerning the besmirching of a person’s rep utation and insult towards oth ers, both verbally and in writing,” he said. “Article 28 Paragraph 2 concerns the broadcast of hatred towards an individual or a group of people based on their personal Tribal Origins, Religious Beliefs, Race, or Social Group (Suku, Ag ama, Ras, dan Antar Golongan – “SARA”). Law Enforcement Of ficers must properly understand these two Articles, Article 27 and Article 28, in order to prevent er roneous application of the law. Es pecially since Article 27 is a com plaint-based delict, which means that those who feel themselves to suffer from disparaging comments may submit a report, and that all reports must be made by the per son suffering from the detrimental comment and not by any other person.”

Hasanuddin went on to say that when applying the provisions of Ar ticle 27 Paragraph 2, Law Enforcers must be able to really differentiate criticism from hate speech and insult. “The Law of this land is no longer healthy when you can mix up criticism with hate speech,” he said. “Also, we must be extra-care ful and selective when applying the provisions of Article 28 Paragraph 3 of UU ITE, as it is extremely import ant for us to maintain the integrity of NKRI with its principle of Bhine ka Tunggal Ika, “Unity in Diversity”, or to put it briefly, pluralism. I be lieve that we can minimize the in cidence of multiple interpretations if we delineate a comprehensive guideline for legal interpretation of the two Articles.”

Hasanuddin then denied that the two controversial articles con tain loopholes. According to him, there is no such thing as inher ently “loophole” regulation – it all depends on how Law Enforcers log ically understand the law and how they can implement these laws with conscience. “Imagine the mess this country will be in if we allow our citizens to freely disparage each other, to open each other’s shame ful secrets, and to express hatred towards each other vulgarly. This includes spreading hatred based on SARA, while this country is a pluralistic country based on the Pancasila and the Constitution of 1945. Remember that both Articles have been submitted to the Consti tution Court for Judicial Review, and the Court found nothing wrong with them,” he said.

However, Hasanuddin suggest ed the UU ITE be revised as nec essary, for example by creating official guidelines for interpreting its Articles. “We at DPR are open. If revision is necessary, let us revise together for the sake of justice and in order to maintain the integrity of NKRI,” he said. “Let us as citi zens be wise in use of social media. Constructive criticism is a valid right protected by Law, after all. However, do not mix criticism with insults, or even worse, hate speech, as it might result in a official report to the police.” (des)