Global Coalition Calls Indonesian Government to Stand with Its People and Honor Freedom of Expression in Revising the Electronic Information and Transaction Law

Jakarta, 22 November 2023, We, the undersigned organizations and individuals forming the Global Coalition, issue an urgent plea to the Indonesian Government to stand resolutely with its people and uphold the principles of freedom of expression by urgently revising the Electronic Information and Transactions Law (ITE Law). This law, known for stifling freedom of expression and suppressing human rights defenders, requires immediate attention and rectification.

While recognizing the Indonesian Government's commendable effort to revise the ITE Law, we assertively call upon the Indonesian House of Representatives and the Government to redress several problematic articles within the second draft amendment. These articles, including but not limited to those concerning defamation, hate speech, and false news, have systematically hindered the fundamental right to freedom of expression and have silenced advocates for human rights.

Enacted in 2008 under Law Number 11, during the Administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the ITE Law aimed to address the evolving legal landscape in Indonesia's digital sphere. Intended to protect individual rights in online spaces, electronic transactions, consumer affairs, intellectual property rights, and unfair business practices, the law's punitive measures were designed to be the ultimum remedium, the last resort in a rule-of-law country like Indonesia.

Despite subsequent updates in 2016 under President Joko Widodo, the draconian elements of the ITE Law persist untouched. Articles related to defamation and hate speech have been routinely exploited by state actors to silence critics, leading to a climate of self-censorship and a decline in freedom of expression, evident in the chilling effects experienced by journalists, women, and human rights defenders.

The recent case of human rights defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar underscores the critical need for reform. Their criminalization with defamation charges, reported by Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Panjaitan, resulting in sue of 3.5 and 4 years in prison, exemplifies the oppressive impact of the ITE Law on legitimate expressions of criticism.

Our concern deepens as the ongoing revision process occurs behind closed doors, offering minimal public oversight. This lack of transparency poses a severe risk, potentially resulting in regulations that prioritize elite interests over the protection of human rights. The accelerated discussions by the Working Committee of Commission 1 of the Indonesian House of Representatives, in collaboration with the Administration of President Joko Widodo, demand immediate reconsideration.

Despite engagements with key government figures, including the Minister of Communication and Informatics and the Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights, the revised draft of the ITE Law dated July 12, 2023, demonstrates a regrettable lack of improvement and a failure to harmonize with the new Criminal Code, retaining contentious articles on hate speech and defamation.

We firmly assert that the best outcome will not be achieved if the Indonesian Government continues its current hasty and reckless trajectory. We urgently call for adherence to the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) Principle and the integration of a 'meaningful and worthwhile participation' approach in the second revision of the ITE Law.

Furthermore, we implore the Indonesian Government not to repeat past mistakes that have unjustly criminalized countless innocent citizens. This is an opportune moment for the Indonesian Government to rectify its lowest standing in the Freedom of Expression Index and establish a lasting legacy for generations to come.

Therefore, the Global Coalition, comprising diverse Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), unreservedly demands the Indonesian Government to:

  1. Hold the final draft process of the Second Amendment to the ITE Law to comply with international human rights principles, ensuring thorough discussions to eliminate the potential for human rights violations.
  2. Urge the Indonesian House of Representatives and President Joko Widodo's Administration to ensure public aspirations are considered by opening the discussion process for the second revision of the ITE Law in a transparent manner, providing the public with comprehensive information.
  3. Reject the reckless and hasty practices of the Indonesian House of Representatives and the Administration of President Joko Widodo, which neglects democratic principles and risks the introduction of malicious legislation in the ITE Law revision.


For attention:

  1. H.E. President Joko Widodo, President of Republic of Indonesia;
  2. H.E. Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, Vice President of Republic of Indonesia;
  3. H.E. Madam Speaker Puan Maharani, Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia;
  4. H.E. Madam Representative Meutya Hafid, Head of Commission I of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia;
  5. H.E. Minister Mahfud MD, Coordinating Minister of Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia;
  6. H.E. Minister Ari Budi Setiadi, Minister of Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia;
  7. H.E. Vice Minister Nezar Patria, Vice Communication and Information Technology of the Republic of Indonesia;
  8. H.E. Minister Yasonna Hamonangan Laoly, Minister of Laws and Human Rights of Republic of Indonesia;
  9. H.E. Vice Minister Edward Omar Sharif Hiariej, Vice Minister of Laws and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, and
  10. All Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia.


Undersigned Organizations and Individuals:

Koalisi Serius untuk Revisi UU ITE
Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (AJI)   
Amnesty International Indonesia  
ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR)
Alliance of Journalists in Timor Leste (AJTL)
Access Now
Agastya Pandu Wisesa
Athaya Salsabila 
Budhi Hermanto
Combine Resource Institution
Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID)
Cambodian Journalists Alliance Association (CamboJA)
Dwi Ayu Cahyani
Dewi Octaliza 
Dian Elvira Rosa
Danang Widoyoko
Diah triasih agustina
Electronic Frontier Foundation 
Eka Nugraha Putra
Extinction Rebellion
Foundation for Media Alternatives
Federation of Media Employees Trade Unions, Sri Lanka 
Front Perjuangan Pemuda Indonesia
Greenpeace Southeast Asia Indonesia
Greenpeace Indonesia  
Hujatullah Mujadidi, President of Afghan Independent Journalists Union 
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW)   
Indonesia Judicial Research Society (IJRS)   
Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR)   
Indrani Sarkar 
International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development  (INFID)
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
International Women's Day Yogyakarta
Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia (Indonesian women coalition)
Komite Perlindungan Jurnalis dan Kebebasan Berekspresi (KPJKB/Committee for the Protection of Journalists and Freedom of Expression) Makassar   
Komisi untuk Orang Hilang dan Korban Tindak Kekerasan (KontraS/The Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence)   
Lembaga Bantuan Hukum (LBH/Legal Aid Foundation) Jakarta   
LBH Asosiasi Perempuan Indonesia untuk Keadilan (APIK) Jakarta  
LBH Jakarta
LBH Masyarakat  
LBH Pers Jakarta  
Lembaga Kajian dan Advokasi Independensi Peradilan (LeIP/Institute for the Study and Advocacy of Judicial Independence)  
Lembaga Studi & Advokasi Masyarakat (ELSAM/Institute for Community Studies & Advocacy)  
Lintas Feminist Jakarta (Jakarta Feminist)  
LPS HAM Sulteng / Moh Ridwan Lapasere
Lembaga Partisipasi Perempuan (Women's Participation Institute) 
Media and Creative Industry Workers Union for Democracy (SINDIKASI)
Maria Pakpahan - Indonesia Institute in Scotland, United Kingdom.
Muhamad Raffiudin Ginting
Muhammad Husnul Azhar
Milk Tea Alliance Indonesia (ID Milk Tea)
Manushya Foundation
NUJ -India
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NJUP)
Nita Roshita 
Naufal Rofi Indriansyah
Open Net Association
OPTF / Session
Paguyuban Korban UU ITE (PAKU ITE/ITE Law Victims Association)   
Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum & Hak Asasi Manusia (PBHI/Legal Aid & Human Rights Association)  
Pusat Studi Hukum dan Kebijakan (PSHK/Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies)  
Pusat Kajian dan Advokasi Perlindungan dan Kualitas Hidup Anak Universitas Indonesia (PUSKAPA UI/Center for Studies and Advocacy on Child Protection and Quality of Life, University of Indonesia)  
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)
Partai Hijau Indonesia
Ratna Ariyanti
Public Virtue Research Institute
Pusat Kajian Politik Universitas Indonesia (PUSKAPOL UI/Center for Political Studies, University of Indonesia)
Putri Ramadhana
Rumah Cemara  
Ras Bihari
Rina Manurung
Rizky Argama, PSHK (Indonesian Centre for Law and Policy Studies)
RRR Collective
Rozy Brilian
Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet)  
Social Justice Indonesia
Setara Line Id
Wahyu Aji
Yayasan LBH Indonesia (YLBHI) 
Yayasan Penguatan Partisipasi, Inisiatif, dan Kemitraan Masyarakat Indonesia (YAPPIKA/The People's Participation, Initiative and Partnerships Strengthening Foundation )  
Yayasan Perlindungan Insani (Protection International)
Yoseph Billie Dosiwoda, Direktur Eksekutif CREED

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