Thursday, November 12, 2015


    Jakarta, Nov 12, 2015 (Antara) - Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok) has amended a gubernatorial regulation of 2015 governing freedom of expression in public following protests by some NGOs.
   Some of the NGOs that had protested were Kontras, Aji and an NGO coalition called PRJ (the Association of Jakarta Inhabitants).   
   The revision is meant to accommodate democracy in the capital city, Ahok said while announcing the revision in Jakarta on Nov. 11.
   On October 28, the Jakarta Governor had signed the regulation as he wanted protesters to behave in a more orderly manner.
   The Gubernatorial Regulation No. 228 of 2015 stipulates that protesters will be allowed to stage protests at just three venues: Senayan's Eastern Parking Area in the Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan, the Alun Alun Demokrasi (democracy plaza) located at the House of Representatives (DPR) complex, and at the Southern Cross located at the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta.  
   The regulation also ruled that protests should be conducted at the three venues decided by the governor, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time, and that the noise levels of the sound systems should not exceed 60 decibels.

    In response to the public rejection of the regulation restricting freedom of speech, the Jakarta administration has issued gubernatorial regulation No. 232 of 2015 to replace regulation No. 228 of 2015.
    "If (we) abide by Law No. 9 of 1998, staging rallies at the presidential palace will be banned. Therefore, we can provide other locations," the governor remarked.
   Indeed, the law prohibits a rally at the presidential palace, but it does not restrict protests in these three demarcated venues in the capital city.
   Because the regulation had triggered controversy, Jakarta authorities issued a revision concerning the locations where rallies are permitted.
   As per the latest regulation, the Jakarta authorities have opted to revise the use of the word "decide" instead of "provide" for the locations.
  The Jakarta authorities have also omitted a sentence in the previous regulation that bans a convoy or a march during the rally.
   "I, however, continue to urge protesters to maintain order and not harm public interest while staging rallies," Ahok emphasized.
  Earlier, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), a human rights NGO, had alleged that the Jakarta governor's recent regulation is a serious violation of the freedom of expression and free speech rights.
   "The governor's regulation demonstrates that Ahok does not understand his role as the governor of the country's capital city," Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar said recently.
   In an open letter written to the governor, the NGO strongly rejected the implementation of the regulation saying it has harmed the rights of the citizens in terms of expressing their views and conveying their opinions to the public, which have so far been guaranteed by the Constitution.
  The regulation also showed that the government has become opposed to criticism.
  It limits holding demonstrations only to three places, and has openly invited the military from becoming involved in preventing rallies to be held in places, other than the three mentioned above.
    The regulation is not in accordance with the Constitution of 1945, or the Law No. 9/1998, or the International Convention for Civilian and Political rights.
    Therefore, Kontras has demanded the revocation of the governor's regulation for the sake of democracy and human rights protection in Indonesia.
   On November 6, a number of human right activists grouped in a NGO coalition called PRJ expressed their strong rejection of the gubernatorial regulation during a press conference held at the office of the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) Jakarta.
  The regulation has harmed the public's freedom of expression rights, according to a statement issued by PRJ that comprised a number of legal aid organizations and labor unions.
  "Some substances in the Gubernatorial Regulation No. 228 of 2015 threaten democracy in Indonesia," the Director of LBH Jakarta Alghiffari Aqsa was quoted as saying by
    In issuing the regulation, Ahok has demonstrated his arrogance towards every element of the community and threatened the country's democracy, he added.
    Meanwhile, Kontras'coordinator Haris urged the Jakarta Police to not abide by the regulation, and stick to the Law No. 2 of 2002 on the Indonesian Police.
   "The Jakarta Gubernatorial Regulation No. 22 of 2015 has also violated the Law No. 34 of 2004 on the Indonesian Defense Forces (TNI) because it involves the Indonesia military for the public issues, while the main task of the TNI is to protect the sovereignty of the nation," he stated.
   Opposition was also registered by the Indonesian Journalists' Alliance (AJI), which plans to file a law suit against the Regulation No. 228 for restricting the public's rights to express their views.
    Erick Tanjung, a coordinator of the Advocacy Division of the AJI Jakarta, told that the gubernatorial regulation is against the Constitution of 1945 that guarantees the rights of the Indonesian people to express their opinions. ***2***
(T.F001/A/BESSR) 12-11-2015 19:20:21

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