21 December 2009


Every law is contrary to liberty.

-- Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832)
Principles of the Civil Code (1843)

This undoubtedly applies to every nation and every individual in the world. However, I post it here as I have been thinking about the pending criminal trial of Prita Mulyasari and the recent Twitter spat of Luna Maya and the use of the Information and Electronic Transactions Law (ITE Law) in Indonesia.

I am particularly interested in the different ways that journalists view this law as a restriction on free speech. The Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) in Indonesia has campaigned against the law whereas the Indonesian Association of Journalists (PWI) has decided to use the provisions of the law to file a criminal defamation complaint.

These are indeed interesting times in which we live.


H. Nizam said...


To understand why both organizations are different, we need to take a look at the historical backgrounds of both organizations.
AJI was established during the dying days of the Soeharto segime, thus illegitimate at that time.
While PWI was the one and only recognized organization.
It seems that the differences still remains although both are legitimate after May 1998.

Rob Baiton said...



I am a little more aware than you might think I am on this one :D

Establishment aside, the differences are stark with respect to the acceptance and subsequent use of the ITE Law as a means of defending one's honor or reputation.

I wonder how one claims to be a journalist while supporting laws that restrict freedom of speech and expression through criminal defamation laws?

H. Nizam said...


Their backgrounds made lots of differences on how they see and how they react on what's going.
It's like comparing Golkar and

PS:when Soeharto stepped down in 98, Golkar was led by Harmoko: Speaker of Parliament that time, ex Minister of Information, ex PWI chief, veteran journalist & ex chief editor of Pos Kota.

Rob Baiton said...


With all due respect, I am not sure the Golkar and PDIP one is a good comparison for the purposes of this argument.

I am a little more aware than you give me credit for on the history of Indonesia, but that is OK.

I understand the history of the organizations and their differences. The question I was asking was on an individual level as journalists.

Then, it is the big picture issue of freedom of speech. How can you be a journalist or an organization representing journalists while wanting to see a restriction on the freedom of speech and expression?