Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Constitutional Court overturns a review on defamation article

The Jakarta Post , Jakarta | Tue, 05/05/2009

The Constitutional Court overturned a request to review a defamation article in the Electronic Information and Transaction Law on Tuesday, citing that the article is not against the Constitution.

The panel of judges, presided over by Judge Moh Mahfudz MD, said that articles 27 and 45 of the 2008 Law on Electronic Information and Transaction did not contradict democracy and human rights and the plaintiffs’ arguments were, therefore, groundless.

The judges said the freedom of the press was not unlimited. “In other words, the government is allowed to limit or regulate so that the freedom of press does not violate human rights,” the panel said during the hearing.

Journalist Iwan Piliang and the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), together with the Indonesian Legal Aid and Human Rights Association (PBHI) and the Press Legal Aid Institute (LBH Pers), had filed a judicial review of article 27 and 45 of Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transaction.

In one of their arguments, the plaintiffs criticized the articles as affecting free speech and a free press in Indonesia.

The law says that a person distributing, transmitting or making available access to electronic information or documents that contain insults or defamation may face six year’s imprisonment or have to pay Rp 1 billion (US$95,000) in fines.

Iwan said he was disappointed with the court’s ruling. “The Indonesian media are also to blame [for the loss] for not paying more attention to the case,” he said. (adh)


PERSONAL NOTE: This means it is harder than ever for journalists to write critical reports. Judges have a history of being paid off by the corrupters, which means a fair trial for any journalist is highly unlikely.