INDONESIA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net communicate freely.45 These rights are further protected by various laws and regulations.However, a range of other laws are used to limit free expression, despite legal experts’ claims that they conflict with the constitution.47 Approximately seven different laws address internet freedom in one aspect or another; this legal framework is fairly harsh, although the authorities do not always use the full range of powers granted by the laws.
In addition to the controversies mentioned above involving potential internet censorship under the 2008 ITE Law, other provisions of the law have raised concerns, as they have been used to prosecute users for online expression. In particular, the ITE Law has enabled heavier penalties for criminal defamation than those set out in the penal code.
Anyone convicted of committing defamation online may face up to six years in prison, and a fine of up to 1 billion rupiah (US$111,000).48 As of June 2010, there were at least eight cases in which citizens had been indicted on defamation charges under the ITE Law for comments on e-mail lists, blogs, or Facebook.49 In some of the cases, the accused users were temporarily detained at the beginning of the process. One of these was the high-profile case of housewife Prita Mulyasari, described above. In another case from February 2010, teenager Nur Farah, from Bogor in West Java, was convicted based on a report that she had insulted one of her friends by addressing her as a “dog” on Facebook.50 Journalist and blogger Nurliswandi Piliang was charged under the ITE Law in 2008. He and three other bloggers—Edy Cahyono, Nenda Inasha Fadillah, and Amrie Hakim—filed a petition to the Constitutional Court with the help of ANRHTI, but the court upheld the law in May 2009.51 While there have been some discussions among government agencies about amending the ITE Law, no concrete action had been taken as of December 2010.
In terms of indecency on the internet, Law No. 44 of 2008 on Pornography defines the crime of “pornography” very broadly, and includes requirements for supervision of users at cybercafes. The government is reportedly planning to enhance implementation of such Ibid., Articles 28F and 28G(1).
Among others, Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights, available at http://www.legalitas.org/inclphp/buka.phpd=1900+99&f=uu39-1999eng.htm ; Law No. 14 of 2008 on Freedom on Information, available at http://www.setneg.go.id/components/com_perundangan/docviewer.phpid=1971&filename=UU%2014%20Tahun%.pdf ; and Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press, available at http://www.legalitas.org/incl-php/buka.phpd=1900+99&f=uu401999.htm.
Wahyudi et al., “Elsam, Asesmen Terhadap Kebijakan Hak Asasi Manusia dalam Produk Legislasi dan Pelaksanaan Fungsi Pengawasan DPR RI” [Assesment to the Human Rights Policy in Legislation Product and the Implementation of the Parliament Monitoring Function], 2008. Hard copy on file with the author.
ITE Law, Article 45.
Supriyadi W. Eddyono, “Tabulasi Kasus Pidana Penghinaan dengan Menggunakan UU ITE” [Tabulation of Criminal Defamation Cases using the ITE Law], Institute for Media Defense Litigation Network (IMDLN), 2009. Hard copy on file with the author.
Anwar Hidayat, “Terbukti Menghina Lewat Facebook, Farah Divonis 2 Bulan Bui” [Proven to have insulted someone through Facebook, Farah sentenced to 2 months in Jail], Detik.com, February 16, 2010, http://www.detiknews.com/read/2010/02/16/134623/1300580/10/terbukti-menghina-lewat-facebook-farah-divonis-2bulan-bui.
Perhimpunan Bantuan Hukum dan HAM Indonesia (Indonesian Association for Legal Aid and Human Rights), “Pasal 27 ayat (3) UU ITE tidak bisa ditafsirkan secara sewenang [Article 27 paragraph (3) of the ITE cannot be arbitrarily interpreted], press release, May 5, 2009 https://anggara.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/siaran-pers-pengujian-pasal-27-ayat-3-uu-ite.pdf.
INDONESIA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net supervision by pushing through the Draft Law on Computer Crimes. The draft stipulates numerous restrictions on computer and internet usage, often prescribing harsher penalties for offenses already covered in the criminal code and other legislation. Passage of the new measure would bring to eight the number of laws regulating criminal defamation, with each calling for a different sentence; however, the law was pending at year’s end.
Also under discussion has been a draft law on ICT convergence, one that would collectively replace the Telecommunications Law, Broadcasting Law, and possibly the ITE Law. Critics have raised concerns that under the law, ICT applications (including websites) would be required to obtain a license from the MCI for a fee, a process that could place restrictions on freedom of expression, as well as for the open source community52 and expansion of WiFi hotspots. Abusive surveillance practices are not a serious concern in Indonesia, although there is little oversight or checks in place to prevent abuse by agencies conducting monitoring for the purposes of combating terrorism and identifying terrorist networks, the most known use of surveillance techniques. At present, only the State Intelligence Body (Badan Intelijen Negara, or BIN),54 the police,55 the KPK,56 and the National Narcotics Board (Badan Narkotika Nasional) have the legal authority to conduct surveillance.Indonesia has at least nine laws that allow the authorities to conduct surveillance or wiretapping.58 The only one that explicitly states the need for judicial oversight is Law No.
35 of 2009 on Narcotics, and even in that instance the requisite procedures are unclear.
Forthcoming regulations called for in the ITE Law may provide a more unified and coherent procedure for conducting surveillance, but the article is currently being challenged by human rights activists before the Constitutional Court.
Taken from his tweet @sufehmi on 8 October 2010, 23:30, Harry Sufehmi is 2nd Deputy Chairperson of AOSI and IT Practitioner.
Interview with Harry Sufehmi, 2nd Deputy Chairperson of AOSI and IT Practitioner.
Presidential Decision No. 103 of 2001, available at http://www.setneg.go.id/components/com_perundangan/docviewer.phpid=1476&filename=Keputusan_Presiden_no_103_ th_2001.pdf; Minister of Communication and Information Regulation No. 01/P/M.KOMINFO/03/2008 on the Recording of Information for the Purposes of the State’s Defense and Security, available at http://anggara.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/permen-kominfo-perekaman-informasi.pdf.
Law No. 16 of 2003 on the Stipulation of Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1 of 2002 on the Eradication of Crimes of Terrorism (State Gazette No. 46 of 2003, Supplement to the State Gazette No. 4285), available at http://www.setneg.go.id/components/com_perundangan/docviewer.phpid=1548&filename=PP_Pengganti_UU_No_1_th_ 2002.pdf.
Law No. 30 of 2002 on the Anti-Corruption Commission, available at http://www.setneg.go.id/components/com_perundangan/docviewer.phpid=300&filename=UU_no_30_th_2002.pdf.
Law No. 35 of 2009 on Narcotics, available at http://www.setneg.go.id/components/com_perundangan/docviewer.phpid=2351&filename=UU%2035%20Tahun%.pdf.
The laws are, among others, (1) Chapter XXVII Indonesian Criminal Code, Article 430—434; (2) Law No. 5 of 1997 on Psychotropic Drugs; (3) Law No. 31 of 1999 on Eradication of Corruption; (4) Law No. 36 of 1999 on Telecommunication; (5) Government Regulation in Lieu of Law No. 1 of 2002 on Combating Terrorism; (6) Law No. 18 of 2003 on Advocates; (7) Law No. 21 of 2007 on Combating Human Trafficking; (8) Law No. 11 of 2008 on Electronic Transaction and Information; and (9) Law No. 35 of 2009 on Narcotics.
INDONESIA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net In terms of anonymity, mobile-phone users are obliged to register their numbers upon purchasing a phone by submitting their identity information directly to the government via text message. In practice, however, this obligation is often ignored. The government has taken steps to pressure the Canadian company Research in Motion (RIM) to set up local servers and filter pornography for its Blackberry devices in Indonesia, considering the growing number of such users, and concerns that the encrypted communication network would hinder anti-terrorism and anti-corruption efforts.There have been no reports of extralegal attacks, intimidation, or torture of bloggers or other internet users. However, it is common for police to conduct searches of cybercafes without prior notice to the owners, since these venues are generally perceived as places conducive to accessing pornography; some searches are carried out by nonstate actors such as Islamic fundamentalist groups as well. According to various reports, these searches are conducted fairly regularly in different parts of the country, particularly in cities with a large student population, partly with the aim of catching those skipping school to get online.Most of the searches are conducted without warrants and are rarely followed up with court proceedings. Moreover, the raids are also seen as a means for police to extract bribes from cybercafe owners.
“Indonesia Says Blackberry Will Filter Out Porn,” Associated Press, January 11, 2011, http://ipolitics.ca/2011/01/11/indonesia-says-blackberry-to-filter-out-porn/; John Ribeiro, “Indonesia Presses RIM Over its Blackberry Service,” Network World, August 5, 2010, http://www.networkworld.com/news/2010/080510-indonesiapresses-rim-over-its.html.
“Police Bust High School Students for Cutting Class in Favor of Facebook,” Jakarta Globe, March 3, 2010, http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/home/police-bust-high-school-students-for-cutting-class-in-favor-of-facebook/361673;
“Indonesia rounds up students in cybercafs,” Agence France-Presse, February 23, 2010, http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/infotech/view/20100223-254794/Indonesia-rounds-up-students-in-cybercafs.
INDONESIA FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net IRAN 2009 POPULATION: 75.1 million INTERNET FREEDOM Not Not INTERNET PENETRATION 2009: 24.5 percent STATUS Free Free WEB 2.0 APPLICATIONS BLOCKED: Yes Obstacles to Access 21 SUBSTANTIAL POLITICAL CENSORSHIP: Yes Limits on Content 24 BLOGGERS/ONLINE USERS ARRESTED: Yes Violations of User Rights 31 PRESS FREEDOM STATUS: Not Free Total 76 INTRODUCTION Since the protests that followed the disputed presidential election of June 12, 2009, the Iranian authorities have waged an active campaign against internet freedom, employing extensive and sophisticated methods of control that go well beyond simple content filtering.
These include tampering with internet access, mobile-telephone service, and satellite broadcasting; hacking opposition and other critical websites; monitoring dissenters online and using the information obtained to intimidate and arrest them; ordering blogging service providers inside Iran to remove “offensive” posts or blogs; and trying to fill the information vacuum created by these measures with propaganda and misinformation.
The Iranian regime has long had an ambivalent relationship with the internet, viewing it alternately as a catalyst for economic development and diversification or as an invading force that threatens the state’s strict social, religious, and political values. The internet was first introduced by the government in the 1990s to support technological and scientific progress in an economy that had been deeply affected by eight years of war with Iraq.
However, until 2000, the state played an insignificant role in the growth of internet use among the Iranian public. In this period the private sector was the main driver of internet development, leaving the state with the challenging task of keeping up with a dynamic and overwhelmingly youthful society. The government of the reformist president Mohammad Khatami (1997–2005) then invested heavily in expanding the internet infrastructure, but during his administration, the authorities began to clamp down on free expression in both the traditional media and online.
IRAN FREEDOM HOUSE Freedom on the Net Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei first asserted control over the internet through a May 2001 decree and subsequent legislation by the Cultural Revolution High Council that forced all internet service providers (ISPs) to end their direct connections, obtain a license to operate, and purchase their bandwidth from government-controlled Access Service Providers.1 The regime’s ferocious attacks on internet use after the 2009 election seemed to mark the end of its internal debate, as the leadership decisively chose political control over the benefits of a more open society.
OBSTACLES TO ACCESS The Khatami administration, following an economic development plan devised during the last term of President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, worked to connect different cities with fiber-optic cables and increase the Iranian internet’s connection points to the global network. The result of this and other such efforts was an explosion in internet use in the country. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), there were 625,000 internet users in Iran at the beginning of 2000. By the end of Khatami’s presidency in 2005, the number had increased to several million. This period also featured a major demographic shift in Iran. The population had increased tremendously since the end of the Iran-Iraq war, to a point where more than 70 percent of the population was born after the 1979 revolution. Faced with restrictions on most other forms of expression and social interaction, this young population turned to the internet in large numbers. At the same time, the cost of internet access remains very high and the service is mostly available in the cities, meaning users are predominantly urban middle and upper class. A report prepared by Iran’s parliament blames the government for holding a monopoly on internet bandwidth and selling it to users through a number of intermediaries.2 Direct access to the internet via satellite is only permitted to certain institutes, and it remains prohibited for personal use.
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