Criminalization Goes Higher, ELSAM Formed Academic Network for Freedom of Expression

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

ELSAM, Padang – Although technology development is more sophisticated, but the threats to freedom of expression, especially in cyber world, also more worrisome. Since ITE Act was enacted in 2008, up to 2014, there were 73 cases arose related to the Act. Most of these victims entangled defamation in Law No. 11/2008 on Electronic Information and Transactions.

According to ELSAM’s researcher Wahyudi Djaffar, criminalization of freedom of expression through ITE Act is one indication of sophisticated technology and high number of internet users but they were not accompanied by public awareness on freedom of expression and privacy right.

To that end, he added, Institute of Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM) took an initiative to hold a meeting between academic networks related to freedom of expression in Padang, on June 29-30, 2015. The meeting involved a number of academics from several universities in Indonesia, namely University of Airlangga, Padjadjaran University, Gadjah Mada University, Andalas University, University of Indonesia and representatives of the Indonesian Press Council.

“This academic network is established to promote freedom of expression and privacy right to balance a more sophisticated and advanced technology,” said Wahyudi.

Regarding the challenge to freedom of expression, Wahyudi said that this network will form a number of activities which aimed to increase public awareness on right to freedom of expression and privacy.

“As a first step, this network activity will compile an anthology book contains academic studies related to the issues of freedom of expression and will be published in general,” he said.
Topics involved in the book are practices of surveillance and unlawful interception, personal data protection, safeguard and restriction for the right to freedom of expression, a review of defamation in ITE Act, freedom of the press online, hatred speech and national cyber security in Indonesia.

In addition to anthology book writing, this network is will also standardize college syllabi on freedom of expression and privacy right and then hold an academic conference on similar issues.
A number of academics who attended the meeting welcomed ELSAM’s initiation in building an academic network related to freedom of expression.

“This is a form of teaching and community service, including a readiness to become an expert in policy making and advocacy. In accordance with the mandate of Tri Dharma Perguruan Tinggi,” said Heribertus Jaka Triyana, lecturer of Faculty of Law, Gadjah Mada University who became the member of that network. []

Author: Lintang Setianti
Editor: Ari Yurino