The Alliance of Independent Journalists has slammed the Communication and Information Ministry’s draft regulation on multimedia content, stating that it threatened freedom of the press.
“If the draft was passed, the Indonesian press would face a new era of bans and censorship,” stated the alliance in a press release.
The alliance, known as AJI, stated that the draft’s principle was to ban all internet providers from distributing illegal content and to require them to filer and block illegal content such as pornography and other content which was considered to be “violating decency.”
“The definition of illegal content poses dangers to the press, because there are no definitions about pornography and it could cause multiple interpretations,” AJI chairman Nezar Patria said.
Nezar said that there was nothing in the draft stating that the regulation would not be applicable to the press, even though the draft was contradictory to the Press Law.
“The journalism code of ethics is the only content regulation for press be it print, internet or broadcast,” Nezar said.
Meanwhile, a researcher with Imparsial said that the draft showed that the ministry was heading in the direction of becoming a New Order era censorship board.
“I think the Communication and Information Ministry would be like the Information Ministry during the New Order era,” Al Araf told Metro TV.
He said that multimedia regulation must also consider the public domain.
“The government must apply extra caution regarding the public domain and they must have strong reasons to apply such censorship,” he added.
Imparsial noted that the ministry under Tifatul Sembiring had issued two controversial drafts — the wiretapping draft and the multimedia content.
“The drafts did not have clear orientations and the ministry has a huge authority in both drafts. This is very orthodox and conservative,” he said.