Government Revokes Joint Decree on Radicalism of State Civil Apparatus
The government through 6 Ministers and 5 Heads of State Institutions recently issued a Joint Decree (SKB) on Handling Radicalism in the Framework of Strengthening National Insights in State Civil Apparatuses (ASN). This SKB regulates, among others, the formation of a Task Force (Satgas) and the types of violations committed by ASN (hate speech, hoaxes, and participation or implementation of contradictory activities). The government has also created a portal for ASN complaints that are deemed to have violated the types of violations regulated in the SKB.
IMPARSIAL views that the issuance of the SKB and the creation of a complaint portal for ASN is a form of excessive policy in dealing with the issue of radicalism among ASN. Instead of solving it, this step has the potential to create new problems that limit freedom of expression and the emergence of arbitrary actions against ASN. The existence of the ASN complaint portal also has the potential to become a political instrument of control over the ASN and is used as a contestation tool between fellow ASNs.
The excessive nature of this policy can be seen, among others, from the concept of hate speech in point 1 of the fifth part regarding the types of violations that are multi-interpretable, such as the unclear term "speech of hatred against Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Government". Because of the unclear boundaries, it can be interpreted subjectively to report ASN whose expressions are considered to violate these provisions.
In the laws and regulations in Indonesia, the prohibition of hate speech has actually been regulated in the Criminal Code, the ITE Law, and the Law on the Elimination of Discrimination. Apart from the existing criticism, all of the rules mentioned above are all intended to protect the person (individual). So that hate speech against Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, and the Government is not recognized in law.
In stating that someone is spreading hate speech or not, of course it must be proven in accordance with the provisions of applicable laws and regulations, namely through a fair judicial mechanism, not through state administration actions, especially based on online reports. Moreover, the task force (Satgas) or the Ministries do not have the authority to declare someone (in this context ASN) has committed hate speech and/or disseminated misleading news, because this is the authority of the judiciary.
IMPARSIAL considers that the massive spread of hate speech in public spaces, especially on social media, must be prevented and handled seriously. The spread of this speech does not only attack human dignity, but also has an impact on social diversity in society. However, it is important to emphasize that the government's efforts to prevent and handle hate speech, including those carried out by ASN, must adhere to the principles and standards of human rights, especially those related to the protection of freedom of expression.
To ensure the protection of freedom of expression, hate speech must be strictly defined (limitative). Referring to Article 20 paragraph 2 of the ICCPR, hate speech which is prohibited and at a certain level is handled through a legal process, is hate speech that has an element of invitation or incitement to commit acts of violence, discrimination and hostility to individuals or groups on the basis of ethnicity, religion, race, class, sexual orientation, etc.
IMPARSIAL is urging the government to revoke the Complaint Portal as well as the Joint Decree on Handling Radicalism in the Context of Strengthening National Insights in the State Civil Apparatus. Efforts to prevent and handle hate speech, including those involving ASN, must refer to existing legal rules and mechanisms.
Jakarta, November 26th, 2019
Gufron Mabruri (Vice Director of Imparsial)
Ardi Manto Adiputra (Imparsial's Coordinator of Research)
Anton Aliabbas (Imparsial Senior Research)
Hussein Ahmad (Imparsial Research)
Annisa Yudha (Imparsial Research)