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  • Writer's pictureManushya Foundation

Human Rights Defenders' freedom of expression must be respected offline and online!

#StopDigitalDictatorship ❌ Indonesian human rights defenders are being harassed for speaking Truth to power - online. Do we have freedom of expression on the Internet? Read more to find out ⤵️

🚨 It has been almost a month since the Indonesian police came knocking on the door of human rights defenders Haris Azhar and Fatia Maulidiyanti in an early morning "forced pick-up". The police allegedly wanted a statement on the defamation lawsuit filed by Minister Luhut Pandjaitan against them last year. However, both Haris and Fatia refused to follow the police and instead met up with their lawyers later that day.

⚠️ Minister Pandjaitan filed a police report on 22 September 2021, accusing Haris and Fatia of violating criminal defamation provisions (Article 310 (1) of the Penal Code), and the controversial Electronic Information and Transaction law (EIT Law). His move came after the human rights defenders had discussed the findings of a multi-stakeholder report revealing the alleged involvement of active and retired Indonesian army officials in the business operations of the gold mining sector.

❓ Why do we call this a digital dictatorship? Governments in the whole ASEAN region have been shifting their authoritarian and dictatorial practices into the digital sphere - censorship, right to privacy or right to access information. Perhaps the least respected freedom in the digital sphere is the freedom of expression. Laws have been weaponized against citizens and numerous individuals have been arbitrarily arrested or charged for engaging in online speech.

If you have the right to freely express yourself offline, why wouldn’t you have the same right online?

✊ We strongly condemn all actions of the Indonesian government in violating human rights defenders' digital rights. In the same way that first human rights and labour rights activists had the right to stand up in front of people and denounce harmful practices of the government and corporations, twenty-first-century human rights defenders must be able to freely speak out on the Internet! 🗣️

#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings

Join us in our call to make free and democratic space in the ASEAN region a reality! ✊

👉 Use #StopDigitalDictatorship to denounce authoritarian policies and laws in ASEAN countries

👉 Do you know anyone who is interested in digital rights in the ASEAN region? Put us in touch!

👉 Like and share this post! We need to stand by Haris and Fatia and keep them free!

🎨 Artwork by amazing Ivana Kurniawati


Tatang Guritno, Fatia dan Haris Azhar Dijemput Paksa Polisi, Kontras: Ada Dugaan Conflict of Interest, (18 January 2022),

Manushya Foundation, Joint Statement: Indonesia: Government should end the judicial harassment and immediately withdraw arbitrary charges against defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar, (23 September 2022), available at:


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