Indonesia: Small Business Owner Wahyu Dwi Nugroho's Conviction Challenges Free Speech
Wahyu Dwi Nugroho commonly known as Wahyu, was accused of violating Indonesia's Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) Law due to a TikTok video he posted, related to prohibitions on shopping at stalls outside the influential Majlis Taklim Al Busyro neighborhood in mid-2022. The Majlis Taklim holds significant sway and boasts a substantial following in West Java and its neighboring areas. Therefore, to ensure Wahyu's rights are protected, his legal defense was provided by the Keadilan Bogor Raya Legal Aid Institute, with support from PAKU ITE, a collective of ITE Law victims formed by SAFENet, a member of the ASEAN Regional Coalition to #StopDigitalDictatorship.
In a disturbing turn of events, the scheduled verdict hearing for Wahyu took place on Thursday, August 10, 2023, at the South Jakarta District Court. Despite being detained since March 2023 and subsequently released on the evening of August 11, 2023, Wahyu was handed a 5-month jail sentence. This outcome has sparked concerns over the delivery of justice in his case.
The weaponization of the ITE Law strongly threatens democracy in Indonesia
Evidently, Wahyu’s case underscores the practice of criminalizing ordinary citizens under Article 28 (2) of the Indonesian ITE Law, which pertains to "hate speech." The situation highlights a domino effect, wherein the law's malleability is exploited to address a wide array of online disputes without accounting for existing power dynamics. Concurrently, this situation fosters fear and dissuasion among those seeking to voice their opinions within Indonesia's democratic landscape, particularly as the nation approaches the February 2024 election.
The plight of Wahyu and the misuse of the ITE Law underscore the necessity of safeguarding justice and democracy in Indonesia. Addressing these concerns through comprehensive legal revisions will not only rectify current injustices but also fortify the democratic principles that are crucial to the nation's progress.
#WeAreManushyan ♾️ Equal Human Beings
Our Call to Action
✊ Given these disconcerting developments, Manushya Foundation urges the Indonesian government to take immediate steps towards revising the ITE Law. It is imperative that the law's problematic sections are identified and rectified. The revised legislation should be crafted with precision, avoiding vague or ambiguous clauses that might cultivate legal uncertainty and erode public trust in the justice system.
We also stand in solidarity with Wahyu, and with all victims of the Indonesian ITE Law. We vehemently express deep concern over the decision made by the Panel of Judge at the South Jakarta District Court, Indonesia, regarding Wahyu’s case. The principle in safeguarding freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 28E (3) of the Constitution of Indonesian, and in the Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) appear to have been disregarded and violated. We call on the Indonesian authorities to stop weaponizing the law to censor any criticism, now!
SCMP, Is Indonesia's ‘elastic’ Cyber Law Wrecking Ordinary Lives, Destroying Small Businesses?, (July 15, 2023), available at: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/economics/article/3227681/indonesias-elastic-cyber-law-wrecking-ordinary-lives-destroying-small-businesses
SAFEnet: Putusan Bersalah Terhadap Kasus Wahyu Dwi Nugroho Tidak Tepat dan Mencederai Kebebasan Berekspresi, (August 11, 2023), available at: https://safenet.or.id/id/2023/08/pernyataan-sikap-safenet-kasus-wahyu/
HukumOnline.com, Undang-undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 11 Tahun 2008 Tentang Informasi dan Transaksi Elektronik (ITE Law), (accessed on August 16, 2023), available at: https://www.hukumonline.com/pusatdata/detail/v2/27912/undangundang-nomor-11-tahun-2008
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (accessed on August 16, 2023), available at: https://www.un.org/en/about-us/universal-declaration-of-human-rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, (accessed on August 16, 2023), available at: https://www.ohchr.org/en/instruments-mechanisms/instruments/international-covenant-civil-and-political-rights
#StopDigitalDictatorship #DemocracyNow #JusticeForWahyu #WhatsHappeningInIndonesia #StandForJustice #DemocracyDefenders #FreedomofExpression #CourageOn #KeepItOn #StandForJustice #SoutheastAsia #SaveFreeSpeech #FreedomofSpeech #PeopleOverProfit #DemocracyDigital #EqualHumanBeings
While you’re here, learn more about our work on Digital Rights in ASEAN, and in particular in Indonesia ⤵️
#StopDigitalDictatorship, Campaign in Southeast Asia to fight against rising digital dictatorship in the region
Joint Solidarity Statement: Indonesia: Stop Using Pegasus to Scare People into Silence, 22 July 2023
Highlights From Our #RightsCon2023 Session, 9 June 2023
Indonesia’s New Criminal Code Is a Massive Threat to Human Rights, 9 December 2022
Joint Statement: Global Coalition of NGOs: Repeal MR5 and its amendment MR10 in Indonesia, 4 July 2022
Joint Submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: The Right to Privacy in the Digital Age: Mass surveillance, Digital Contact-tracing, Social Media Monitoring, and Data Requests in Southeast Asia, June 2022
Joint Submission to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights: Human Rights Due Diligence, Tech Sector Responsibilities and Business Transparency, February 2022
Joint Solidarity Statement: Dear Indonesia: Wadas Villagers have the right to protest and to access the internet!, 14 February 2022
Joint Submission to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression: Freedom, Independence, Diversity of Media and the Safety of Journalists in Southeast Asia, January 2022
Joint Solidarity Statement: Indonesia Stop Abusing Cyberlaw and Criminal Defamation to Harass Human Rights Defenders Fatia Maulidiyanti and Haris Azhar and to Stop Them from Speaking Truth to Power, 21 September 2021
Joint Statement: Call on Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to Suspend the Implementation of Permenkominfo No 5/2020 (MR5/2020), 28 May 2021
Are We Free Online? - Digital Rights in Indonesia, 8 September 2020
#RightsCon2020 - Will democracy survive ‘national security’ in the digital space of Southeast Asia?, 23 July 2020