By : Ricki Martin Sidauruk, S.H

Fresh air came from President Joko Widodo who stated that he would revise Law Number 19 of 2016 concerning Amendments to Law Number 11 of 2008 concerning Information and Electronic Transactions (hereinafter abbreviated as UU ITE). This is because the essence of the law to protect the rights of everyone is lost because the ITE Law can not only ensnare criminals but can also ensnare victims of crime. In fact, it can ensnare even people who don’t mean anything bad (rubber article). Moreover, the rapid development of the digitalization era encourages someone to use social media not only as a means to share information for self-development but also as a means to criticize the government. However, the existence of the ITE Law certainly has the potential to threaten democratic civilization in Indonesia.


Freedom of expression and protection of human rights are the hallmarks of a democratic country—the Indonesian constitution has expressly guaranteed these rights. However, in reality, these rights (especially freedom of expression) are taken away by the ITE Law. People are increasingly afraid to express, express opinions, or criticize the government through social media because of the elastic nature of the ITE Law. For example, the provisions of Article 45A paragraph (2) of the ITE Law states that “Everyone intentionally and without rights disseminates information aimed at causing hatred or hostility to certain individuals and/or community groups based on ethnicity, religion, race, and inter-groups.” SARA) as referred to in Article 28 paragraph (2) shall be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of 6 (six) years and/or a maximum of Rp. 1,000,000,000.00 (one billion rupiahs).”, to the phrase “aimed at” which in my opinion the author does not have a clear benchmark. The question that arises in the mind of the author is, what if the actions of a qualified person violate the quo article but there is no consequence of the act? Should that person be punished? Of course, the application of such a law seems to be based on mere assumptions and is intertwined with the hegemony of power. Moreover, disseminating information is essentially everyone’s right guaranteed by the constitution (see Article 28F of the 1945 Constitution). The constitution should be able to bridge the relationship between the state and its people and destroy the strong fortress of separation between the two.


In the author’s opinion, revising the ITE Law is something urgent. Because the dignity of every law is for the fulfillment of human rights only, nothing else and nothing more than that. However, what happened to the ITE Law was just the opposite, which if left unchecked could kill democratic civilization in Indonesia, both now and in the future. Each of us certainly wants the freedom to express opinions and the protection of human rights is real and not a figment. Considering what the Deputy Speaker of the DPR (2014-2019 term of service) said, Fahri Hamzah, that Indonesia is still in the process of “transition” to democracy, we are not yet a fully democratic country.