Lawmakers Push for Amendment of Electronic Law

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta – Deputy chairman of the House of Representatives’ Communication and Information Commission, Ramadhan Pohan, says Law No. 11/2008 on electronic information and transactions (ITE) is counterproductive. He is urging organizations to demand an amendment of the law. 

\”Non-government organizations and organizations that advocate freedom of speech must immediately file a request,\” he said at the Senayan Parliament Complex on Wednesday. 

He said that lawsuits filed against persons for slander using the ITE law are now being used to silence the public. For example, he added, the cases that have befallen Benny Handoko and Muhammad Arsyad. These two men were charged with slander because they made their opinions known to the public through electronic media.  

Last Monday, the South Sulawesi police apprehended anti-corruption activist from the Radical Anti-Corruption Movement based in Makassar, Muhammad Arsyad, for slander against the South Sulawesi Golkar Party campaign team’s chair, Nurdin Halid. 

In a Blackberry Messenger status, Arsyad wrote, \”Do not fear Nurdin Halid, a corrupt threat!!! Don’t vote for the brother of a corruptor.\” The police said Arsyad had violated Articles 27 and 45 in the ITE Law. 

Benny Handoko, who uses the handler @benhan for his Twitter account, was also charged with the same violations as Arsyad. The man who actively tweets about political issues has been accused of libel against former lawmaker Muhammad Misbakhun, who was once charged of issuing a fictitious letter of credit at Bank Century. 

Ramadhan believes Article 27 Paragraph 3 is the most crucial regulation that must be revised. The article states that a person can charge another person with slander just because he feels insulted or degraded. The Information Commission, he added, does not want to start to amend this law without public support.