Film producers Mira Lesmana, Riri Riza, and Nia Dinata as well as actress Dian Sastrowardoyo and other film activists affiliated in the Indonesian Cinema Community (MFI) together visited the Constitutional Court (MK). (8/5). They were present not for film shooting activities but for studying the constitution.

At the office of the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court Prof. Dr. Jimly Asshiddiqie, S.H., Mira Lesmana explained that her community felt the need to learn more about the constitution as well as the citizens’ constitutional rights, particularly those related to the film industry.

Mira said that up to now the state (government) of Indonesia has not had any cultural strategy for defending Indonesian cultural values from the invasion of foreign culture. ”We are outranked by countries such as Korea, France, Thailand, or Australia which have already had cultural policy as a protection against the free trade operation sponsored by the WTO,” she explained.

Mira also added that one of the reasons is that Indonesian laws and regulations have been left behind, particularly regarding the film industry which are considered weak in supporting creativity and protecting the works of the Indonesian people. ”As Indonesian young generation, we are committed to improving the nation’s condition. However, we think that certain conditions need to be improved first before moving to other matters,” Dian Sastro added.

Riri Riza also added that their action of returning 31 Citra trophies was only a symbol of their seriousness in improving the Indonesian film industry. ”Our next move will be filing a petition for judicial review of the film law,” he said.

The Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court explained that he really appreciated the intention of the film activists affiliated in the MFI to learn about the constitution. As an opening to his explanation, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court recounted the historical background of judicial review of laws that was initiated by the Supreme Court of the United States of America in 1803 which has been continued up until now, with more than 75 percent of the member states of the United Nations, including Indonesia, having the Constitutional Courts.

Furthermore, Jimly explained that the Constitutional Court has the authority to act as the guard of the Constitution, to control the democracy, to interpret the Constitution, and also to protect the citizens’ constitutional rights. ”Although there is only one person, he also has the right to file for the judicial review of a law formulated by 550 members of the People’s Legislative Assembly, if it is considered to have impaired his constitutional rights. Justice is not measured by its quantity but by its quality,” he added.

Aside from the above, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court also explained that the Constitutional Court has the authority to hear at the first and final level, the decisions of which are final in conducting judicial review of laws against the Constitution, to decide upon disputes on the authority of state institutions, to decide dissolution of political parties, and to decide the dispute on the general election results, as well as to have the obligation in deciding upon the opinion of the People’s Representative Assembly regarding alleged violations by the President and/or the Vice President pursuant to the Constitution.

Finally, Jimly also invited all of the film activists to participate in building the culture of constitutional awareness for all the citizens, because at present, the state no longer can take the initiative in that effort since it may regarded as an the indoctrination effort. According to Jimly, constitutional mandates will be more effective through the media of cinema as it is said that 70 percent of public perception is built through the audiovisual media such as films or electronic cinema. “In fact Dian Sastro may act as the ambassador of this constitution,” he joked.

Whereas in response to the MFI’s intention to file a petition for judicial review of the film law, the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court explained that the Constitutional Court is not allowed to intervene in such matter for the sake of the independence of the Constitutional Justices. In that regard, Jimly only suggested the MFI’s activists to consult with lawyers. “Aside from judicial review, it would be a good idea if MFI also seeks legislative review to the People’s Legislative Assembly, because in addition to being people’s representatives, they also have the authority to formulate a particular law, “Jimly explained.

At the end of the meeting, Dian Sastro as MFI’s representative attached a pin bearing the words “I care for Indonesian film” to the Chief Justice of Constitutional Court. (Wiwik Budi Wasito)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 | 17:52 WIB 307