Jakarta – The Constitutional Court held a trial for the judicial review of article of insult in the Criminal Law Codes (KUHP). The Court was requested to annul the flexible articles that could be imposed to the press workers.

The third assembly trial led by the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Jimly Asshiddiqie and 7 other members in the Constitutional Court Building, West Medan Merdeka Street, Jakarta, Tueday (24/06/08)

The trial which was scheduled to hear the information from the government represented by the Revision Team for KUHP Draft expert witness froBill was attended by members of the Board of Press Bambang Harimurty and Tarman Azzam as related parties, expert witness from the General Chairman of Association of Independent Journalists (AJI), Heru Hendratmoko, witness Khoe Seng Seng and Lawyer Team for the appeal from the Press Legal Aid (LBH Pers)

Before, the Court examined the articles of insult in KUHP filed by Risang Bima Wijaya and Bersihar Lubis. Both Petitioners considered the criminal sanction regulated in Article 207, Article 310 paragraph 1 and 2, also Article 311 paragraph 1 had restricted the rights to issue an opinion guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution.

In the trial, member of the Board of Press, Leo batubara, disagreed with the revision of Act on KUHP conducted by the Government. He questioned why the KUHP recently consisted of 63 articles and most of them were considered to burden the people.

"The Articles of insult is to bond and secure the safety of the occupation ruling power. Actually, it had been turned as a Penal Code with 36 articles. However, at the moment, there are 63 articles that imprisoned the journalists and reporters. The imprisonment of journalists or people for expressing their views is actually holding down the democracy," explained Leo in his remarks to the Constitutional Justice Board.

According to Leo, since the Dutch colony, many press figures were sentenced to imprisonment with the accusation of insult or slender according to article 207 and article 310 of KUHP. That was similar in this reformation era, many reporters and journalists as the result of giving information to public.

"It seems like the government still loves the Act product made by the Dutch, as it is loved by the Revision Team of the KUHP Draft Bill. Those articles may disable the expression of views, democracy, the control of press and the freedom of press. It absolutely violates people’s constitution, the 1945 Constitution." He explained.

Meanwhile, the expert witness of General Chairman of AJI, Heru Hendratmoko, wished that the troubling articles for the press world could be reduced. The reason was that it could threaten the freedom in the democratic world.

Heru stated that these articles were a form of criminalization toward press. Actually before that, the freedom of press in Indonesia was better than other Asian countries.

"I once enjoyed this freedom of press, but in the last 10 years of reformation it has been going down, freefall to the worst rank of the other 150 countries," he added.

One of the reasons was the implementation of the rubber articles that could be the threat for the press. "This is subjective and it could be sentenced and brought before the court, like criminals. This is called the criminalization of press. The articles had imprisoned the activities and reporters in the New Order era and now," he emphasized.

Meanwhile, member of the Revision Team of KUHP Draft Bill denied the articles of insult and slender as a form of press criminalization. "About the press criminalization is not right. What exists is depenalization. That means there is no need of imprisonment crime. This is eliminated. In those articles what is not eliminated is the problem of the legal material object," he said.

This team had also discussed the possibility for the articles to be transferred into the penal case and no longer criminal case. However, the reality is that the people still had the customary laws, because it could be considered as fitna, especially in the context of the Moslems. Not to mention what was considered as siri law (shame) where in some areas there could be murder.

Muzakir emphasized that in the Draft Bill there was no single article with the spirit of killing or imprisoning certain profession. "If it involves one of the professions, it would be better to be against the law in the legal context like the ethic codes and standard of profession. This should be published to the people, so that they know them. If someone works according to the journalism and press standard, they will not be against the law," he said. (zal/aba)

Source www.detik.com (24 Juni 2008)

Photo courtesy of Constitutional Court PR Doc.

Translated by Yogi Djatnika (MKRI)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 | 09:42 WIB 280