Journalists Revise Petition on Press Law
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Constitutional Justices Arief Hidayat (panel chair), Manahan M. P. Sitompul, and Daniel Yusmic P. Foekh opening the panel petition revision hearing of the judicial review of Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press, Tuesday (9/7/2021) in the plenary courtroom. Photo by Humas MK/Ifa.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021 | 20:41 WIB

JAKARTA, Public Relations—The Constitutional Court (MK) held another judicial review hearing of Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press on Tuesday, September 7, 2021 virtually. The Petitioners of the case No. 38/PUU-XIX/2021 are three journalists and chairs of press companies and organizations: Heintje Grontson Mandagie, Hans M. Kawengian, and Soegiharto Santoso

At the hearing chaired by Constitutional Justice Arief Hidayat, counsel Vincent Suriadinata conveyed the revisions following the justices’ advice at the preliminary hearing.

“We revised the Constitutional Court’s authority, by adding Article 24 paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution,” he explained.

Suriadinata added that the Petitioners had included their press pass and the press organization card. At the end of the posita, he added, it stresses that Article 15 paragraph (2) of the Press Law is unconstitutional and not legally binding insofar as not interpreted as “in forming regulations in the press by each press organization.”

“In addition, the Petitioners’ interpretation is that the involvement in the formation is binding for Article 11 paragraph (5), Your Honor, not legally binding insofar as not interpreted as “Presidential decrees are administrative in nature according to proposals or requests from press organizations, press companies, and journalists who are elected through a democratic press congress,” he explained.

Also read: Press Council’s Function in Drafting Regulations Called into Question

The Petitioners challenge the functions of the Press Council in drafting various press regulations as referred to in Article 15 paragraph (2) letter f and Article 15 paragraph (5) of Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press. They argue that the ambiguity of Article 15 paragraph (5) of the Press Law has harmed their constitutional rights. As owners of press companies and legal entities, they feel that their right to form an independent Press Council and to vote for and be elected as Press Council members democratically had been oppressed. In addition, they believe the provision has prevented them from appointing and inaugurating Press Council members.

The Petitioners organized a national press congress in 2019, in which its members were appointed. However, due to Article 15 paragraph (5) of the Press Law, the results of the congress were not responded by the president. Moreover, Article 15 paragraph (2) letter f of the Press Law must be reviewed because it had led to press organizations losing their right to formulate regulations in press. The Press Council interprets the a quo article that they have the authority to draft and stipulate regulations in press. Therefore, Article 15 paragraph (2) letter f of the Press Law contradicts Article 28, Article 28C paragraph (2), Article 28D paragraph (1), Article 28E paragraph (3), Article 28H paragraph (2), and Article 28I paragraph (2) of the 1945 Constitution insofar as not interpreted as “in forming regulations in the press by each press organization” as it limits the press organizations’ right to develop freedom of the press and uphold the basic values of democracy, promote the rule of law and human rights, respect diversity, exercise supervision, critique, provide corrections and recommendations on public matters, as well as fight for truth and justice.

Therefore, in their petitum, the Petitioners requested that the Court declare Article 15 paragraph (2) letter f of the Press Law unconstitutional and not legally binding insofar as not interpreted as “in forming regulations in press by each press organization.” They also requested that the Court declare Article 15 paragraph (5) of the Press Law unconstitutional insofar as not interpreted as “Presidential decrees are administrative in nature according to proposals or requests from press organizations, press companies, and journalists who are elected through a democratic press congress.”

Writer        : Utami Argawati
Editor        : Lulu Anjarsari P.
PR            : Andhini S. F.
Translator  : Yuniar Widiastuti (NL)

Translation uploaded on 9/8/2021 15:40 WIB

Disclaimer: The original version of the news is in Indonesian. In case of any differences between the English and the Indonesian versions, the Indonesian version will prevail.


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