Internet freedom in Indonesia declined due to an increase in disinformation and pro-government propaganda, as well as technical attacks targeting activists, journalists, and civil society. The government again restricted internet access during the coverage period; in August and September 2019, connectivity was limited amid protests in Papua and West Papua provinces. However, a court later ruled in support of civil society groups, declaring the restrictions unlawful. Meanwhile, critics of the government, journalists, and ordinary users continued to face criminal charges and harassment in retaliation for their online activity.
Indonesia has made impressive democratic gains since the fall of an authoritarian regime in 1998, establishing significant pluralism in politics and the media and undergoing multiple, peaceful transfers of power between parties. However, the country continues to struggle with challenges including systemic corruption, discrimination and violence against some marginalized groups, tensions related to the independence movement in the Papua region, and the politicized use of defamation and blasphemy laws.
- In August and September 2019, the government repeatedly restricted internet connectivity amid major protests in the Papua region. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) sued the government in November over the action, with the Jakarta State Administrative Court siding with the groups in June 2020 and declaring the restrictions unlawful (see A3 and B8).
- In January 2020, Reuters revealed that the military was operating and funding a network of 10 online news sites that publish pro-government propaganda and criticize government critics. Research also revealed the use of cybertroop teams and bot networks spreading disinformation, including around the 2019 protests in Papua and West Papua (see B5).
- Criminal charges were filed against journalists, activists, and ordinary members of the public. In March 2020, Mohamad Sadli, the editor in chief of liputanpersada.com, was sentenced to two years in prison over a critical opinion piece about a local government project (see C3).
- Intimidation and doxing of people for online activity continued. Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, reportedly received physical threats and had her personal information released for comments she posted about protests in the Papua region (see C7).
- More activists reported having their social media accounts hacked in 2020. In August 2020, after the coverage period, independent news outlets that criticized the government’s COVID-19 response reported facing distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and hacks that removed critical stories (see C8).
While smartphone use is widespread, connectivity is restricted by the country’s geography, consisting of 17,000 islands. Such disparities in access were underscored amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as students, workers, and other entities struggled to participate in online learning and work activities due to limited connectivity and electricity. Authorities continued to impose restrictions on connectivity during the coverage period, including amid protests in Papua and West Papua. Meanwhile, the impact of the 2018 restructuring of the Indonesia Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI), which gave the agency greater authority, remained undetermined.
|Do infrastructural limitations restrict access to the internet or the speed and quality of internet connections?||4.004 6.006|
Internet penetration is steadily increasing, driven largely by rapid growth in the number of mobile subscriptions. The low number of fixed-line subscribers stems from the lack of infrastructure, which limits coverage and keeps the price of monthly subscriptions high.
The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Inclusive Internet Index 2020 report ranks Indonesia 55 out of 100 countries surveyed in terms of availability, as determined by quality and breadth of available infrastructure.1 In 2020, the social media management platform HootSuite placed Indonesia’s internet penetration rate at 64 percent, or approximately 175.4 million people.2 Mobile phones remain the most popular means of access, with over 338 million subscriptions in 2020, an increase of 4.6 percent over 2019.3
The first internet exchange point, the Indonesia Internet Exchange, was created by the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association (APJII) to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to interconnect domestically. An independent internet exchange point, Open IXP, was launched in 2005.4
Government projects are underway to improve the internet infrastructure in Indonesia, especially in rural areas. 5 Although the main Palapa Ring project—a three-part network of broadband backbone infrastructure extending thousands of kilometers across the country—was completed in October 2019, funding constraints have limited the development of further infrastructure necessary to support the project.6 In order to more effectively provide high-speed internet across the country and attract telecommunication operators interested in renting the ring’s capacity, The Ministry of Communication and Information (MCIT) and service providers need to develop base transceiver stations (BTS), and the government needs to integrate the three parts of the Ring to overcome an interconnection issue while leveraging its strategy to gain the interests of more telecommunication operators to rent the capacity of Palapa Ring.7
To further expedite the provision of access to high-speed internet, the Telecommunication and Information Accessibility Agency (BAKTI) of the MCIT plans to rent five satellites.8 The Nusantara Satu satellite launched in February 2019 and commenced operations that April.9 The four other satellites are expected to launch between 2020 and 2023, but funding constraints, including financial challenges during COVID-19, may limit that goal.10 In addition to renting satellites, the government also began developing its own satellite, Satelit Indonesia Raya (SATRIA), in May 2019.
The impact of low internet penetration rates and poor infrastructure was exacerbated amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The limited availability of electricity and connectivity in more than 21,000 villages, or a quarter of all villages, in Indonesia has hindered online home learning activities for students in those areas.11
- 1“Availability Rankings,” The Inclusive Internet Index 2020, February 2020, https://theinclusiveinternet.eiu.com/explore/countries/ID/performance/i….
- 2Simon Kemp, “Digital 2020: Indonesia,” DataReportal, February 18, 2020, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-indonesia.
- 3Simon Kemp, “Digital 2020: Indonesia,” DataReportal, February 18, 2020. https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2020-indonesia.
- 4Robbie Mitchell, “IDSeries: An Open Exchange: History of Indonesia’s IXP,” APNIC, August 26, 2015, https://blog.apnic.net/2015/08/26/an-open-exchange-history-of-indonesia….
- 5Norman Harsono, “Nearly Complete Palapa Ring Key to Boosting Digital Economy,” Jakarta Post, January 28, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/01/28/nearly-complete-palapa-r….
- 6“Indonesia Completes Fiber-Optic Network to Bring Internet to Remote East,” Reuters, October 14, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-infrastructure/indonesia-c…; Fahmi Ahmad Burhan, “Kominfo Pessimistic RI Independence Signal This Year Even Though There Is a Palapa Ring,” katada.co.id, February 6, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/02/06/kominfo-pesimistis-ri-merdeka-…; Agus Tri Haryanto, “Indonesia Is Not Free for 2020 Signals Because the Government Is Not in Line,” detikinet, March 13, 2020, https://inet.detik.com/telecommunication/d-4937033/indonesia-tak-merdek….
- 7Akbar Evandio, “Additional Palapa Ring Development Meets Obstacles,” Bisnis.com, March 26, 2020, https://teknologi.bisnis.com/read/20200326/101/1218155/pembangunan-pala…; Leo Dwi Jatmiko, “Palapa Ring Project: Bakti Aims for New Tenants,” Bisni.com, December 30, 2019, https://teknologi.bisnis.com/read/20191230/101/1185573/proyek-palapa-ri….
- 8Monica Wareza, “There Is This Satellite; Remote Areas of the Republic of Indonesia Will Immediately Leave the 2G Internet,” CNBC Indonesia, February 24, 2019, https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/news/20190224171304-4-57321/ada-satelit-i….
- 9“Nusantara Satu Satellite Helps Reduce Gaps in Internet Access,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, February 22, 2019, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16606/satelit-nusantara-satu-b…; “Rudiantara Praises Ma’ruf on ‘Sky Toll’ to Help New Unicorns,” CNN Indonesia, January 3, 2019, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20190301193419-185-373901/rudian…; Agus Tri Haryanto, “BAKTI: First Rent, Then Work on a Multifunctional Satellite,” detikinit, January 25, 2019, https://inet.detik.com/telecommunication/d-4401037/bakti-sewa-dulu-baru….
- 10Fahmi Ahmad Burhan, “Kominfo Pessimistic RI Independence Signal This Year Even Though There Is a Palapa Ring,” katada.co.id, February 6, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/02/06/kominfo-pesimistis-ri-merdeka-…; Akbar Evandio, “Financial Closing Process Satri Satellite Back Floating,” Bisnis.com, May 15, 2020, https://teknologi.bisnis.com/read/20200515/101/1241128/proses-financial…-.
- 11Binsar Marulitua, “21 Thousand Villages Are Still Underdeveloped, Lack of Access to Electricity and Internet Is the Cause,” TrubusNews, June 14, 2020, https://news.trubus.id/baca/37144/21-ribu-desa-masih-berkategori-tertin…; “The Ministry of Education and Culture Is Still Thinking About Students Who Do Not Have Electricity,” CNN Indonesia, February 5, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200502140926-20-499407/kemdikbu…; Syarief Oebaidillah, “PGRI Asks the Government to Fix Electricity and Internet Structure,” Media Indonesia, May 21, 2020, https://mediaindonesia.com/read/detail/314940-pgri-minta-pemerintah-ben….
|Is access to the internet prohibitively expensive or beyond the reach of certain segments of the population for geographical, social, or other reasons?||1.001 3.003|
A persistent geographic digital divide continued in Indonesia during the coverage period.
Despite increasing penetration rates and improved infrastructure, connectivity remains highly concentrated in the western part of the archipelago, particularly on the more urbanized island of Java. The disparity is evident in the information and communication technology (ICT) development index issued by the National Bureau of Statistics, in which five eastern provinces received the lowest rankings in 2017.1
According to official 2018 statistics, 70 percent of internet users are in urban areas.2 In 2018, the APJII survey reported that internet users in Sulawesi, Papua, and Maluku accounted for just 10.9 percent of the country’s total. The MCIT has committed to allocating resources from the Universal Service Obligation Fund, which taxes ISPs in order to build internet infrastructure in rural and other underserved areas, to subsidize internet access in eastern Indonesia.3
Internet infrastructure projects could lessen the geographical digital divide (see A1). While the Palapa Ring project is intended to expand access,4 the persistent lack of connectivity in rural areas has prompted calls to build BTS and other internet infrastructure.5
Disparities in access also result from increased costs. Affordable prepaid packages in underserved areas, such as Papua, Nusa Tenggara, and the Maluku Islands,6 are less available than in more populous areas like Java, where the service provider Telkomsel has less of a monopoly. During the COVID-19 pandemic, students,7 parents,8 and lecturers9 from both underserved and populous areas of Indonesia experienced difficulty affording data plans to support online learning and working.
There is a slight gender divide in internet use.10 In 2017, according to the most recent data, women comprised 48.6 percent of internet users, up from 47.5 percent in 2016; 51.4 percent of internet users were men.
- 1“Official News Statistics - Development of Information and Communication Technology Development Index (IP-ICT),” Central Statistics Bureau, https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2020/01/13/682b7dcd25c8b1e36816e528/l….
- 2“Indonesia Telecommunication Statistics 2018,” Central Statistics Bureau, December 2, 2018, https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2019/12/02/6799f23db22e9bdcf52c8e03/s….
- 3“The Minister of Communication and Information Wants USO Funds to Subsidize Internet Tariffs,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, July 31, 2015, https://kominfo.go.id/index.php/content/detail/5252/Menkominfo-Ingin-Da…. The Universal Service Obligation Fund is made up of a small percentage of the total annual revenues of ICT companies operating in Indonesia. The fund is managed by a Commission on Badan Penyedia dan Pengelola Pembiayaan Telekomunikasi (BP3TI) [Telecommunication and Informatics Financing Provider and Management Center]. “The Ministry of Communication and Informatics Manage USO Funds of Rp 2.5 T,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, May 28, 2018, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/13182/kemen-kominfo-kelola-dana-us….
- 4“Palapa Ring Connect Indonesia with the Same Tariff Scheme,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, January 19, 2019, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/15972/palapa-ring-hubungkan-in….
- 5“Towards a More Digitized Indonesia,” EU-Indonesia Business Network, November 26, 2019, https://www.eibn.org/news/15/towards-a-more-digitized-indonesia.
- 6Maria Yuniar Ardhiati, “Telecommunication Business Monopoly Occurs Outside Java-Bali,” Katadata, June 20, 2016, https://katadata.co.id/opini/2016/06/20/monopoli-terjadi-di-luar-jawa-b….
- 7Sholahudin, “When Elementary to High School Students Study Online at a Coffee Shop,” okezone, July 22, 2020, https://www.okezone.com/tren/read/2020/07/22/620/2250159/ketika-siswa-s….
- 8“Preparation for New Normal Implementation: KPAI Convey Input and Considerations to the President,” KPAI, June 8, 2020, https://www.kpai.go.id/berita/persiapan-penerapan-new-normal-kpai-sampa…; Devira Prastiwi, “6 KPAI Responses Regarding Student Online Learning During the Covid-19 Pandemic,” Liputan 6, June 26, 2020, https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/4288968/6-tanggapan-kpai-terkait-pem….
- 9Rahel Narda Catherine, “The Chancellor’s Forum Asked the Government to Bear Internet Costs Related to Online College,” detiknews, July 4, 2020, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5079908/forum-rektor-minta-pemerintah-t…; Nur Azizah Rizki Astuti, “Expensive Internet Quota, This Is the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Step to Reduce Online Tuition Fees,” detiknews, July 9, 2020, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5086928/kuota-internet-mahal-ini-langka….
- 10Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII), “Results of the Indonesian Internet User Penetration and Behavior Study,” APJII, 2018, https://www.apjii.or.id/content/read/39/410/Hasil-Survei-Penetrasi-dan-….
|Does the government exercise technical or legal control over internet infrastructure for the purposes of restricting connectivity?||3.003 6.006|
The government ordered restrictions on connectivity and the blocking of social media and communication platforms during the coverage period. In October 2019, the Minister of Communications and Information announced that the government would continue to restrict social media during times of emergency.1
During protests in the Papua region in August 2019, which led to violence and the killing of several protesters, the internet was throttled for at least seven hours on August 19, 2019 and again beginning on August 21.2 The MCIT reported that restrictions would continue “until the situation in Papua returned to being conducive and normal;”3 restrictions were partially lifted on September 4, although many areas still experienced connectivity restrictions. The internet was reportedly restored in all areas by the end of September.4
In November 2019, several NGOs collaborating as The Press Freedom Defender Team sued the government over the restrictions.5 In June 2020, after the coverage period, the Jakarta State Administrative Court ruled that the government’s restrictions in Papua and West Papua violated the law.6 The court also ruled that the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) law should only be used to restrict online information or documents that are “unlawful,” and does not provide authority to terminate access in its entirety.
Since 2018, internet connectivity has been restricted during religious events in order to, among other things, “avoid and/or ward off hoaxes and negative content” online.7 In March 2018, connectivity was restricted for 24 hours in Bali as the island observed a Hindu holiday known as Nyepi, the “day of silence.” Authorities requested that major mobile service providers switch off internet service for the day, but outcry led the MCIT to intervene, and the service suspension was ultimately applied only to mobile connections provided by major telecommunications companies; fixed-line connections remained active.8 The Nyepi restrictions recurred in March 2019 and March 2020.9 Only entities that provide public services, such as hospitals and the police, were exempt from the suspension.10
Following the presidential and parliamentary elections in April 2019, during the previous coverage period, the government ordered ISPs to limit access to social media and communication platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp, between May 22 and May 24, ostensibly to prevent the spread of disinformation as postelection violence roiled the country.11
Most BTS and other components of the telecommunications infrastructure in Indonesia are built by private providers. Therefore, the distribution of BTS largely reflects the market dominance of the major players, led by Telkomsel, a subsidiary of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk—a majority state-owned company that dominates the telecommunications market and is heavily involved in infrastructure development. Internet infrastructure in Indonesia is otherwise decentralized, with several connections to the global internet.12
- 1“Indonesia to Censor Social Media During Emergency,” Jakarta Post, October 29, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/10/29/blocked-and-reported-ind….
- 2“Internet Disrupted in Papua, Indonesia Amid Protests and Calls for Independence,” Netblocks, August 21, 2019, https://netblocks.org/reports/internet-disrupted-in-papua-indonesia-ami…; Kate Lamb, “West Papua: Thousands Take to Streets After Week of Violence,” The Guardian, August 26, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/aug/26/west-papua-thousands-expe….
- 3“Blocking of Data Services in Papua and West Papua,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, August 28, 2019, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/20821/siaran-pers-no-155hmkomi….
- 4“Government Opens Internet Access in Wamena,” CNN Indonesia, September 28, 2019, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20190928171033-185-434996/pemeri….
- 5“The Press Freedom Team Sues Indonesia Government Over Internet Shutdown in Papua,” Safenet, November 21, 2019, https://safenet.or.id/2019/11/the-press-freedom-defender-team-sues-inte….
- 6“PTUN Jakarta Rules Internet Blocking in Papua and West Papua ‘Violates the Law,’” BBC News Indonesia, June 3, 2020, https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/majalah-52901391; “PTUN Jakarta Declares the Termination of Internet Access in Papua Unlawful,” Safenet, June 4, 2020, https://id.safenet.or.id/2020/06/rilis-pers-ptun-jakarta-menyatakan-pem…; Abdul Manan, “Jakarta State Administrative Court Rules Government Internet Shutdown in Jakarta Unlawful,” AJI (Alliance of Independent Journalists), June 4, 2020, https://aji.or.id/read/press-release/1078/jakarta-state-administrative-….
- 7“Cellular Operators Fully Support Nyepi Without Internet in Bali,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, June 3, 2019, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16920/operator-seluler-dukung-penu….
- 8“Smartphone Data Packages in Bali Are Confirmed to Die During Nyepi,” Kumparan, March 13, 2018, https://kumparan.com/kumparannews/paket-data-smartphone-di-bali-dipasti…; Kate Lamb, “Bali Switches Off Internet Services for 24 Hours for New Year 'Quiet Reflection,’” The Guardian, March 15, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/15/bali-switches-off-interne….
- 9“Bali Internet Shutdown for Nyepi to Go Ahead, ‘Vital’ Services Exempted,” Coconuts Bali, March 18, 2020, https://coconuts.co/bali/news/bali-internet-shutdown-for-nyepi-to-go-ah…; Associated Press, “No Flights or Internet During Bali's Sacred Day of Silence,” ABC News, March 6, 2019, https://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/wireStory/flights-internet-balis-sacre….
- 10“Cellular Operators Fully Support Nyepi Without Internet in Bali,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, June 3, 2019, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16920/operator-seluler-dukung-penu….
- 11Manish Singh and Jon Russell, “Indonesia Restricts WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram Usage Following Deadly Riots,” TechCrunch, May 22, 2019, https://techcrunch.com/2019/05/22/indonesia-restricts-whatsapp-and-inst….
- 12Dimas Jarot Bayu, “Slow Internet Even Though There Is a Palapa Ring, Jokowi Promises 4 Thousand New BTS,” Katadata, October 14, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/10/14/internet-lambat-meski-ada-pala…; Matthew Carrieri et al., “IGF 2013: An Overview of Indonesian Internet Infrastructure and Governance (Part 1 of 4),” Citizen Lab, October 25, 2013, https://citizenlab.org/2013/10/igf-2013-an-overview-of-indonesian-inter….
|Are there legal, regulatory, or economic obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers?||4.004 6.006|
Internet and mobile services are generally provided by large telecommunications companies, some of which are partially state owned. However, in recent years, opportunities for other entities to enter the market have grown.
In 2018, of the 740 telecommunications service licenses issued by the MCIT, 411 were ISP licenses.1 APJII has criticized the high costs associated with obtaining an ISP license under the Law on Post and Telecommunication.2
The fixed-line market remains at an early stage of development, with only 12 percent Indonesia’s 83,218 villages served by fixed broadband.3 The lack of existing infrastructure requires ISPs to invest heavily in development, so only major companies are able to compete. As a result, Telkom Indonesia has dominated this market.4
As the mobile market approaches saturation, four providers serve roughly 90 percent of subscribers.5 As of 2019, market leader Telkomsel, Telkom Indonesia’s mobile subsidiary, reported 168 million subscribers.6 Its closest rival, Indosat Ooredo, reported 86 million subscribers as of 2016.7 Telkom Indonesia and Indosat Ooredoo are 51 percent and 14 percent state owned, respectively.8
The Palapa Ring project (see A1 and A2) aims to bring more ISPs to rural areas, and the MCIT also promised to offer low rental tariffs for providers to utilize the Ring,9 but BTS and satellite funding issues and limited operator interest in renting Ring capacity could limit its effectiveness at increasing ISPs (see A1).
- 1Jasa Telekomunikasi, https://www.pelayananprimaditjenppi.go.id/layanan-informasi/data-penyel….
- 2Twelve ISPs were closed down by the government in 2012 after failing to produce the fee. In March 2015, the Indonesian Constitutional Court upheld the law. Denny Mahardy, “PNBP Lawsuit Rejected by MK, APJII Feel No Problem,” Liputan 6, March 19, 2015, https://www.liputan6.com/tekno/read/2193865/gugatan-pnbp-ditolak-mk-apj….
- 3“2019 Indonesia – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband – Statistics and Analyses,” Budde.com, April 20, 2020, https://www.budde.com.au/Research/2019-Indonesia-Telecoms-Mobile-and-Br…; Kominfo Annual Report 2018, Kominfo, November 9, 2019, https://web.kominfo.go.id/sites/default/files/LAPORAN%20TAHUNAN%20KOMIN….
- 4Dimas Jarot Bayu, “Slow Internet Even Though There Is a Palapa Ring, Jokowi Promises 4 Thousand New BTS,” Katadata, October 14, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/10/14/internet-lambat-meski-ada-pala…; “Smartfren Already Has a Fixed Telephone Principle Permit,” Indotelko, November 16, 2016, https://www.indotelko.com/read/1479258058/Smartfren-kantongi-izin-prins…. In 2016, a new license to offer fixed-line broadband service was given to Smartfren, which operates MyRepublic. Enricko Lukman, “Indonesian Conglomerate Invests $3.5 Million in Singapore Startup ISP MyRepublic,” Tech In Asia, May 21, 2014, https://www.techinasia.com/indonesia-sinar-mas-invests-35-million-singa….
- 5“Telecommunication Sector Indonesia: Saturated Mobile Phone Market,” Indonesia Investments, July 24, 2016, https://www.indonesia-investments.com/news/todays-headlines/telecommuni….
- 6Anders Bylund, “Telkom Indonesia Calls Up 5.5% Sales Growth Based on 6% Fewer Customers,” The Motley Fool, September 8, 2019, https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/09/08/telkom-indonesia-calls-up-55-….
- 7Anton Hermansyah, “Indosat Ooredoo Net Income Soars 184.4 percent,” JakartaPost, March 16, 2017, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2017/03/16/indosat-ooredoo-net-inco….
- 8“IGF 2013: An Overview of Indonesian Internet Infrastructure and Governance (Part 1 of 4),” Citizen Lab, October 25, 2013, https://citizenlab.org/2013/10/igf-2013-an-overview-of-indonesian-inter…. Indosat rebranded as Indosat Ooredoo in 2015. Asia Pte. Ltd. holds 65 percent of shares. “Indosat Ooredoo History,” https://indosatooredoo.com/en/about-indosat/company-profile/history.
- 9“Palapa Ring Discount Seduction Invite Operators to Remote Areas,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, January 25, 2019, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16033/rayuan-diskon-palapa-ring-aj….
|Do national regulatory bodies that oversee service providers and digital technology fail to operate in a free, fair, and independent manner?||2.002 4.004|
Concerns have been raised about the independence of regulatory bodies, including the BRTI.1
The Directorate General of Posts and Informatics Operations (PPI) and the Directorate General of Informatics Application (Aptika) oversee internet services under the MCIT. The PPI is responsible for regulating posts, telecommunications, and broadcasting. Its mandate includes supervising private telecommunications providers, regulating the allocation of frequencies for telecommunications and data communications, satellite orbits, and issuing ISP licenses. The MCIT restructured Aptika in 2018, reorganizing departments responsible for regulation, granting domain names for government websites, digital economy functions, and blocking and content removal.2
In 2003, a more independent regulator, the BRTI, was established to ensure fair competition among telecommunications providers, resolve industry conflicts, and develop standards for service quality. Since 2016, following the MCIT restructuring, MCIT officials have acted as both chair and vice chair of the BRTI.3 Otherwise, the composition of the BRTI in 2018 was fairly balanced, with a membership comprised of three government officials and six civil society representatives.4
As a result of the 2018 restructuring, BRTI’s authority was expanded to regulate not only infrastructure, but also issues relating to online platforms. Moreover, while BRTI previously lacked executive power and could only make recommendations—resulting in its failure to intervene in relevant fraud and corruption cases5 and limited effectiveness6 —it now has the power to issue decisions and resolutions.7 This new authority has already had an effect; since being given more power, the BRTI has more stringently enforced SIM card registration requirements (see C4).
- 1Badan Regulasi Telekomunikasi Indonesia, “Functions and Powers,” BRTI, March 29, 2010, https://web.archive.org/web/20111019201930/http://www.brti.or.id/fungsi….
- 2For information on the previous structure of MCI, particularly Aptika, see Ministry of Communications and Informatics, “Annual Report 2017,” July 2018, https://web.kominfo.go.id/sites/default/files/KOMINFO_Laptah%202017_Fin…. For information on the new structure, see “Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Number 6 of 2018,” Kominfo, August 2018, https://jdih.kominfo.go.id/produk_hukum/view/id/611/t/peraturan+menteri…. For a summary of the new structure, see “The Ministry of Communication and Information Changes the Organizational Structure of the Directorate General of Aptika,” Antara News, September 3, 2018, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/744737/kemkominfo-ubah-struktur-organ….
- 3“Brief Explanation of BRTI,” BRTI, http://www.brti.or.id/index.php/tentang.
- 4Reska K. Nistanto, “Here Are the Names of the 2015-2018 BRTI Members,” Kompas, May 20, 2015, https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2015/05/20/1524468/Ini.Dia.Nama-nama.Angg….
- 5Examples include a high-profile case of SMS fraud involving the PT Colibri Network CEO and the vice director of Telkomsel Antara. “Ahok Encourages KPK to Investigate the Loss of Additional Contribution for the Reclamation Era of Foke,” GresNews, September 9, 2016, http://www.gresnews.com/berita/hukum/110123-kasus-pencurian-pulsa-mande….
- 6Amal Nur Ngazis and Agus Tri Haryanto, “Highlighted, Telecommunication Regulators Are Not Independent,” Viva.co.id, July 28, 2015, https://www.viva.co.id/digital/654377-disorot-regulator-telekomunikasi-….
- 7“Not Only Infrastructure, BRTI Also Manages the Platform,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, February 19, 2019, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16511/tak-hanya-infrastruktur-….
Authorities continued to block or force the removal of “negative content” online, flouting principles such as transparency and democratic oversight. After being blocked for four years by Telkom Group, Netflix was unblocked in July 2020 upon agreeing to comply with some content-related regulations. Content manipulation and disinformation continued to proliferate, often spread by paid commentators known as “buzzers” or bots. Worrisome reporting revealed that the military manages and funds a network of online news sites spreading pro-government content. Meanwhile, authorities undermined digital activism when they restricted connectivity amid protests in Papua and West Papua.
|Does the state block or filter, or compel service providers to block or filter, internet content?||3.003 6.006|
Online content is frequently blocked for violating laws or social norms. Blocked content has included LGBT+ sites, pornography, gambling, fraud, false information, hate speech, material deemed immoral, and criticism of Islam.
As of December 2019, the MCIT reported that a total of 1,203,948 websites containing “negative content” (which the government broadly defines as including pornography, defamation and slander, immorality, child abuse and violence, gambling, extortion, fraud, hoaxes and false information, and terrorism, among others) were blocked.1 Pornography remains the most commonly blocked category of content, with over 1,025,000 sites blocked in 2019.2 In other categories, 166,853 websites were blocked for gambling, 1,143 for copyright violation, and an estimated 1,500 for “terrorism”-related content.3 Another 841 websites were also blocked for offering fraudulent financial services.4 Authorities also target “hate speech,”5 though police have sometimes interpreted the term to include hostile expression against public officials as well as attacks on minority groups.6
Communications, social media, and streaming platforms have been blocked for negative content. In July 2018, the MCIT confirmed blocking eight domain name system (DNS) servers of the popular video-sharing platform TikTok due to “pornography, immorality, religious harassment, and others.”7 The platform was unblocked a week later after company leaders met with child protection officials and pledged to collaborate on removing negative content.8 In 2017, the MCIT blocked the LGBT+ dating app Grindr, and in January 2018, it blocked another gay dating app known as Blued.9
Between 2016 and July 2020, Netflix was inaccessible to Telkom Group’s customers, despite the absence of a formal blocking notification from the MCIT.10 The ministry did not intervene when Telkom first blocked Netflix in early 2016, agreeing with the company’s position that Netflix was operating illegally due to its lack of proper licensing, and that it was exposing users to violence and pornographic content prohibited by law. Netflix has remained available via other ISPs. In December 2019, new communication and information minister Johnny G. Plate stated that the MCIT could not intervene in Telkom’s decision to block Netflix because Telkom is a private company and it is a business to business issue.11 In January 2020, the Indonesian Consumers Protection Foundation urged the MCIT to force Netflix to remove negative content from its platform or be blocked.12 In July 2020, after the coverage period, Telkom unblocked Netflix after the platform agreed to fulfill some regulations, particularly regarding content and takedown requests.13
In December 2018, the MCIT unblocked Tumblr after the platform agreed to remove “adult content” from its platform (see B2).14 In March 2018, eight of Tumblr’s DNS servers were blocked for not complying with an antipornography law (see C2).15
In March 2020, people discovered that the online subtitling service subscene.com was reportedly blocked.16 The MCIT did not immediately publicize a reasoning for the block.
The MCIT has confirmed that it blocks websites it perceives to spread “false news,”17 after claiming that it discovered hundreds of online “hoaxes” that proliferated during the previous coverage period, including misinformation surrounding the candidates for the April 2019 elections.18 For example, one blocked website, kpkonline.com, took its domain name from the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) and allegedly shared false information.19 The MCIT has said it increased its measures to block hoaxes amid the COVID-19 pandemic.20
Two websites originally registered as election monitors, jurdil2019.org and jurdil2019.net, were blocked by ISPs in April 2019 at the request of the Election Oversight Body for allegedly lacking neutrality and reporting election results too quickly.21
Political content has also been subject to blocking. Academic and civil society researchers have found that numerous blogs and other sites carrying criticism of the government or Islam are blocked.22 Online news outlets and websites with information about the provinces of Papua and West Papua, where military forces have been accused of violently suppressing an independence movement, have been blocked in recent years.23
- 1Pernita Hestin Untari, “Kominfo Blocks More Than 1 Million Pornographic Sites,” Okezone, February 4, 2020, https://techno.okezone.com/read/2020/02/04/207/2163125/kominfo-blokir-1…; “Kominfo Blocks More Than 1 Million Pornographic Sites,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, February 5, 2020, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/24184/kominfo-blokir-1-juta-lebih-…; “Kominfo Has Blocked 1.8 Million Negative Content on the Intent as of December 2019,” Kontan.co.id, February 9, 2020, https://nasional.kontan.co.id/news/kominfo-telah-memblokir-18-juta-kont…; “Kominfo Block Promotion of Fake Bleach on Social Media,” CNN Indonesia, February 14, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20200214114940-185-474598/kominf….
- 2Arindra Meodia, “The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Blocked Nearly One Million Negative Sites Throughout 2018,” Antara News, December 21, 2018, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/780255/kementerian-kominfo-blokir-ham….
- 3Fadiyah Alaidrus, “Kominfo Block Around 1,500 Sites with Radicalism-Terrorism Contents,” tirto.id, August 10, 2019, https://tirto.id/kominfo-blokir-sekitar-1500-situs-berkonten-radikalism…; “Kominfo Blocks Thousands of Pirated Content in 2019,” Antara News, January 20, 2020, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/1244536/kominfo-blokir-ribuan-konten-….
- 4“The Ministry of Communication and Information Block Four Thousand Illegal Fintechs Throughout 2018-2019,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, January 10, 2020, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/23740/siaran-pers-no-06hmkominfo01….
- 5Sahrul Ramadan, “961,456 Social Media Accounts Blocked Throughout 2018,” JawaPos, March 21, 2019, https://www.jawapos.com/jpg-today/21/03/2019/961456-akun-medsos-dibloki….
- 6Budy Setiawan, “Spreader of Hate Speech Against the Chief of Police, Prisoners Arrested,” Kompas, May 27, 2019, https://regional.kompas.com/read/2019/05/27/23390571/sebar-ujaran-keben…; Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict (IPAC), “Indonesia and the Tech Giants vs Isis Supporters: Combating Violent Extremism Online,” July 27, 2018, http://file.understandingconflict.org/file/2018/07/IPAC_Report_48.pdf.
- 7Fatimah Kartini Bohang, “Tik Tok Is Blocked in Indonesia Because It Is Considered Negative for Children,” Kompas, March 7, 2018, https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2018/07/03/18503327/tik-tok-diblokir-di-i….
- 8Jeko I.R., “Once Blocked, Tik Tok Can Finally Be Opened Again,” Liputan 6, July 10, 2018, https://www.liputan6.com/tekno/read/3584775/sempat-diblokir-tik-tok-akh….
- 9“List of 'Victims' Blocking Kominfo Throughout 2018,” CNN Indonesia, December 26, 2018, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20181226001641-192-356335/daftar….
- 10Initially, Netflix was reported inaccessible by Telkomsel users in January 2016. Fadly Yanuar Iriansyah, “Why Only Telkom and Telkomsel Block Netflix?” Tech In Asia, January 27, 2016, https://id.techinasia.com/talk/kenapa-hanya-telkom-dan-telkomsel-yang-m…. While there was no official notification of blocking from the MCIT, the Minister appreciated Telkomsel for blocking the platform. Eko Wahyudi, “Telkom Reveals the Cause for Not Yet Unblocking Netflix Until Now,” Tempo.com, February 24, 2020; https://bisnis.tempo.co/read/1311632/telkom-ungkap-penyebab-belum-buka-…; Yoga Hastyadi Widiartanto, “Netflix Blocked by Telkom, Minister of Communication and Information Issues Regulations,” Kompas, January 27, 2016, https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2016/01/27/20040007/Netflix.Diblokir.Telk…. Until January 2019, the platform continued to be inaccessible for Telkomsel users. Amal Nur Ngazis, “IndiHome Can Access Netflix, Telkom: Block Stay Applies,” Viva, January 21, 2019, https://www.viva.co.id/digital/digilife/1113717-indihome-bisa-akses-net….
- 11Andrian Pratama Taher, “Reasons the Ministry of Communication and Informatics Can’t Intervene in Blocking Netflix,” tirto.id, December 26, 2019, https://tirto.id/alasan-kemenkominfo-tak-bisa-intervensi-soal-pemblokir….
- 12Agus Tri Haryanto, “Kominfo Urged to Remove Negative Content on Netflix,” January 16, 2020, https://inet.detik.com/law-and-policy/d-4861980/kominfo-didesak-copot-k…; “Kominfo Looks at Negative Content on Netflix Using the ITE Law,” CNN Indonesia, January 19, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20200119153634-185-466754/kominf….
- 13Bill Clinten, “Telkom IndiHome and Telkomsel Officially Unblock Netflix,” Kompas, July 7, 2020, https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2020/07/07/14190027/telkom-indihome-dan-t…; “Telkom Wants to Unblock Netflix on IndiHome and Telkomsel, These Are the Conditions,” Kumparan, June 6, 2020, https://kumparan.com/kumparantech/telkom-mau-buka-blokir-netflix-di-ind….
- 14Jon Russell, “Indonesia Unblocks Tumblr Following its Ban on Adult Content,” Tech Crunch, December 27, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/27/indonesia-unblocks-tumblr/.
- 15“Accept Tumblr’s Commitment, Kominfo Normalizes Access to 8 DNS,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, December 26, 2018, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/15762/siaran-pers-no-326hmkomi…; “Indonesia Blocks Online-Blogging Site Tumblr Over Porn,” The Straits Times, March 6, 2018, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/indonesia-blocks-online-blogg….
- 16“Subscene Blocked, These 4 Subtitle Sites Will Follow?” Kumparan, May 5, 2020, https://kumparan.com/berita-hari-ini/subscene-diblokir-4-situs-subtitle….
- 17“The Minister of Kominfo Affirms Site and Social Media Accounts of Hoax Spreaders Are Directly Blocked,” Fajar, November 11, 2018, https://fajar.co.id/2018/11/11/menkominfo-tegaskan-situs-dan-akun-medso….
- 18“During March 2019, Kominfo Identified 453 Hoaxes, Total Hoaxes Since August 2018 to 1,224,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, April 1, 2019, https://kominfo.go.id/index.php/content/detail/17629/siaran-pers-no-69h…; “62 Hoax Content Related to Pileg and Presidential Election,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, January 2, 2019, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/15820/siaran-pers-no-01hmkominfo01…; Agus Tri Haryanto, “Kominfo Findings: Hoaxes Most Circulated in April 2019,” detikInet, May 1, 2019, https://inet.detik.com/law-and-policy/d-4532214/temuan-kominfo-hoax-pal…; Francisca Christy Rosana, “Number of URL Hoaxes Doubled Towards the Constitutional Court Ruling,” Tempo, June 27, 2019, https://bisnis.tempo.co/read/1218665/jumlah-url-hoaks-meningkat-dua-kal….
- 19Dyah Dwi Astuti, “Kominfo Blocks the Site kpk-online.com,” Antara News, September 8, 2018, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/746713/kominfo-blokir-situs-kpk-onlin….
- 20“54 Hoax Information About Corona Virus Found, Ministry of Communication and Informatics Took Decisive Steps to Block Content,” Secretariat of Indonesia, February 3, 2020, https://setkab.go.id/ditemukan-54-informasi-hoaks-soal-virus-corona-kem….
- 21Abba Gabrillin, “Explanation of Kominfo About Blocking Two Sites ‘Jurdil2019,’” Kompas, April 21, 2019, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2019/04/21/13095521/penjelasan-kominfo…; “Bawaslu Called Jurdil 2019 Site Blocked Because It Is Not Neutral,” CNN Indonesia, April 23, 2019, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190423025628-32-388674/bawaslu-….
- 22The Net Monitor, “Indonesia 2017,” https://thenetmonitor.org/research/2017-global-internet-censorship/idn; Kay Yen Wong, Maria Xynou, Arturo Filastò, Khairil Yusof, and Tan Sze Ming, “The State of Internet Censorship in Indonesia,” Open Observatory of Network Interference, May 23, 2017, https://ooni.torproject.org/post/indonesia-internet-censorship/.
- 23“Blocking Five Sites in Papua, Indonesia Is Judged as Silencing the Mayan Expressions of the Papuan People,” Suara Papua, April 18, 2017, http://suarapapua.com/2017/04/18/blokir-lima-situs-di-papua-indonesia-d…; Reja Hidayat, “We Never Get Notification About Blocking,” Tirto, November 23, 2016, https://tirto.id/kami-tidak-pernah-mendapat-pemberitahuan-soal-pembloki….
|Do state or nonstate actors employ legal, administrative, or other means to force publishers, content hosts, or digital platforms to delete content?||2.002 4.004|
The government routinely requires platforms and content hosts to remove what it considers “negative” content posted by users. For example in August 2019, YouTube reportedly blocked a satirical video from being seen by Indonesian-based users about Papua on the request of Indonesian government.1
The MCIT issues requests to social media platforms to remove information the government refers to as hoaxes. During the COVID-19 outbreak, this included false information that Jokowi and former Jakarta governor Ahok were infected with the virus.2 The MCIT stated that it has also coordinated with digital platforms and the police to remove hoaxes related to COVID-19 (see C3).3 In 2018, the MCIT filed 8,903 requests with Facebook and Instagram to remove fraudulent content, while complaining that platforms do not comply quickly enough or adequately filter false information.4
The MCIT has demanded that some apps be removed entirely from app stores, or that certain pieces of content be blocked. In January 2020, the ministry announced that it had blocked 1,085 fintech-specific apps from the Google Playstore in 2019, and 1,356 similar apps from other app stores.5 The MCIT stated that in 2018 it blocked 2,334 pieces of content in 11 live chat apps, namely Bigo, Bigo Live, Cheez, Go Live, Gogo Live, Kwai Go, Live Me, Nonolive, Smule, TikTok, and Vigo, for negative content, that included vulgar clothing and dancing, tattoos, and pornography.6 In January 2019, chat app Bigo Live and the MCIT signed a joint agreement to use artificial intelligence (AI) to remove pornographic content;7 Bigo Live reported that it blocked 200,000 pieces of negative content between January 2017 and February 2019. In 2018, in response to an MCIT request, Google reportedly agreed to remove 73 apps with LGBT+ themes from its online store.8 Some of the platforms had previously been blocked by the MCIT.9
Platforms that do not remove banned content risk being blocked entirely. For example, Tumblr was blocked in March 2018 (see B1); it was subsequently unblocked in December after removing ”adult content.”10
Ordinary users have also removed content under pressure by the MCIT. In August 2019, local content creator Kimi Hime removed YouTube and Instagram content deemed obscene by the MCIT ahead of an expected meeting with agency officials.11
The growing pressure on companies to police content has resulted in censorship of political and social material, although the extent is difficult to assess. In February 2019, the Instagram account @alpantuni, which posted comics of LGBT+ Muslim people, became unavailable for several days; whether Instagram had complied with an MCIT removal request or the account was deactivated by the account owner remained unclear.12 In one documented example from 2016, the LINE messaging app removed emojis depicting LGBT+ themes from its Indonesian store at the MCIT’s request.13
Reuters reported that between 2018 and mid-2020 the Chinese company ByteDance censored content on its news aggregator BaBe app that expressed “negative” information about the Chinese government. According to some sources, moderators were directed to delete any content that mentioned “Tiananmen Square,” “Mao Zedong,” or tension between China and Indonesia.14
- 1Karina M. Tehusijarana, “Govt Gets YouTube to Block Satirical West Papua ‘Advertisement,” Jakarta Post, August 29, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/08/29/govt-gets-youtube-to-blo….
- 2“Tuesday Morning, Kominfo Detects 187 Hoaxes Related to Corona Virus,” Tribune News, March 10, 2020, https://www.tribunnews.com/nasional/2020/03/10/selasa-pagi-kominfo-dete…; Mochamad Zhacky, “Police Ensure to Investigate Kominfo Report on Hoaxes Regarding Corona Virus,” detiknews, March 10, 2020, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4932314/polisi-pastikan-usut-laporan-ko…; Cindy Mutia Annur, “Corona Cases Increase, Kominfo Block 250 Hoaxes & Develop Chatbot,” Katadata, March 18, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/03/18/kasus-corona-bertambah-kominfo….
- 3Shofi Ayudiana, “Kominfo Collaborates with a Global Platform to Block COVID-19 Hoax Content,” Antara News, April 8, 2020, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/1410838/kominfo-gandeng-platform-glob…; Cindy Mutia Annur, “Corona Hoax Reaches 196, Kominfo Pushes Twitter to Block Facebook,” Katadata, March 12, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/03/12/hoaks-corona-capai-196-kominfo….
- 4“Indonesia Slams Facebook, Instagram for 'Sluggish' Efforts in Filtering Content,” The Jakarta Post, March 1, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/03/01/indonesia-slams-facebook….
- 5“The Ministry of Communication and Information Block Four Thousand Illegal Fintechs Throughout 2018-2019,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, January 10, 2020, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/23740/siaran-pers-no-06hmkominfo01….
- 6“Ministry of Communication and Information Blocks 2,334 Negative Content in Live Chat Applications,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, February 6 2019, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16198/siaran-pers-no-31hmkomin….
- 7“Kominfo Appreciaties Bigo Live’s Step to Block 200 Thousand Negative Content,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, March 11, 2019, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/17030/siaran-pers-no-53hmkominfo03….
- 8Ed Davies and Cindy Silviana, “New Indonesia Web System Blocks More Than 70,000 'Negative' Sites,” Reuters, February 19, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-communications/new-indones…; Pingit Aria, “Asked by Kominfo, Google Blocks 14 LGBT Applications in the Play Store,” Katadata, January 29, 2018, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2018/01/29/atas-permintaan-kominfo-google….
- 9“List of 'Victims' Block Kominfo Throughout 2018,” CNN Indonesia, December 26, 2018, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20181226001641-192-356335/daftar….
- 10Jon Russell, “Indonesia Unblocks Tumblr Following its Ban on Adult Content,” Tech Crunch, December 27, 2018, https://techcrunch.com/2018/12/27/indonesia-unblocks-tumblr/.
- 11“Kominfo Considers the Kimi Hime Case to Be Finished,” Antara News, August 2, 2019, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/989948/kominfo-anggap-kasus-kimi-hime….
- 12“Where Did Alpantuni Go? Instagram Accused of Removing Gay Muslim Comic Strip,” The Jakarta Post, February 13, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/02/13/instagram-grants-indones…; “IG Fulfills Kominfo Requests to Close Gay Muslim Comic Accounts,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, February 13, 2019, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/16358/siaran-pers-no-38hmkomin…; Adi Renaldi, “Why Blocking Gay Muslim Comics on Instagram Is Pointless,” Vice, February 22, 2019, https://www.vice.com/en_asia/article/59xyk5/indonesian-gay-muslim-comic…; “Indonesia Slams Facebook, Instagram for 'Sluggish' Efforts in Filtering Content,” The Jakarta Post, March 1, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/03/01/indonesia-slams-facebook….
- 13Associated Press, “Indonesia Bans Gay Emoji and Stickers from Messaging Apps,” The Guardian, February 11, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/12/indonesia-bans-gay-emoji-…; Christine Franciska, “Line Remove 'LGBT sticker': Discriminating Self-censorship?” BBC News Indonesia, February 11, 2016, https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/majalah/2016/02/160211_trensosial_sticker….
- 14Fanny Potkin, “Exclusive: ByteDance Censored Anti-China Content in Indonesia Until mid-2020, Sources Say,” Reuters, August 13, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-tiktok-indonesia-exclusive/exclu….
|Do restrictions on the internet and digital content lack transparency, proportionality to the stated aims, or an independent appeals process?||1.001 4.004|
Laws and procedures regulating the government’s ability to restrict online content are largely not grounded in democratic principles.
Several government agencies are able to restrict online content under the ITE Law, provided that it is in the public interest and intended to maintain public order, without adequate transparency, oversight, and appeals processes (see C2).1 A separate statute provides a legal framework to block content considered pornographic,2 while a 2014 decree issued under the ITE Law expanded official powers to allow the blocking of negative content.3
Amendments to the ITE Law passed in 2016 further strengthened the legal foundation for blocking content.4 Under Article 40, the MCIT may now directly prevent access to online content, or order ISPs to do so.5 In 2017, a presidential decree established a new National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN), which previously operated under the Ministry of Politics, Law, and Security, but now falls under the president.6 The agency also has the authority to filter and monitor online content.7
Moreover, Article 26 of the ITE Law has implications for content removal by intermediaries. Article 26 established a “right to be forgotten” for Indonesian citizens, largely modelled on a 2014 decision by the EU Court of Justice. Electronic system providers, including search engines such as Google, can be required to delete irrelevant information about an individual on request, but only when supported by a court order. Further details were expected in subsequent regulations, as there are concerns that Article 26 could hamper the public’s right to information.8
The precursor of the ITE Law, MCIT Regulation No. 19 of 2014 on Control of Websites Containing Negative Content, set technical guidelines for blocking web content. However, it does not establish transparency and accountability in blocking procedures, which drew criticism from several civil society entities.9 This regulation had not yet been revised in accordance with the amended ITE Law by July 2020.10
Several initiatives introduced during the coverage period could impact governmental regulation of online content. In March 2020, the MCIT announced it was drafting a regulation under the ITE Law that would fine platforms, such as Facebook or Google, for false information on their platforms (see C2).11 Separately, in August 2019, a member of the Indonesia Broadcasting Commission (KPI) expressed the agency’s intention to monitor online content, including on streaming platforms like YouTube.12 As of the end of the coverage period, the law had been introduced and then retracted.13 Additionally, in May 2020, two private TV stations, iNews and RCTI, filed a judicial review of the Broadcasting Law to the Constitutional Court, alleging discriminatory treatment and requesting that the Court reformulate the law to incorporate competitor streaming platforms such as Netflix and YouTube.14
In January 2018, the MCIT launched “Cyber Drone 9,” a crawler system driven by AI tools that is designed to proactively detect content violations. It replaced the Trust+ system, which relied on a passive database.15 A specialized task force monitors the new system and reviews the material it flags for blocking; the blocking itself is still carried out by ISPs. Each ISP may employ its own software for blocking and thus may blacklist additional sites at its own discretion. This has increased the likelihood of arbitrary, inconsistent blocking, creating uncertainty for users seeking redress when content is wrongfully blocked.
In July 2020, the MCIT stated that it planned to purchase more sophisticated technology to block more categories of negative content and websites.16 This followed a January 2020 announcement that the MCIT is coordinating with 16 ministries and governmental institutions to “optimize” its response to negative content online.17
The government’s decision to block major social media platforms and websites is usually only announced through the MCIT’s official press briefings. The briefings do not include which platforms and websites are blocked, but provide the total number restricted. Four multi-stakeholder panels established by the MCIT to respond to public complaints about arbitrary and nontransparent blocking completed their terms in 2015 and were not renewed.18 The government’s decision to restrict access to social media and communication platforms following the 2019 elections was criticized by local civil society groups (see A3). For example, the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network urged the government to be more transparent and narrow the scope of its decisions, as opposed to arbitrarily determining that such restrictions are justified based on vaguely defined “national security” concerns.19
Concerns among civil society members have grown regarding the role of social media platforms in governing and removing online content.20 In February 2019, some media organizations proposed a bill that aims to address false information, hate speech, and violent propaganda on social media through a self-regulatory mechanism.21
- 1Oka Anantajaya, “Amendment to the Electronic Information and Transaction Law,” MKK Newsletter, February 2017, http://www.mkklaw.net/newsletter/2017_02_newsletter_en.pdf.
- 2Civil society and cultural groups challenged the law before the Constitutional Court in 2009 for its narrow and obscure definition of pornography and pornographic content, which includes LGBTQ+ content and folk traditions that expose the female form, such as the Jaipongan folk dance from West Java and Papuan traditional clothes; the Court upheld the law. Olivia Rondonuwu, “Indonesia’s Constitutional Court Defends Pornography Law,” Reuters, March 25, 2010, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-pornography/indonesias-con….
- 3Article 7(1), “Permenkominfo 19/2014,” https://jdih.kominfo.go.id/produk_hukum/view/id/215/t/peraturan+menteri….
- 4“Revised ITE Law Could Hamper Freedom of Expression: Researcher,” The Jakarta Post, October 31, 2016, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/10/31/revised-ite-law-could-ham….
- 5“Revised ITE Law could hamper freedom of expression: Researcher,” The Jakarta Post, October 31, 2016, http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/10/31/revised-ite-law-could-ham….
- 6Ihsanuddin, “Jokowi Signs the Presidential Decree, National Cyber Agency Directly Under the President,” Kompas, February 1, 2018, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2018/01/02/17103991/jokowi-teken-perpr…; “Presidential Regulation of the Republic of Indonesia Number 53 Year 2017 Concerning National Cyber and Crypto Agency,” JDIH, May 23, 2017, https://jdih.bssn.go.id/arsip-hukum/presidential-regulation-of-the-repu…; “Presidential Decree Number 133 of 2017 Concerning Amendments to Presidential Regulation Number 53 of 2017 Concerning the National Cyber and Crypto Agency,” JDIH, December 16, 2017, https://jdih.bssn.go.id/arsip-hukum/peraturan-presiden-nomor-133-tahun-….
- 7Badan Siber dan Sandi Negara, “Duties of BSSN,” BSSN, 2018, https://bssn.go.id/tugas-dan-fungsi-bssn/.
- 8“Electronic Information and Transactions Law Amended in Indonesia,” Baker McKenzie, November 8, 2016, https://web.archive.org/web/20170109171800/http://www.bakermckenzie.com…; “Kominfo Will Issue 'Right to Be Forgotten' Regulation,” CNN Indonesia, October, 31, 2018, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20181031200550-213-343043/kominf…; The Right to Deletion of Information in Indonesia, Jakarta: LBH Press, 2018, http://lbhpers.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/e-book-RTBF.pdf; Jens-Henrik Jeppesen, “EU Court: Privacy Rights Trump Free Expression and Access to Information,” Center for Democracy and Technology, May 14, 2014, https://cdt.org/blog/eu-court-privacy-rights-trump-free-expression-and-….
- 9“Negative Content Censorship on the Internet Cannot Be Refuted,” Indotelko, November 22, 2014, https://www.indotelko.com//read/1416628939/Sensor-Konten-Negatif-di-int….
- 10“Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Number 19 of 2014 Dated 17 July 2014,” JDIH, December 2, 2015, https://jdih.kominfo.go.id/produk_hukum/view/id/215/t/peraturan+menteri…; "Kominfo Will Revise the Rules for Content Censorship on the Internet,” Indotelko, July 21, 2017, https://www.indotelko.com/read/1500608255/kominfo-revisi-aturan-sensor; “Dear Kominfo, How Are You Doing with the Revision of Internet Censorship Regulations?” Indotelko, March 9, 2018, https://www.indotelko.com/read/1520560459/apa-kabar-revisi-aturan-sensor; Michael Reily, “Kominfo Responds to KPI Discourse Watch YouTube to Netflix,” Katadata, August 12, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/08/12/kominfo-tanggapi-wacana-kpi-aw….
- 11Cindy Mutia Annur, “Kominfo Prepares Rules, Spread Hoaxes Will be Fined Billions,” Katadata, February 3, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/02/03/kominfo-siapkan-aturan-sebar-h….
- 12“KPI Will Oversee YouTube Content to Netflix,” Antara News, August 5, 2019, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/994500/kpi-akan-awasi-konten-youtube-….
- 13Fadiyah Alaidrus, “KPI Cannot Monitor Netflix, YouTube, & FB as Long as There Are No Rules,” tirto.id, August 10, 2019, https://tirto.id/kpi-tak-bisa-awasi-netflix-youtube-fb-selama-belum-ada…; Irwan Syambudi, “The Minister of Communication and Information: The Legal Basis for Supervision of YouTube & Netflix Must Be Clear,” tirto.id, August 14, 2019, https://tirto.id/menkominfo-landasan-hukum-pengawasan-youtube-netflix-h…; Ahmad Budiman, “Supervision of Video on Demand Broadcast Services,” Research Center, Domestic Politics Sector, February 2020, https://berkas.dpr.go.id/puslit/files/info_singkat/Info%20Singkat-XII-3…; Emanuel Kure, “2020, Revision of the Broadcasting Law Is Targeted Completely,” Investor Daily Indonesia, November 27, 2019, https://investor.id/it-and-telecommunication/2020-revisi-uu-penyiaran-d…; “The Government and Parliament Revoked 16 Bills from the 2020 Priority Prolengas,” National Law Development Agency, July 2, 2020, https://bphn.go.id/news/2020070208435574/Pemerintah-dan-DPR-Cabut-16-RU….
- 14“Broadcasting Law Does Not Regulate Netflix-YouTube, iNews and RCTI Sues to MK,” Kumparan, May 30, 2020, https://kumparan.com/kumparannews/uu-penyiaran-tak-atur-netflix-youtube….
- 15Trust + website, https://trustpositif.kominfo.go.id/.
- 16Natisha Andarningtyas, “Kominfo Plans to Install Machines to Block Gambling Sites,” Antara News, July 13, 2020, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/1608038/kominfo-berencana-pasang-mesi….
- 17Fahmi Ahmad Burhan, “Receiving 430 Thousand Complaints for Negative Content in 2019, Kominfo Rely on the Task Force,” Katadata, January 9, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/01/09/terima-430-ribu-aduan-konten-n….
- 18For the decree that contains members of the four panels, see “List of Inventory of Decisions of the Minister of Comminfo,” JDIH, 2015, https://web.archive.org/web/20171123224835/https://jdih.kominfo.go.id/p….
- 19Agung Jatmiko, “Criticizing Restrictions on Social Media Access, SAFEnet Calls for Seven Demands,” Katadata, May 24, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/05/24/kritik-pembatasan-akses-media-….
- 20Interviews with several civil society entities.
- 21“Proposed Bill Aims to Control Negative Content on Social Media,” The Jakarta Post, February 24, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/02/23/proposed-bill-aims-to-co….
|Do online journalists, commentators, and ordinary users practice self-censorship?||2.002 4.004|
The government’s broad definition of negative content to be blocked or removed, coupled with increasing prosecutions for online activity, contribute to an environment of self-censorship among journalists and ordinary users alike.1 Increased online harassment, as well as technical attacks against journalists, activists, and online news outlets also contribute to this environment (see C7 and C8).
The government has increasingly targeted users who shared misinformation online, even if they did so unwittingly, which contributed further to self-censorship online (see C3).2 Authorities have also increasingly targeted online discourse that is critical of the government by labelling it hate speech, which could potentially limit the willingness of journalists and users to criticize the government online.3
- 1“Damar Juniarto, Executive Director of SAFEnet: Indonesia Stands for One Freedom of Expression,” Koran Tempo, June 20, 2020, https://koran.tempo.co/read/tamu/454348/damar-juniarto-direktur-eksekut…; Muhammad Hendartyo, “Attack on Papuan Public Discourse Deemed Threat Against Democracy,” Tempo, June 12, 2020, https://en.tempo.co/read/1352640/attack-on-papuan-public-discourse-deem….
- 2“Beware What You Share: Police Step Up War on Hoaxes,” The Jakarta Post, November 12, 2018, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/11/12/beware-what-you-share-po….
- 3Firman Imaduddin, “Hate Speechm,” Remotivi, February 9, 2018, http://www.remotivi.or.id/kupas/444/Ujaran-Kebencian; Abba Gabrillin, “During 2018, the Police Arrested 122 People Related to Hate Speech on Social Media,” Kompas, February 15, 2019, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2019/02/15/15471281/selama-2018-polisi…; Samantha Bradshaw and Philip N. Howard, “The Global Disinformation Order: 2019 Global Inventory of Organised Social Media Manipulation,” Oxford Internet Institute/University of Oxford, Computational Propaganda Research Project, September 26, 2019, https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/93/2019/09/CyberT….
|Are online sources of information controlled or manipulated by the government or other powerful actors to advance a particular political interest?||1.001 4.004|
Score Change: The score declined from 2 to 1 due to revelations that the military manages and funds a network of online news outlets spreading pro-government propaganda, as well as separate research uncovering the use of cybertroop teams and bots to spread manipulated information around protests and other moments of political tension.
Coordinated manipulation of online content by the government, its allies, and other political actors has distorted the information landscape. Manipulated content and disinformation, which has spread online since the 2014 presidential election, continues to proliferate, particularly during moments of political tension or emergencies such as elections, protests, and the COVID-19 pandemic.1
In January 2020, Reuters journalists discovered that the military was operating and funding a network of 10 online news sites that publish pro-government propaganda and criticize government critics and human rights advocates.2 Among their efforts was mobilizing support for the government’s response to the 2019 protests in the Papua region, including the state’s use of violence (see A3 and B8). In another example, Kitorangpapuanews.com, one of the sites associated with the network, accused a human rights investigator of creating a false report for a civil society group documenting the shooting of civilians amid clashes between police and Papuan separatists.3 Another story published fake quotes from a Papuan actor criticizing a Papuan journalist and activist.
Also during the coverage period, researchers at the BBC and Australian Strategic Policy Institute discovered a network of bots carrying out a campaign of pro-government propaganda in Papua across multiple social media platforms and websites. Researchers were able to trace the automated accounts back to InsightID, a Jakarta-based media company.4
Indonesia is known to have paid commenters called “buzzers.” A national think tank Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW) reported the government budgeted 90 billion rupiahs ($6 million) to hire buzzers to promote the government’s policies.5 A report from the Oxford Internet Institute released in September 2019 identified Indonesia as having cybertroop teams who manipulate information on Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp on behalf of political parties and private contractors.6 The report found evidence that such teams work to support preferred messaging, attack their opposition, and create division. The founder of Drone Emprit,7 a social network analytics company, also stated that buzzers contribute largely to trending topics on political issues, such as hashtags used during a popular student demonstration in September 2019.8
Around the April 2019 general elections, political actors exploited prevailing divisions and delegitimized the electoral process for political gain.9 Both presidential candidates reportedly hired online campaign strategists who mobilized buzzers and automated accounts to spread political propaganda.10 One buzzer led a team with 250 fake accounts on major social media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, and Twitter. Spam accounts on Twitter manipulated and amplified hashtags that benefited presidential candidates. For example, 25 percent of tweets with the hashtag #JokowiLagi (Jokowi Again) between March 10 and April 10 were from automated tools.11
Disinformation continued to proliferate after election day as well, as social media posts questioned the legitimacy of the vote.12 Allegations of election fraud that spread online fueled protests in May, which contributed to real-world violence that was used as a justification by authorities to restrict social media and communication platforms (see A3).13
The manipulation of online content in 2017 and 2018 centered largely around exploiting religious and ethnic tensions. The Muslim Cyber Army (MCA)14 used automated, fraudulent, or hacked accounts to spread socially divisive messages and disinformation to undermine the government. Saracen,15 a smaller network known for spreading fake news that exacerbates religious and ethnic divisions, was largely motivated by financial gain. Such content is often disguised to resemble news articles or manipulated to make the target appear to be attacking Islam.16
In response to the increase in manipulated content online, over 20 local media outlets and journalist associations launched a fact-checking initiative—Cekfakta—in May 2018.17 The website allows users to fact-check information circulated online and through social media, including messaging apps and group chats.
- 1Ary Hermawan, “Politics of Pandemics: How Online ‘Buzzers’ Infect Indonesia’s Democracy, Jeopardize Its Citizens,” The Jakarta Post, March 21, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2020/03/21/covid-19-doesnt-care…; Eve Warburton, “Indonesia: Polarization, Democratic Distress, and the Coronavirus,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 28, 2020, https://carnegieendowment.org/2020/04/28/indonesia-polarization-democra….
- 2Tom Allard and Jack Stubbs, “Indonesian Army Wields Internet ‘News’ as a Weapon in Papua,” Reuters, January 7, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-military-websites-insight/….
- 3Tom Allard and Jack Stubbs, “Indonesian Army Wields Internet ‘News’ as a Weapon in Papua,” Reuters, January 7, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-military-websites-insight/….
- 4Benjamin Strick and Famega Syavira, “Papua Unrest: Social Media Bots ‘Skewing the Narrative,’ ” BBC News, October 11, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49983667.
- 5“Government Digital Activities: Reviewing Social Media and Influencer Budgets,” Indonesia Corruption Watch, September 1, 2020, https://antikorupsi.org/index.php/en/article/government-digital-activit…; “Measuring Reasons for the Jokowi Government to Budget IDR 90 Billion for Buzzers,” VOI, August 21, 2020 https://voi.id/berita/11723/menakar-alasan-pemerintahan-jokowi-anggarka…
- 6Samantha Bradshaw and Philip N. Howard, “The Global Disinformation Order: 2019 Global Inventory of Organised Social Media Manipulation,” Oxford Internet Institute/University of Oxford, Computational Propaganda Research Project, September 26, 2019, https://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/cybertroops2019/.
- 7Vita Ayu Anggareni, “Drone Emprit Made by the Nation’s Children,” Good News from Indonesia, May 22, 2019, https://www.goodnewsfromindonesia.id/2019/05/22/drone-emprit-buatan-ana….
- 8“Revealed! It Turns Out that the Trending Topics on Twitter Are ‘Engineered’ by Buzzers, Oops!” Warta Economi, October 10, 2019, https://www.wartaekonomi.co.id/read250943/terungkap-ternyata-trending-t…; Hasbullah, “Presidential Special Staff Denies Palace Buzzer,” Times of Indonesia, October 6, 2019; https://www.timesindonesia.co.id/read/news/232055/staf-khusus-presiden-…; Shinta Maharani, “UGM Lecturer in Yogyakarta: Student Demonstration Is Not for Jokowi,” Tempo, September 26, 2019; https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1252514/dosen-ugm-yogyakarta-demo-mahasi….
- 9“The Hoax Footprint in Indonesia Has Increased Since the 2014 Presidential Election,” Kumparan, September 27, 2017, https://kumparan.com/@kumparannews/jejak-hoax-di-indonesia-yang-meningk….
- 10Fanny Potkin and Agustinus Beo Da Costa, “In Indonesia, Facebook and Twitter Are 'Buzzer' Battlegrounds as Elections Loom,” Reuters, March 12, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-election-socialmedia-insig….
- 11DFR Lab, “Social Media Spam Tactics in Indonesia,” Medium, April 16, 2019, https://medium.com/dfrlab/social-media-spam-tactics-in-indonesia-1fd0be….
- 12Kate Lamb, “Fake News Spikes in Indonesia Ahead of Elections,” The Guardian, March 19, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/20/fake-news-spikes-in-indon….
- 13R Antares P, “Chronology of the May 21-22, 2019 Demonstrations,” Tagar, May 31, 2019, https://www.tagar.id/kronologi-kerusuhan-demonstrasi-2123-mei-2019; Kate Lamb, “Fake News Spikes in Indonesia Ahead of Elections,” The Guardian, March 19, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/mar/20/fake-news-spikes-in-indon…; Netblocks, “Indonesia Blocks Social Media as Election Protests Escalate,” Netblocks, May 22, 2019, https://netblocks.org/reports/indonesia-blocks-social-media-as-election….
- 14Sheany, “‘Muslim Cyber Army’ More Harmful than Sarancen, Human Rights Group Says,” Jakarta Globe, March 2, 2018, https://jakartaglobe.id/news/muslim-cyber-army-more-harmful-than-sarace…; SAFEnet, “Monitoring the Muslim Cyber Army Activities,” SAFEnet, March 20, 2018, https://safenet.or.id/2018/03/monitoring-the-muslim-cyber-army-activiti… ; Kate Lamb, “Muslim Cyber Army: A 'Fake News' Operation Designed to Derail Indonesia's Leader,” The Guardian, March 13, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/13/muslim-cyber-army-a-fake-….
- 15“Saracen Case: Hate Messages and Hoaxes on Social Media Are 'Organized,'” BBC News Indonesia, August 23, 2017, https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/trensosial-41022914.
- 16“Jakarta Election: Christian Governor Concedes to Muslim Rival,” BBC News, April 19, 2017, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-39636974.
- 17Cekfakta website, https://cekfakta.com.
|Are there economic or regulatory constraints that negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online?||2.002 3.003|
Users do not face significant economic and regulatory barriers to publishing content online. However, financial sustainability concerns and registration requirements aimed at combatting fake news have created some constraints.
Journalists from the provinces of Papua and West Papua often face economic constraints.1 Toward the end of 2018, the news site West Papua Media announced that it was suspending operations because the outlet was unable to financially support the digital security of its journalists.2 The outlet has since commenced a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to resume operations.
In an attempt to combat fake news online, the Press Council, an independent body, created a barcode in 2017 designed to help readers identify reliable media outlets. To participate, outlets register with the council and undergo further online verification3 before being issued a bar code, which users can scan to view registration details. The initiative received mixed reactions from journalists.4 Some feared it could be used to marginalize unregistered outlets and noted that it benefited established institutions while potentially marginalizing newer competitors. Within weeks of the program’s introduction, 74 websites had been issued a bar code.5
- 1West Papuan journalists working online have described self-censoring to avoid persecution. International Press Institute, “Indonesia Urged to Address Press Freedom Violations in West Papua,” IFEX, December 15, 2016, https://www.ifex.org/indonesia/2016/12/15/press_west_papua/. Ad revenues that support media operations are frequently linked to powerful interests that could undermine independence. Pacific Freedom Forum, “Indonesia Urged to Fulfil Promises as Deadline Looms on Papua Press Blocks,” IFEX, February 13, 2017, https://www.ifex.org/indonesia/2017/02/13/papua_press_blocks/.
- 2“WestPapuaMedia Has Suspended Publishing, But We Can Be Back in 2019 with Your Help,” WestPapuaMedia, 2018, https://westpapuamedia.info.
- 3“Press Council Simplifies Media Verification,” Radar Lampung, February 12, 2019, https://radarlampung.co.id/2019/02/12/dewan-pers-permudah-verifikasi-me….
- 4Ade Irmansyah “Media Workers Alliance Rejects Barcodes Created by Press Council,” KBR, February 9, 2017, https://kbr.id/berita/02-2017/aliansi_pekerja_media_tolak__barcode_buat….
- 5Danang Firmanto, “Press Council: Verified Media Increases to 77,” Tempo, February 6, 2017, https://nasional.tempo.co/read/843570/dewan-pers-media-yang-terverifika….
|Does the online information landscape lack diversity?||3.003 4.004|
While Indonesia’s online information landscape remains diverse, concentrated ownership has restricted the variety of content in national and local media.
In 2019, approximately 47,000 media outlets operated online.1 However, the concentration of media ownership has undermined the diversity of viewpoints available to consumers. The owners of some major media outlets are actively involved in politics, contributing to increasingly partisan online news. At the local level, many online outlets have become extensions of certain political parties, hampering their credibility.
Social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram are now key sources of news, which has significantly eroded the market position of mainstream media.2 Indonesia also enjoys a thriving blogosphere. Members of the growing urban middle class are fervent users of social media and communication apps, and local blog and website hosting services are either free or inexpensive.
Tools to circumvent online censorship are largely accessible, and Indonesians are a global leader in the use of virtual private network (VPN) services.3 However, one test in 2017 found that three tools offering VPN services or anonymous browsing were subject to blocking.4
- 1“Of the 47 Thousand, Only 2,700 Online Media Have Been Verified by the Press Council,” Indonesian Cyber Media Association (AMSI), April 6, 2019, https://www.amsi.or.id/dari-47-ribu-baru-2-700-media-online-terverifika….
- 2There are 150 million active social media users, of which 130 million of them access social media via mobile phone. “Digital 2019: Indonesia,” DataReportal, January 31, 2019, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2019-indonesia. Moreover, according to APJII’s survey, 89 percent of users accessed chatting applications, while about 87 percent accessed social media, Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII), “Results of the 2017 Indonesian Internet User Penetration and Behavior Survey,” APJII, 2017, https://apjii.or.id/content/read/39/342/Hasil-Survei-Penetrasi-dan-Peri….
- 3Rob Marvin, “Breaking Down VPN Usage Around the World,” PC Mag, September 21, 2018, https://www.pcmag.com/news/363869/breaking-down-vpn-usage-around-the-wo…; Nadine Freischlad, “Indonesia is World Leader in VPN Use, Study Finds,” Tech in Asia, March 29, 2016, https://www.techinasia.com/indonesia-world-leader-vpn-usage.
- 4Kay Yen Wong, Maria Xynou, Arturo Filastò, Khairil Yusof, Tan Sze Ming, “The State of Internet Censorship in Indonesia,” Open Observatory of Network Interference, May 23, 2017, https://ooni.torproject.org/post/indonesia-internet-censorship/.
|Do conditions impede users’ ability to mobilize, form communities, and campaign, particularly on political and social issues?||4.004 6.006|
Platforms and websites used for mobilization were largely available during most of the coverage period. However, authorities restricted connectivity in August and September 2019 amid protests in Papua and West Papua, undermining users’ ability to organize and mobilize online (see C3). Online threats and harassment of protesters or others using the internet to organize also limits digital activism (see C7).
Despite restrictions on connectivity in Papua and West Papua, users across Indonesia amplified protesters’ messages online.1 A popular petition called for the government to restore internet access,2 while others crowdfunded in support of the demonstrations.3 The initiator of a crowdfunding effort, the musician and activist Ananda Badudu, was arrested in September 2019 for providing support to student demonstrations against a proposed criminal code known by its acronym, RKUHP. A petition to support his release obtained more than 50,000 signatures, and Badu was released after being questioned for five hours.4
Change.org is particularly popular in Indonesia, with more than 13 million users in 2019.5 In 2019 online petitions on Change.org mainly focused on issues related to democracy and anticorruption demands.6 Over 230,000 people signed a petition calling for President Joko Widodo to reject the RKUHP (see C2).7 Another online petition created in 2019 collected over 100,000 signatures rejecting the KPI’s intention to monitor content on digital platforms (see B3).8
During the previous coverage period, the authorities blocked social media platforms in May 2019, following the elections, limiting Indonesians’ ability to mobilize online. In 2019, a national coalition of musicians launched a successful online petition against a restrictive bill to regulate the music industry.9 Introduced in February 2019, the bill would have prohibited music that is deemed pornographic, blasphemous, or includes “negative influences from foreign cultures or those that demean human dignity.” The bill sparked criticism from thousands of Indonesian musicians for its potential to limit free expression, and the online petition against the bill garnered almost 270,000 signatures.10 Following protests, the parliament eventually dropped the bill.11
- 1Eka Santhika, “Student Action, Tapping of Fingers, on Social Media Turns Into Action,” CNN Indonesia, September 27, 2019, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20190927144155-185-434679/aksi-m…; “Social Media Era Student Demonstrations: Funny Posters, Public Fundraising, to STM Children,” BBC News Indonesia, September 26, 2019, https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/trensosial-49837790.
- 2“Indonesian Police Kill Separatist in Papua,” Reuters, August 23, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-papua/indonesian-police-ki….
- 3Riyan Rahmat Akbar, “Students Demonstrations, Protests on KPK Law Revision and Seven Pushes,” Tempo, October 2, 2019, https://grafis.tempo.co/read/1834/demonstrasi-mahasiswa-protes-revisi-u….
- 4Ariska Puspita Anngraini, “Ananda Badudu’s Lunge, from Raising Student Actions Funds to Being Caught While Sleeping,” Kompas, September 27, 2019, https://www.kompas.com/tren/read/2019/09/27/092841265/sepak-terjang-ana…; Ariska Puspita Anngraini, “The New Face of Democracy Behind Arrested Activist Support Petitions,” Kompas, September 27, 2019, https://www.kompas.com/tren/read/2019/09/27/165646165/wajah-demokrasi-b…; Sorta Tobing, “Amanda Badudu Is Finally Released, This Is the Chronology of His Arrest,” Katadata, September 27, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/09/27/ananda-badudu-akhirnya-dibebas….
- 5“The Most Popular Issues of Democracy and Anti-Corruption on Change.org in 2019,” Change.org, January 16, 2020, https://www.change.org/l/id/change-org-infografis2019.
- 6“The Most Popular Issues of Democracy and Anti-Corruption on Change.org in 2019,” Change.org, January 16, 2020, https://www.change.org/l/id/change-org-infografis2019.
- 7“Hundreds of Thousands of People Signed Petitions Asking Jokowi to Reject RKUHP,” CNN Indonesia, September 19, 2019, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20190919112731-12-431896/ratusan-….
- 8Mohammad Bernie, “Crowded Against KPI Who Wants to Watch Netflix and YouTube,” tirto.id, August 12, 2019, https://tirto.id/ramai-ramai-menentang-kpi-yang-ingin-mengawasi-netflix…; “Petition Against Supervision in Netflix, YouTube Submitted to KPI,” Tempo, August 14, 2019, https://en.tempo.co/read/1235864/petition-against-supervision-in-netfli….
- 9“Music Bill: No Need and Has Potential to Repress Musicians,”Change.org, 2019, https://www.change.org/p/saya-tolakruupermusikan-dpr-ri.
- 10Kate Lamb, “Indonesia Seeks to Ban Negative 'Foreign' Influences on Music,” The Guardian, February 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/04/indonesia-seeks-to-ban-ne…; Aisyah Llewellyn, “Indonesia Artists Slam Bill Banning 'Negative' Foreign Influences,” Al Jazeera, February 12, 2019, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/02/indonesia-artists-slam-bill-bann….
- 11“That's What I Don't Like: West Java Cracks Down on 'Adult' Foreign Pop,” Reuters, February 26, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-music/thats-what-i-dont-li…; Tim, “The Music Bill Was Officially Revoked from the DPR RI Prolegnas,” CNN Indonesia, June 17, 2019, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/hiburan/20190617184619-227-404004/ruu-perm….
Prosecutions under the ITE Law continued, and several individuals were convicted and received prison sentences. Harassment and intimidation for people’s online activities continued, notably including cases of journalists being doxed. Journalists, activists, and civil society faced increasing technical attacks. Moreover, the government announced a worrisome plan to roll out biometric SIM card registration in 2021, undermining people’s ability to use the internet anonymously.
|Do the constitution or other laws fail to protect rights such as freedom of expression, access to information, and press freedom, including on the internet, and are they enforced by a judiciary that lacks independence?||2.002 6.006|
Freedom of expression, including online, is nominally protected in the constitution and other laws, but the right is frequently curtailed in practice. The Law on Human Rights, which was adopted shortly after the 1998 transition to democracy, guarantees freedom of expression and other fundamental rights, protections that were strengthened by the Second Amendment of the constitution passed in 2000. The Third Amendment guarantees freedom of opinion.1 The constitution also includes the right to obtain information and communicate freely.2 These rights are further protected by various laws and regulations.3 Indonesia ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2005.4
However, the amended constitution included language allowing the state to limit rights based on political, security, moral, and religious considerations.5 This wording provides policymakers with ample room for interpretation.6 The limited respect for the legal framework guaranteeing freedom of expression is exemplified by the frequency of prosecutions for online activity, as well as disruptions to internet connectivity and social media platforms.
- 1Constitution of 1945,” Article 28E(3); “The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia of 1945,” UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org/education/edurights/media/docs/b1ba8608010ce0c489….
- 2Constitution of 1945, Articles 28F and 28G(1); “The Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia of 1945,” UNESCO, http://www.unesco.org/education/edurights/media/docs/b1ba8608010ce0c489….
- 3Among others, “Law No. 39 of 1999 on Human Rights,” “Law No. 14 of 2008 on Freedom of Information,” and “Law No. 40 of 1999 on the Press.”
- 4The ICCPR was ratified through Law No. 12/2005. However, to date the government has yet to review and reform laws to comply with the covenant’s human rights standards. “Ratification of 18 International Human Rights Treaties,” United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, https://indicators.ohchr.org/.
- 5“In exercising his/her right and freedom, every person must submit to the restrictions stipulated in laws and regulations with the sole purpose to guarantee the recognition of and the respect for other persons’ rights and freedom and to fulfill fair demand in accordance with the considerations of morality, religious values, security, and public order in a democratic society.” Article 28(J) of 1945 Constitution, as amended in 2000; http://www.unesco.org/education/edurights/media/docs/b1ba8608010ce0c489….
- 6In 2009, the Constitutional Court generally affirmed that human rights are subject to limits as long as the limits are provided for in the law. “Verdict Directory: Case Number 132,” Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, 2009, https://mkri.id/public/content/persidangan/putusan/putusan_sidang_132PU…. Other court decisions failed to narrow the definition of the broad considerations that provide for the state to introduce restrictions. “Verdict Directory: Decision Number 7,” Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, 2012, https://mkri.id/public/content/persidangan/putusan/putusan_sidang_7%20P…; “Verdict Directory: Decision Number 10-17-23,” Constitutional Court of the Republic of Indonesia, 2009, https://mkri.id/public/content/persidangan/putusan/putusan_sidang_Putus….
|Are there laws that assign criminal penalties or civil liability for online activities?||1.001 4.004|
A number of laws impose criminal and civil liability for online activities. Provisions of the 2008 ITE Law have been used repeatedly to prosecute Indonesians for online expression. The law’s penalties for criminal defamation, hate speech, and inciting violence online are harsh compared with those established by the penal code for similar offline offenses.1 In 2016, amendments to the ITE Law introduced a number of important changes.2 Article 27(3) formally expanded the scope of defamation to include content published unintentionally or by third parties, for instance through the tagging of Facebook posts with another user’s name. Private chat messages can also be considered violations, as only one recipient is necessary for the offense of “transmitting” defamatory content.
The article also includes a broad clause covering “all acts other than distributing and transmitting” that make the content accessible to others, which made more users vulnerable to prosecution. The maximum penalties for online defamation were lowered from six years in prison to four, and from a fine of 1 billion rupiahs ($64,000) to 750 million rupiahs ($48,000), but these penalties remained harsher than most offline defamation sentences and fell short of advocates’ demands for decriminalization of the offense.3 Separately, in March 2020, the MCIT announced it was drafting a regulation under the ITE Law that would levy fines of 1 billion rupiahs to users who create and distribute false information (see B3).4
During the coverage period, the parliament designated several bills as formal legislative priorities that could restrict internet freedom and online expression,5 including the RKUHP and an amended broadcasting bill (see B3). In September 2019, the RKUHP was finalized by a parliamentary task force. The controversial changes, which were widely criticized by civil society,6 the press,7 and ordinary users (see B8),8 would criminalize broad categories of online speech and curtail online press freedom.9 These include criminalizing insulting public authorities and institutions; writing, promoting, or broadcasting information about contraceptives or abortion; spreading or associating with communism; distributing false or inaccurate information; and defamation. The bill would also expand the 1965 Blasphemy Law to include six broad provisions of religion-related speech.10 The bill remained pending as of July 2020.11
In April 2020, the National Police issued a directive to provide guidelines aimed at limiting online hoaxes and fraudulent medical equipment sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, and allowing for charges under the criminal code. The directive also instructs police to target online activities that insult the president and government authorities under the ITE Law.12
Other laws infringe on user rights, and legal experts assert that they conflict with the constitution.13 The antipornography law introduced in 2008 contains a definition of pornography that can be loosely interpreted to ban many forms of artistic and cultural expression.14 The 2011 State Intelligence Law prescribes penalties of up to 10 years imprisonment and large fines for revealing or disseminating vaguely defined “state secrets.”15 Civil society groups challenged that law in the Constitutional Court, which rejected their petition in 2012.16 This legal framework provides authorities with a range of powers to penalize internet users, although they are not all regularly invoked in practice.
- 1“Kitab Undang-Undang Hukum Pidana” [Indonesia Penal Code], available at International Labor Organization, http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/ELECTRONIC/73932/105722/F-171178887/…
- 2“Response to the Revision of Information and Electronic Transaction Law (ITE Law): Five Crucial Issues in the ITE Law that Threaten Freedom of Expression in Indonesia,” Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, October 28, 2016, http://icjr.or.id/response-to-the-revision-of-information-and-electroni….
- 3Human Rights Watch, “Turning Critics Into Criminals: The Human Rights Consequences of Criminal Defamation Law in Indonesia,” May 3, 2010, https://www.hrw.org/report/2010/05/03/turning-critics-criminals/human-r….
- 4Cindy Mutia Annur, “Kominfo Prepares Rules, Spread Hoaxes Will Be Fined Billions,” Katadata, February 3, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/02/03/kominfo-siapkan-aturan-sebar-h….
- 5“Houses of Representatives of Republic of Indonesia,” http://www.dpr.go.id/uu/prolegnas-long-list; “Daftar 50 RUU yang Masuk Prolegnas Prioritas 2020,” CNN Indonesia, January 16, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20200116194051-32-466076/daftar-5…; Pemerintah dan DPR Cabut 16 RUU Dari Prolegnas Prioritas 2020,” Badan Pembinaan Hukum Nasional, July 2, 2020, https://bphn.go.id/news/2020070208435574/Pemerintah-dan-DPR-Cabut-16-RU…; “16 RUU Dicabut,” Republika, October 2, 2020, https://www.republika.id/posts/8157/16-ruu-dicabut.
- 6“About Us,” Aliansi Nasional, https://reformasikuhp.org/tentang-kami/.
- 7“Bukan Ditunda, Dewan Pers Minta RKUHP Dicabut,” Liputan 6, November 3, 2019, https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/4101726/bukan-ditunda-dewan-pers-min….
- 8“Presiden Jokowi, Jangan Setujui RKUHP di Sidang Paripurna DPR,” Change.org, 2019, https://www.change.org/p/presiden-jokowi-jangan-setujui-rkuhp-di-sidang….
- 9“Indonesia: Draft Criminal Code Disastrous for Rights,” Human Rights Watch, September 18, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/09/18/indonesia-draft-criminal-code-disas…; “RKUHP Explainer: All the Controversial Articles in Indonesia’s Criminal Code Overhaul,” Coconuts Jakarta, September 19, 2019, https://coconuts.co/bali/features/rkuhp-explainer-all-the-controversial….
- 10Andreas Harsono, “Indonesia to Expand Abusive Blasphemy Law,” Human Rights Watch, October 31, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/10/31/indonesia-expand-abusive-blasphemy-….
- 11“RKUHP dan RUU PAS Dibahas, DPR Klaim Hanya “Bongkar” Pasal Kontroversial,” Kompas, April 3, 2020, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2020/04/03/15395101/rkuhp-dan-ruu-pas-…; “DPR Kebut Lagi RKUHP, Kelompok Rentan Terancam Kian Terhimpit,” IDN Times, April 24, 2020, https://sulsel.idntimes.com/news/indonesia/ahmad-hidayat-alsair/dpr-keb…; “Komisi III Bahas Kelanjutan RUU KUHP dan Permasyarakatan,” Antara News, February 17, 2020, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/1301390/komisi-iii-bahas-kelanjutan-r….
- 12“Polri Terbitkan Aturan Khusus Soal Hoaks dan Penghinaan Presiden,” Media Indonesia, April 5, 2020, https://mediaindonesia.com/read/detail/301449-polri-terbitkan-aturan-kh…; “Indonesia Used Covid-19 to Silence Criticism of Government,” Reporters Without Borders, April 16, 2020, https://rsf.org/en/news/indonesia-used-covid-19-silence-criticism-gover…; Andita Rahma, “Coronavirus-Crackdown Aimed at Anti-President Smears, Hoaxes,” Tempo, April 6, 2020, https://en.tempo.co/read/1328272/coronavirus-crackdown-aimed-at-anti-pr….
- 13Wahyudi Djafar et al., “Elsam, Asesmen Terhadap Kebijakan Hak Asasi Manusia dalam Produk Legislasi dan Pelaksanaan Fungsi Pengawasan DPR RI” [Assessment of the Human Rights Policy in Legislation and the Implementation of Parliament Monitoring], Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy, 2008.
- 14In 2014, for example, an art installation in Yogyakarta was shut down for allegedly pornographic content. “Dianggap porno, patung akar setengah manusia dibongkar,” Merdeka, February 10, 2014, https://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/dianggap-porno-patung-akar-setengah-m….
- 15“THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA DRAFT LAW NUMBER 17 YEAR 2011 ON STATE INTELLIGENCE,” ICJ, 2011, https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Indonesia-intelligence-l….
- 16Nomor 7/PUU-X/2012, Demi Keadilan Berdasarkan Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa Mahkamah Konstitusi Republik Indonesia, https://mkri.id/public/content/persidangan/putusan/69_PUU-XVI_2018.pdf.
|Are individuals penalized for online activities?||2.002 6.006|
Users frequently face civil and criminal penalties for legitimate online activities. Revisions to the ITE Law passed in 2016 were designed to decrease the use of pretrial detention in online defamation cases. However, lengthy pretrial detentions continue to be documented, particularly in cases involving powerful complainants.
Safenet recorded at least 50 new cases under the ITE Law involving online expression from June 2019 to April 2020.1 As most cases are tried at the district court level, experts believe that the real number of prosecutions could be higher.
Online journalists were charged, detained, and convicted for their reporting during the coverage period. In March 2020, Mohamad Sadli, the editor in chief of liputanpersada.com, was convicted of hate speech and defamation and sentenced to two years in prison for a critical opinion piece about a local government road construction project.2 Muhammad Asrul, a journalist with Berita.news, was detained for 36 days starting in January 2020 after being arrested for alleged hate speech under Article 28 of the ITE Law for three news articles he produced about a corruption allegation involving the son of the Palopo mayor.3
In August 2020, after the coverage period, blogger and journalist Diantara Putra Sumedi was convicted of defamation and sentenced to three months in prison after being found guilty of violating Article 28 of the ITE Law.4 The charges stemmed from a story Diantara published on the blogging platform Banjar Hits about a land dispute between a palm oil company and the indigenous Dayak community. A source quoted in the article accused Diantara of exaggerating his comments.5
In April 2020, Saiful Mahdi was sentenced to three months in prison and fined after being found guilty under ITE Law Article 27(3) for criticizing on WhatsApp a recruitment process at Syiah Kuala University.6
In January 2020, freedom of religion and belief activist Sudarto was arrested for allegedly spreading hateful information. The arrest stemmed from Facebook posts alleging restrictions on Christmas services in West Sumatra. The case was still pending as of February 2020.7
A number of internet users were charged or detained due to posts discussing the protests in Papua and West Papua. Journalist and filmmaker Dandhy Dwi Laksono was temporarily detained and charged in September for tweets about Papua that allegedly violated the ITE law and spread information intended to incite hatred.8 That same month, human rights lawyer Veronica Koman was named a suspect for spreading “fake news,” incitement, and inflicting race-based and ethnic hatred for sharing information about the protest (see C7).9
Police have also cracked down on the circulation of disinformation, prosecuting not only the creators of the content but also those who unwittingly share it. From January to June 2020, the MCIT reported 104 people to the police for spreading false information about COVID-19. At least 17 of the suspects were detained, and an unknown number were convicted under various provisions of the ITE Law, the penal code, and the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Law.10
In April 2020, activist Ravio Patra was arrested and briefly detained for allegedly “broadcasting messages to instigate violence and/or spread hatred.” Civil society groups stated they believed he was framed by someone who hijacked his WhatsApp account to spread those messages (see C8).11
This wave of cases follows numerous controversial judicial proceedings during the previous coverage period. In March 2019 a user was issued a 10-month prison sentence and heavy fine for allegedly sending four WhatsApp messages critical of a textile company, although the accused held the messages were sent from a number that she no longer had access to.12 In January 2019, Papuan independence activist Augustinus Yolemal was sentenced to one year in prison after being convicted of “disseminating hostility against the state ideology” for posting a Facebook video of him and his son singing slogans calling for Papuan independence.13 In June 2018, journalist Muhammad Yusuf died in detention while awaiting trial for hate speech after he reported critically on a land dispute between farmers and a palm oil company owned by an influential local businessperson in South Kalimantan (see C7).14
- 1SAFEnet, “Daftar Kasus Netizen Indonesia Yang Terjerat UU ITE” (per January 2020), SAFEnet, https://id.safenet.or.id/daftarkasus/.
- 2“Jurnalis di Buton Tengah yang Dituduh Cemarkan Nama Bupati Divonis 2 Tahun Penjara,” Kompas, March 27, 2020, https://regional.kompas.com/read/2020/03/27/11364121/jurnalis-di-buton-…; “Release Sadil,” Change.org, 2020, https://www.change.org/p/bupati-buton-tengah-sulawesi-tenggara-bebaskan…; “Kasus Mohamad Sadli,” SAFEnet, February 1, 2020, https://id.safenet.or.id/2020/02/kasus-mohamad-sadli/.
- 3“Komite Desak Polda Sulsel Lepaskan Jurnalis Muhammad Asrul,” tirto.id, February 16, 2020, https://tirto.id/eznL https://tirto.id/komite-desak-polda-sulsel-lepaskan-jurnalis-muhammad-a…; “Journalist Safety Committee Condemns the Criminalization of Journalists with the ITE Law,” SAFEnet, February 18, 2020, https://id.safenet.or.id/2020/02/rilis-pers-komite-keselamatan-jurnalis….
- 4Erick Tanjung, “Di Hari Kermerdekaan, Jurnalis Diananta Putra Sumedi Resmi Bebas,” Suara.com, August 17, 2020, https://www.suara.com/news/2020/08/17/200540/di-hari-kermerdekaan-jurna….
- 5“Indonesian Journalist Held Since Early May on Criminal Defamation Charge,” Committee to Protect Journalists, June 9, 2020, https://cpj.org/2020/06/indonesian-journalist-held-since-early-may-on-c….
- 6“Pencemaran nama baik media sosial, dosen Unsyiah dipenjara tiga bulan,” Antara News, April 21, 2020, https://aceh.antaranews.com/berita/135364/pencemaran-nama-baik-media-so…; “Kasus Saiful Mahdi,” SAFEnet, December 19, 2019, https://id.safenet.or.id/2019/12/kasus-saiful-mahdi/; “SAFEnet Kirim Amicus Curiae Untuk Kasus Saiful Mahdi,” SAFEnet, February 11, 2010, https://id.safenet.or.id/2020/02/rilis-pers-safenet-kirim-amicus-curiae….
- 7“Komnas HAM Minta Proses Hukum terhadap Aktivis Sudarto Dihentikan,” Media Indonesia, January 8, 2020, https://mediaindonesia.com/read/detail/282141-komnas-ham-minta-proses-h…; “Constitutional Rights Defenders Network Condemns Sudarto's Arrest by the Regional Police of West Sumatra,” SAFEnet, January 8, 2020; https://id.safenet.or.id/2020/01/jaringan-pembela-hak-konstitusional-me…; “Kasus Sudarto,” SAFEnet, January 7, 2020, https://id.safenet.or.id/2020/01/kasus-sudarto/.
- 8“Represi di Tanah Papua: Blokir Internet, Doxing, dan Hukum Aktivis,” tirto.id, December 31, 2019, https://tirto.id/represi-di-tanah-papua-blokir-internet-doxing-dan-huku…; "Filmmaker Dandhy Laksono Named 'Hate Speech' Suspect for Tweeting About Clashes in Papua,” Jakarta Post, September 27, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/09/27/filmmaker-dandhy-laksono…; Stanley Widianto, “Indonesian Filmmaker Named Suspect After Sharing Posts on Papua,” Reuters, September 27, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-papua/indonesian-filmmaker….
- 9“Threats Against and Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Lawyer Veronica Koman,” Front Line Defenders, August 14, 2020, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-and-judicial…; Kate Lamb, “Outcry as Indonesia Seeks to Arrest Renowned West Papua Rights Lawyer,” The Guardian, September 4, 2019, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/sep/05/outcry-as-indonesia-seeks….
- 10“Sebar Hoaks Corona, Kominfo Sebut 17 Orang Ditahan Polisi,” CNN Indonesia, June 9, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20200609124102-185-511359/sebar-….
- 11Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, “Ravio Patra Released from Custody, Says Indonesian Legal Aid,” Tempo, April 24, 2020, https://en.tempo.co/read/1335118/ravio-patra-released-from-custody-says….
- 12Ahmad Faiz Ibnu Sani, “Ravio Patra Released from Custody, Says Indonesian Legal Aid,” Tempo, April 24, 2020, https://en.tempo.co/read/1335118/ravio-patra-released-from-custody-says…; “Indonesia: Prison for WhatsApp Messages,” Human Rights Watch, March 8, 2019, https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/08/indonesia-prison-whatsapp-messages#.
- 13“Crackdown Escalates on Peaceful Assembly In West Papua,” Civicus, October 2, 2018, https://monitor.civicus.org/newsfeed/2018/10/02/crackdown-escalates-pea…; “Sentenced to One Year in Prison for Posting FB Video,” Amnesty International, January 30, 2019, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/ASA2197602019ENGLISH.PDF.
- 14“CPJ Calls on Indonesia to Investigate Death of Detained Journalist,” Committee to Protect Journalists, June 26, 2018, https://cpj.org/2018/06/cpj-calls-on-indonesia-to-investigate-death-of-…; Michelle Winowatan, “Indonesian Reporter Dies in Police Custody,” Human Rights Watch, June 26, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/26/indonesian-reporter-dies-police-cus….
|Does the government place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption?||3.003 4.004|
There are some restrictions on anonymous communication, although it is not formally prohibited by law. Users can use encrypted services, although some MCIT statements and other regulations have revealed the government’s desire to gain backdoor access to encrypted communication and personal data.
Mobile phone users have nominally been required to register their phone numbers with the government by text message when they buy a phone since the MCIT introduced the requirement in 2005. This rule was widely ignored for years, but in 2017, the MCIT introduced a new regulation requiring SIM card users to register by submitting their national identity numbers and their family card registration numbers, thereby limiting anonymity.1 As of late February 2018, failure to comply with this requirement could lead to the temporary blocking of data services to the unregistered SIM cards. If users fail to register within 15 days of the block’s initiation, the SIM cards can be permanently blocked from any telecommunications services. In 2020, the government announced its plan to roll out the use of biometric data for SIM card registration in 2021.2
In June 2019, the MCIT announced its plan to require social media users to include their phone numbers when signing up for an account. Rudiantara, then minister of communications and information technology, reportedly corresponded with a large social media platform about this plan.3 Also in June, the MCIT reported that it was considering the regulation of VPN use through licenses.4 As of the end of the coverage period, there had been no further information about these plans.
- 1MCI regulation no. 14/2017 on the amendment of the Ministry of Communication and Information Regulation no. 12/2016 on registration of telecommunication service subscribers, https://web.kominfo.go.id/sites/default/files/users/4761/1505109064-PM_…. In Indonesia, each citizen is registered both through a national identity number and as a family unit through family card registration numbers. These are basic civic data to access most public services provided by the government.
- 2“Perbuahan Atas Peraturan Menteri Komunikasi Dan Informatika,” https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/news/20200210133711-8-136654/brtikolabora…; “Cegah Kasus Ilham Bintang Terulang, Registrasi SIM Card Bakal Pakai Biometrik,” Kompas, January 22, 2020, https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2020/01/22/18052477/cegah-kasus-ilham-bin….
- 3Roy Franedya, “Making a Social Media Account Will Have to Use a Cell Phone Number, Why?” CNBC Indonesia, June 19, 2019, https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/fintech/20190619001405-37-79202/bikin-aku….
- 4Bernhart Farras, “Protect Internet Users, Ministry of Communication and Information Review VPN Licensing,” CNBC Indonesia, June 12, 2019, https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/fintech/20190612135204-37-77882/lindungi-….
|Does state surveillance of internet activities infringe on users’ right to privacy?||2.002 6.006|
Government surveillance of online activities limits the right to privacy. Although this right is constitutionally guaranteed, there is no specific law stipulating its protection. Article 40 of Law No. 46/1999 on Post and Telecommunication prohibits the interception of information transmitted through any form of telecommunications.1 However, there are at least 10 other laws, including the ITE Law and 7 executive regulations, that allow certain government or law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance, including electronically.2 These include the Commission Eradication Commission (KPK),3 the National Narcoticgots Board, and the National Intelligence Service, among others. The laws do not clearly provide for the scope of interception, despite the fact that the Constitutional Court issued a decision in 2010 requiring that detailed interception procedures be regulated by law.4 The legal framework also fails to provide for judicial or parliamentary oversight of surveillance activity and remedies for those who allege abuse.
The 2016 amendments to the ITE Law revised some provisions governing interception in response to the Constitutional Court decision. The amendments introduced penalties for interception conducted outside the context of law enforcement, but indicated that further details concerning interception procedures would be addressed in future regulations.5
During the coverage period, the government announced its interest in passing legislation on surveillance and cybersecurity. The Surveillance Bill would authorize the use of wiretapping and various additional mechanisms to conduct monitoring. The Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) and civil society groups requested that parliament draft the law based on a human rights perspective.6 The Cybersecurity and Defense Bill, which was drafted and announced to the public in August 2019, includes concerning provisions that give the BSSN broad powers to mitigate online risks and respond to cyber threats, including by cutting data flows (see A3).7 Civil society expressed outcry regarding both process and content, and the bill was tabled in July 2019. 8
In May 2018, the parliament adopted amendments to the 2003 Eradication of Criminal Acts of Terrorism Law (CT Law) that give the authorities sweeping surveillance powers in the fight against terrorism, which is broadly defined under the legislation. Article 31 permits security officials to “intercept any conversation by telephone or other means of communication suspected of being used to prepare, plan, and commit a criminal act of terrorism.” Human Rights Watch and local civil society groups warned that the language could be interpreted to facilitate disproportionate surveillance that violates privacy rights.9
Authorities monitor social media platforms. In preparation for the 2019 elections, the MCIT created a “war room” in October 2018 that employed 70 engineers tasked with monitoring social media platforms in real time.10 The MCIT reported that it would “take action” if it found users violating the ITE Law. Previously, in January 2018, the BSSN reportedly began responding to cyber threats, which included a social media program (see B3).11
The use of spyware and other sophisticated surveillance tools has been linked to authorities. The Toronto-based group Citizen Lab reported in late 2015 that a number of government groups were “likely” using sophisticated FinFisher spyware, which collects data such as Skype audio, key logs, and screenshots.12 Swiss and British companies have also received licenses to export interception technology, particularly IMSI-catchers, to Indonesia.13 Additionally, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in October 2018 that Indonesian authorities purchased surveillance products from the Israeli-US company Verint to track LGBT+ rights activists and religious minorities.14
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Indonesia rolled out the contact-tracing app PeduliLindungi (Care Protect), which pulls location data from Bluetooth proximity tracking.15 Civil society groups urged the government to ensure the app is aligned with personal data protection principles and to expedite the enactment of a personal data protection law.16
- 1Andylala Waluyo, “Pemerintah Selidiki Telkomsel dan Indosat Terkait Isu Penyadapan,” Voice of America, February 19, 2014, https://www.voaindonesia.com/a/pemerintah-selidiki-telkomsel-dan-indosa….
- 2For a full list of the laws, see Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono and Erasmus A. T. Napitupulu, “Komentar Atas Pengaturan Penyadapan Dalam Rancangan,” KUHAP, ICJR, policy paper, October 2013, https://web.archive.org/web/20141220085634/http://kuhap.or.id/data/wp-c….
- 3With the issuance of Law 19/2019 on KPK to revise the previous Law 30/2002, the authority to grant surveillance/tapping operation is no longer with the KPK Chairman but under the Supervisory Board. This change limits the authority of the KPK Chairman to only an administrative function, which is considered as weakening the authority and independency of KPK to fight against corruption. The law was passed within 13 working days and with minimum to no public consultation and thus was widely opposed by the public. The law is undergoing judicial review at the Constitutional Court. “Revised KPK Law May Weaken Anti-Graft Body's Authority: Vice Chairman,” Jakarta Post, September 17, 2019, https://en.antaranews.com/news/132928/revised-kpk-law-may-weaken-anti-g…; “Constitutional Court Probes Why KPK Bill Got Speedy Treatment,” Jakarta Post, February 4, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/02/04/constitutional-court-pro….
- 4For the Constitutional Court decision, see Nomor 5/PUU-VIII/2010, https://mkri.id/public/content/persidangan/putusan/Putusan%20%205_PUU_V….
- 5“’Interception’ Using CCTV Under the 2016 Revision of the ITE Law,” HPRP Lawyers, 2017, https://web.archive.org/web/20170101010547/http://hprplawyers.com/inter….
- 6“Komnas HAM Minta DPR Pastikan Materi RUU Penyadapan Sesuai Prinsip HAM,” Merdeka, July 9, 2019, https://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/komnas-ham-minta-dpr-pastikan-materi-…; “Mengatur Ulang Penyadapan dalam Sistem Peradilan Pidana,” Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, January 31, 2020, http://icjr.or.id/mengatur-ulang-penyadapan-dalam-sistem-peradilan-pida….
- 7Damar Juniarto, “Catatan Kritis atas RUU Keamanan dan Ketahanan Siber,” Medium, September 19, 2019, https://medium.com/@DamarJuniarto/catatan-kritis-atas-ruu-keamanan-dan-…; “RUU Keamanan Dan Ketahanan Siber,” Elsam, 2019, https://elsam.or.id/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/OK-RUU-KKS-Problem-dalam…; “SAFEnet Criticism over Indonesia’s Cybersecurity Draft Bill,” SAFEnet, September 25, 2019, https://safenet.or.id/2019/09/safenet-criticism-over-indonesia-cybersec….
- 8“DPR Tunda Pengesahan RUU Keamanan dan Ketahanan Siber,” detiknews, September 27, 2019, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-4724504/dpr-tunda-pengesahan-ruu-keaman…; Damar Juniarto, “Catatan Kritis atas RUU Keamanan dan Ketahanan Siber,” Medium, September 19, 2019, https://medium.com/@DamarJuniarto/catatan-kritis-atas-ruu-keamanan-dan-…; “RUU Keamanan Dan Ketahanan Siber,” Elsam, 2019, https://elsam.or.id/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/OK-RUU-KKS-Problem-dalam…; “SAFEnet Criticism over Indonesia’s Cybersecurity Draft Bill,” SAFEnet, September 25, 2019, https://safenet.or.id/2019/09/safenet-criticism-over-indonesia-cybersec….
- 9“Letter on Indonesia’s New Counterterrorism Law,” Human Rights Watch, June 20, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/20/letter-indonesias-new-counterterror….
- 10Tassia Sipahutara and Karlis Salna, “Inside the Government-Run War Room Fighting Indonesian Fake News,” Bloomberg, October 24, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-24/inside-the-governmen….
- 11Resty Woro Yuniar, “Can Indonesia’s New Cybercrime Unit Win Its War on Fake News?” South China Morning Post, February 18, 2018, https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/geopolitics/article/2132683/can-indonesi….
- 12Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Adam Senft, Irene Poetranto, and Sarah McKune, “Pay No Attention to the Server Behind the Proxy,” Citizen Lab, October 15, 2015, https://citizenlab.ca/2015/10/mapping-finfishers-continuing-proliferati….
- 13“State of Privacy Indonesia,” Privacy International, January 26, 2019, https://privacyinternational.org/state-privacy/1003/state-privacy-indon…; Joseph Cox, “British Companies Are Selling Advanced Spy Tech to Authoritarian Regimes,” Vice, August 26, 2016, https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/4xaq4m/the-uk-companies-exporting-in….
- 14Hagar Shezaf and Jonathan Jacobson, “Revealed: Israel's Cyber-spy Industry Helps World Dictators Hunt Dissidents and Gays,” Haaretz, October 20, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-israel-s-cyber-sp….
- 15PeduliLindungi, https://pedulilindungi.id/#tentang.
- 16“Human Rights Groups Urge Privacy Protection in COVID-19 Contact Tracing Efforts,” Jakarta Post, July 1, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/07/01/human-rights-groups-urge…; Irene Poetranto and Sinta Dewi Rosadi, “Robust Personal Data Protection Critical in COVID-19 Fight," Jakarta Post, April 17, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/academia/2020/04/17/robust-personal-data….
|Are service providers and other technology companies required to aid the government in monitoring the communications of their users?||4.004 6.006|
Various regulations require companies to store user data in Indonesia. While a 2012 regulation mandated data localization rules, a revised version reduces the types of data that are required to be stored in the country.
A government regulation issued in 2000 requires telecommunications providers to retain records of customer usage for at least three months.1 Some companies have complied with law enforcement agencies’ requests for data.
Regulation No. 82 of 2012 Concerning Electronic System and Transaction Operation2 required electronic system providers that offer “public services” to build local data centers.3 A revised version of the law, Regulation No. 71 passed in October 2019,4 recategorized different types of data, meaning that only some forms of data would be subjected to data localization requirements.5 This would include information related to government administration, defense, and security, such as users’ national identification numbers and data from intelligence agencies.6 As of March 2020, the government was drafting a ministerial regulation on data centers to implement the change.7
Despite not mandating full data localization, some international companies are moving toward storing user data domestically. The MCIT requested that Google develop a data center integrated with the government’s system to ensure users’ data is located in Indonesia. Due to the potential of cloud computing business in Indonesia, Google and Amazon are reportedly ready to develop data centers in Jakarta.8
The October 2019 regulation also requires all digital platforms that operate in Indonesia to register their companies before October 2020.9
A 2016 MCIT regulation10 stated that personal data must be encrypted if it is stored in an electronic system. However, a 2016 MCIT circular stated that over-the-top providers must allow legal interception for law enforcement purposes, raising concerns about the security of encryption.11
- 1International Comparative Legal Guides, ICLG, http://www.iclg.co.uk/practice-areas/telecoms-media-and-internet-laws/t….
- 2“The Revision of PP PSTE Is in the Finalization Stage,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, July 24, 2018, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/13563/revisi-pp-pste-masuk-tahap-f….
- 3“Indonesia,” Linklaters LLP and Allens, July 2015, https://web.archive.org/web/20160405081116/https://clientsites.linklate…; “Regulation of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, Number 82 of 2012, Concerning Electronic System and Transaction Operation,” 2012, http://www.flevin.com/id/lgso/translations/JICA%20Mirror/english/4902_P…; “Indonesia May Force Web Giants to Build Local Data Centers,” Asia Sentinel, January 17, 2014, https://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-business/indonesia-web-giants-local-d…; Vanesha Manuturi and Basten Gokkon, “Web Giants to Build Data Centers in Indonesia?” Jakarta Globe, January 15, 2014, https://web.archive.org/web/20150827051118/http://jakartaglobe.beritasa…; Anupam Chander and Uyên P. Lê, “Data Nationalism,” Emory Law Journal 64, no. 3 (2015): 677-739, http://law.emory.edu/elj/_documents/volumes/64/3/articles/chander-le.pdf.
- 4Yuni Riadi, “Johnny Plate Bahas Isi Pasal 21 PP 71 2019,” Selular.ID, October 28, 2019, https://selular.id/2019/10/johnny-plate-bahas-isi-pasal-21-pp-71-2019/.
- 5“PP PSTE: Mandatory Registration List & Government Right to Disconnect,” CNN Indonesia, October 28, 2019, https://cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20191028102006-185-443409/pp-pste-wa….
- 6“The Revision of PP PSTE Is in the Finalization Stage,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, July 24, 2018, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/13563/revisi-pp-pste-masuk-tahap-f…; Irma Yunita, “Revision of PP No.82 and Its Impact on Indonesian’s Corporate,” Telkom Telstra, https://www.telkomtelstra.co.id/en/insights/blogs/482-revision-pp-no-82….
- 7Yudha Pratomo, “Peraturan Meneteri Kominfo tentang Data Center Jadi Pelengkap PP/71,2019,” Kompas, March 10, 2020, https://tekno.kompas.com/read/2020/03/10/17543337/peraturan-menteri-kom….
- 8“Google Cloud to Open First Data Center in Indonesia,” NNA Business News, March 9, 2020, https://english.nna.jp/articles/8022; Cindy Mutia Annur, “Pasar Indonesia Besar, Google Mau Turuti Aturan Integrasi Cloud,” Katadata, March 5, 2020, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2020/03/05/pasar-indonesia-besar-google-m…; Cindy Mutia Annur, “Menkominfo Minta Google Buat Pusat Data Terintegrasi Dengan Pemerintah,” Katadata, November 20, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/11/20/menkominfo-minta-google-buat-p….
- 9“PP 71/2019 (PSTE) Berlaku, Platform Akan Didenda Jika Membiarkan Konten Negatif,” Kominfo, November 6, 2019, https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2019/11/pp-71-2019-pste-berlaku-platform-a…; Cindy Mutia Annur, “Tak Ingin Diblokir Facebook Hingga WhatsApp Wajib Daftar ke Kominfo,” Katadata, November 5, 2019, https://katadata.co.id/berita/2019/11/05/tak-ingin-diblokir-facebook-hi….
- 10Article 15.2 of the MCI Regulation No. 20 of 2016 concerning Personal Data Protection in Electronic System.
- 11MCI Circular letter no 3/2016 article 5.5.7, 2016, https://web.kominfo.go.id/sites/default/files/users/3997/Surat%20Edaran…
|Are individuals subject to extralegal intimidation or physical violence by state authorities or any other actor in retribution for their online activities?||2.002 5.005|
Online journalists and users regularly face harassment and intimidation in retaliation for their online activities.
A number of journalists and activists have been subjected to intimidation, such as doxing and other forms of harassment (see C8) for publishing online content or participating in online discussions on social and political issues.1 A Detikcom journalist was doxed and received death threats via WhatsApp after publishing a news article in May 2020 that reported on President Jokowi’s plan to inaugurate a mall in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.2
Activists and journalists reporting on and talking about the protests and violence in Papua and West Papua faced intimidation. Human rights lawyer Veronica Koman, who is based in Australia, was reportedly harassed online, received threats of sexual violence and death, and had personal information released online following comments she posted about Papua.3 Authorities reportedly also considered blocking her bank account and allegedly began the process of revoking her passport.4 Other journalists were also doxed over their reporting on Papua, including Victor Mambo,5 a journalist with news site Jubi, and independent journalist Febriana Firdaus. Dandhy Dwi Laksono was also harassed on Twitter due to his comments about Papua (see C3).6
Two online journalists from Makassar Today and Inikata.com were beaten by police while they were covering the student protests in September 2019 against proposed changes to Indonesia’s corruption and criminal laws.7
Internet users in academic communities have also been targeted for their online activity. In May 2020, student organizers and participants at Gadjah Mada University (UGM) who attempted to facilitate an online discussion about presidential impeachment amid the COVID-19 pandemic received death threats, leading to the cancellation of the event.8 In June 2020, organizer and journalist Tantowi Anwari, a speaker at a University of Lampung online discussion titled “Racial Discrimination against Papua, #PapuansLivesMatter,” was doxed and subjected to online threats and harassment (see C8).9
In July 2018, during the previous coverage period, journalist Muhammad Yusuf of the local news site Kemajuan Rakyat, who was charged with defamation, died in detention (see C3).10 The National Commission on Human Rights concluded that his death was a result of the detention facility’s overcrowding and failure to provide proper healthcare and treatment to Yusuf after authorities were informed by his wife about his medical condition.11
- 1“A Digital Attack on the Implementation of Papuan Racism Discussions, a Real Threat of Democracy,” Kontras, June 12, 2020, https://kontras.org/2020/06/12/serangan-digital-terhadap-penyelenggaran…; Irham Duillah, “End of Year 2018 Notes: Journalists Overshadowed Persecution and Physical Violence,” Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, December 31, 2018, https://aji.or.id/read/press-release/887/catatan-akhir-tahun-2018-jurna…; Alliance of Independent Journalists, “From Our Member Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), Indonesia – 2018 Year-End Note: Persecution and Violence Threaten Journalists,” Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development, January 8, 2019, https://www.forum-asia.org/?p=27974.
- 2Naharin Ni'matun, “AJI Jakarta: Usut Doxing, Intimidasi, Ancaman Pembunuhan Jurnalis Detikcom,” Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), May 28, 2020, https://aji.or.id/read/berita/1072/aji-jakarta-usut-doxing-intimidasi-a….
- 3“Indonesian Human Rights Lawyer Koman Refuses to Be Cowed on Papua,” Reuters, October 22, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-papua-lawyer/indonesian-hu….
- 4“Indonesia Must Protect Rights of Veronica Koman and Others Reporting on Papua and West Papua Protests - UN Experts,” United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, September 16, 2019, https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24990…; “Threats Against and Judicial Harassment of Human Rights Lawyer Veronica Koman,” Front Line Defenders, 2020, https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/threats-against-and-judicial….
- 5Zakki Amali, "Jurnalis Jubi Victor Mambor Alami Doxing Terkait Papua," tirto.id, 23 August 2019, https://tirto.id/jurnalis-jubi-victor-mambor-alami-doxing-terkait-papua….
- 6Adi Briantika, "Represi di Tanah Papua: Blokir Internet, Doxing, dan Hukum Aktivis," December 31, 2019, https://tirto.id/represi-di-tanah-papua-blokir-internet-doxing-dan-huku…; “Filmmaker Dandhy Laksono Named 'Hate Speech' Suspect for Tweeting About Clashes in Papua,” Jakarta Post, September 27, 2019, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/09/27/filmmaker-dandhy-laksono….
- 7“Police Attack Indonesian Journalists Covering Protest in South Sulawesi,” Committee to Protect Journalists, September 25, 2019, https://cpj.org/2019/09/police-attack-indonesian-journalists-covering-p….
- 8Farouk Arnaz, “Discussion on Removing Presidents From Office in Yogyakarta Canceled Over Death Threats,” Jakarta Globe, June 1, 2020, https://jakartaglobe.id/news/discussion-on-removing-presidents-from-off…; Andrian Pratama Taher, "The Terror of FH UGM Discussion and the Fragility of Civil Rights and Freedoms," tirto.id, June 1, 2020, https://tirto.id/teror-diskusi-fh-ugm-dan-rapuhnya-hak-sipil-dan-kebeba….
- 9Egi Adyatama, “LBH Pers, SAFEnet Report Terror Cases to Komnas HAM,” Tempo, June 12, 2020, https://en.tempo.co/read/1352932/lbh-pers-safenet-report-terror-cases-t…; “A Digital Attack on the Implementation of Papuan Racism Discussions, a Real Threat of Democracy,” Kontras, June 12, 2020, https://kontras.org/2020/06/12/serangan-digital-terhadap-penyelenggaran…
- 10“CPJ Calls on Indonesia to Investigate Death of Detained Journalist,” Committee to Protect Journalists, June 26, 2018, https://cpj.org/2018/06/cpj-calls-on-indonesia-to-investigate-death-of-…; Michelle Winowatan, “Indonesian Reporter Dies in Police Custody,” Human Rights Watch, June 26, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/06/26/indonesian-reporter-dies-police-cus….
- 11“Komnas HAM Recommendations for the Death of Journalist M. Yusuf,” Indonesian National Human Rights Commission, July 30, 2018, https://www.komnasham.go.id/index.php/news/2018/7/30/575/rekomendasi-ko…; Samsudhuha Wildansyah, “Komnas HAM Finds Violations in the Case of Death of a Journalist in South Kalimantan,” detiknews, July 27, 2018, https://news.detik.com/berita/4136320/komnas-ham-temukan-pelanggaran-di….
|Are websites, governmental and private entities, service providers, or individual users subject to widespread hacking and other forms of cyberattack?||1.001 3.003|
Score Change: The score declined from 2 to 1 due to an increase in technical attacks against activists, journalists, and civil society groups during the coverage period.
Journalists, activists, civil society groups, and news outlets have been subjected to technical attacks in recent years. The websites of government entities and private companies also face hacks and data breaches.
Civil society groups argued that the WhatsApp account of activist Ravio Patra, who was detained for several days in April 2020 (see C3), was hijacked to spread hateful messages. Patra claimed he lost access to his WhatsApp account for the five-hour period in which messages were shared from the account; activists corroborated the claim, and sources at Facebook confirmed that Patra’s account was compromised.1 In May 2020, Koran Tempo chief editor Budi Setyarso reported that his Instagram account was hacked during his participation in an online discussion about the harassment and intimidation that led to the cancellation of UGM’s event on presidential impeachment (see C7).2
In June 2020, the organizers of a University of Lampung online discussion about racial discrimination in Papua (see C7) stated that their food delivery service accounts were hacked to place large orders and transfer the balance in their digital wallet to another account; their social media accounts were also made inaccessible.3 In August 2020, University of Indonesia professor Dr. Pandu Riono, who criticized Indonesia's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, stated that hackers posted photos to his Twitter feed of him and a woman they claimed to be his mistress.4
Websites are also subjected to technical attacks. In August 2020, after the coverage period, several media outlets that had hosted articles criticizing the government for mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic reported digital attacks, including DDoS attacks, digital defacement, and hacked servers.5 The news outlet Tempo, for example, reported digital vandalism of its website, while news site tirto.id claimed the erasure of seven articles from its website; two of the pieces discussed COVID-19-related actions by the state intelligence agency. Previous incidents include a February 2019 hack of the website of the collaborative fact-checking initiative Cekfakta after a debate between presidential candidates.6 The hackers defaced the site’s homepage and redirected traffic. In 2017, Suara Papua, a West Papua-based news site that has previously been blocked by the government, was subjected to a large-scale attack by automated accounts that overwhelmed the server and disabled the website.7
The BSSN reported more than 88 million cyberattacks between January and mid-April 2020.8 Data breaches are also frequent.9 For example, in May 2020 a Twitter account that had previously reported several breaches announced that the data of 2.3 million Indonesians had been exposed from the website of the General Elections Commission.10 In 2017, Indonesia experienced 205 million cyberattacks, including through the ransomware WannaCry, which was used to attack two major hospitals in Jakarta.11 The BSSN stated that 43 percent of cybersecurity attacks are directed at small- and medium-size enterprises.12
- 1“Indonesian Activist Held Over Messages Spreading 'Hatred', Rights Groups Say He Was Framed,” Reuters, April 28, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tech-indonesia-activist-idUSKCN225352.
- 2Andrian Pratama Taher, "Teror Diskusi FH UGM dan Rapuhnya Hak Sipil dan Kebebasan," tirto.id, June 1, 2020, https://tirto.id/teror-diskusi-fh-ugm-dan-rapuhnya-hak-sipil-dan-kebeba….
- 3Alfian Putra Abdi, “Di Balik Dugaan BIN Merecoki Diskusi Papua di Universitas Lampung,” tirto.id, June 14, 2020, https://tirto.id/di-balik-dugaan-bin-merecoki-diskusi-papua-di-universi….
- 4“Epidemiologist Pandu Riono's Twitter Account Hacked,” Jakarta Post, August 20, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/08/20/epidemiologist-pandu-rio….
- 5Kate Lamb and Stanley Widianto, “Digital Attacks Raise Fears Over Press Freedoms in Indonesia,” Reuters, August 24, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-media-hacking-idUSKBN25K14G.
- 6Fanny Potkin and Agustinus Beo Da Costa, “Fact-Checkers vs. Hoax Peddlers: A Fake News Battle Ahead of Indonesia’s Election,” Reuters, April 10, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-election-fakenews-insight/…; Annisa Ayu Artanti, “Hacked Website Hackfacta.com,” medcom.id, February 19, 2019, https://www.medcom.id/nasional/peristiwa/lKY6lrAN-situs-cekfakta-com-di….
- 7Interview with Arnold Belau, August 27, 2017.
- 8“Rekap Serangan Siber (Januari – April 2020),” BSSN, April 20, 2020, https://bssn.go.id/rekap-serangan-siber-januari-april-2020/.
- 9“Hacker Allegedly Breaches Govt Database on COVID-19 Test-Takers,” Jakarta Post, June 21, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/06/20/hacker-allegedly-breache…; Fanny Potkin, “Indonesia's Tokopedia Probes Alleged Data Leak of 91 Million Users,” Reuters, May 2, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-tokopedia-cyber/indonesias-tokopedia….
- 10“KPU Alleged Hacking Leaves 2.3 Million Personal Data Compromised,” Tempo, May 22, 2020, https://en.tempo.co/read/1345108/kpu-alleged-hacking-leaves-2-3-million….
- 11“Indonesia Warns of More Cyber Attack Havoc as Business Week Starts,” Reuters, May 14, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-cyber-attack-indonesia/indonesia-war….
- 12Abdul Muslim, “BSSN: 43% Serangan Siber Sasar UMKM,” Investor.id, December 25, 2019, https://investor.id/it-and-telecommunication/bssn-43-serangan-siber-sas….
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Global Freedom Score58 100 partly free
Internet Freedom Score49 100 partly free
Freedom in the World StatusPartly Free