Internet freedom remained under threat in Indonesia, though some conditions improved. Internet access in Papua was again disrupted, with some disruptions coinciding with events related to Papuan independence. Meanwhile, government critics, journalists, and ordinary users continued to face criminal charges and harassment in retaliation for their online activity. Journalists, news outlets, and think tanks faced more technical attacks for their online reporting. After the coverage period, authorities escalated their efforts to force technology companies to comply with a law that imposes takedown and registration requirements, briefly blocking some platforms.
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 minority groups, conflict in the Papua region, and the politicized use of defamation and blasphemy laws.
- Internet disruptions continued to occur in Papua and West Papua, often alongside government activities in the region (see A1 and A3).
- Protesters against a mine in the Central Java village of Wadas who used social media to coordinate experienced connectivity restrictions, and some were arrested (see A3 and B8).
- In October 2021, the Constitutional Court rejected a lawsuit against the use of Article 40 of the Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) Law to restrict internet access in Papua and West Papua amid protests in 2019 (see A3).
- A court sentenced YouTuber Muhammed Kece to 10 years’ imprisonment on false information charges in April 2022 over videos that authorities deemed blasphemous (see C3).
- Fewer internet users or physically attacked for their online activities than in previous years (see C7).
- The Indonesian government is suspected of buying spyware produced by Cytrox to surveil journalists and activists (see C5).
|Do infrastructural limitations restrict access to the internet or the speed and quality of internet connections?||3.003 6.006|
Internet penetration in Indonesia has steadily increased, driven largely by rapid growth in the number of mobile subscriptions. The country’s low number of fixed-line subscribers stems from the lack of infrastructure, which limits coverage and keeps the price of monthly subscriptions high.
In February 2022, DataReportal reported that Indonesia’s internet penetration rate was 73.7 percent of the total population, with the number of internet users in the country increasing by 2.1 million between 2021 and 2022.1 Mobile phones remain the most popular means for people to access the internet, with over 370.1 million subscriptions in 2022.2
Government projects are underway to improve Indonesia’s internet infrastructure, especially in rural areas. 3 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 base transceiver stations (BTS) necessary to support the project.4 As a result, the construction of 42,00 BTS, which was originally planned to be completed in March 2022, has been delayed to the end of 2022.5
Disruptions to submarine internet cables and other infrastructural issues are common. According to the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SAFEnet), at least 18 internet disruptions occurred in Papua in the first three months of 2022.6 Telecommunications providers attributed several brief disruptions, including in September 2021 and March 2022, to cable breaks.7 Other recorded internet disruptions were not acknowledged.8 SAFEnet research has found that infrastructure-related disruptions in Papua and West Papua are often reported when the government is conducting political, legal, and security activities in the region.9
- 1Simon Kemp, “Digital 2022: Indonesia,” DataReportal, February 15, 2021, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-indonesia.
- 2Simon Kemp, “Digital 2022: Indonesia,” DataReportal, February 15, 2021, https://datareportal.com/reports/digital-2022-indonesia.
- 3Norman 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….
- 4“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….; Akbar 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….
- 5“Budget Constraint BAKTI Kominfo 4G BTS Project in 3T Region Delayed,” West Papua Daily, April 25, 2022, https://westpapuadaily.com/budget-constraint-bakti-kominfo-4g-bts-proje….
- 6“Analisis Pelanggaran Hak-hak Digital Triwulan I 2022,” SAFENet, April 25, 2022, https://id.safenet.or.id/2022/04/analisis-pelanggaran-hak-hak-digital-t…. https://id.safenet.or.id/2022/04/analisis-pelanggaran-hak-hak-digital-t…
- 7“Sea cable problems caused disruptions to Telkom internet network,” Antara, September 20, 2021, https://en.antaranews.com/news/190029/sea-cable-problems-caused-disrupt…; Sebastian Moss, “Internet Outage in Indonesia Due to Submarine Cable Cut,” April 13, 2022, https://subtelforum.com/internet-outage-in-indonesia-due-to-submarine-c….
- 8See, for instance, CAIDA-IODA data: https://ioda.inetintel.cc.gatech.edu/asn/135377?from=1644296400&until=1…; https://ioda.inetintel.cc.gatech.edu/asn/4855?from=1643691600&until=164…; https://ioda.inetintel.cc.gatech.edu/region/1745?from=1643000400&until=…; https://ioda.inetintel.cc.gatech.edu/region/1745?from=1646283600&until=…
- 9Lapora tahunan Situasi Hak-Hak Digital di Indonesia, SAFEnet. 2022. https://id.safenet.or.id/2022/03/represi-digital-di-indonesia-masih-ter…
|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 geographic digital divide persists in Indonesia, with rural residents at a disadvantage.
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 the country’s five eastern provinces received the lowest rankings in 2019.1
In 2020, an Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII) survey found that internet users in the rural areas of Sulawesi, Papua, and Maluku accounted for just 10 percent of the country’s total internet users.2 The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) has committed to allocating resources from the Universal Service Obligation Fund, which taxes internet service providers (ISPs) in order to build internet infrastructure in rural and other underserved areas and subsidize internet access in eastern Indonesia.3
Some of the government’s internet infrastructure projects seek to lessen the geographical digital divide (see A1). However, though the Palapa Ring project intended to expand access, for example,4 the persistent lack of connectivity in rural areas despite the project’s completion has prompted calls for the implementation of BTS and other internet infrastructure.5 In March 2022, police temporarily halted BTS construction in parts of Papua after Papuan independence groups killed eight people working on the East Palapa Ring project.6 Kominfo indicated plans to continue development, including by working with residents in conflict areas.7 The limited availability of electricity and connectivity in more than 21,000 villages hindered online home learning activities for students in rural areas during the COVID-19 pandemic.8
Disparities in access also result from the high cost of internet subscription plans. Affordable prepaid packages are less available in underserved areas, such as Papua, Nusa Tenggara, and the Maluku Islands, than they are in more populous areas like Java, where service provider Telkomsel has less of a monopoly. 9 There is a slight gender divide in internet use: According to the 2019 data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the most recent available, 46.9 percent of internet users were women.10
- 1“Official News Statistics - Development of Information and Communication Technology Development Index (IP-ICT),” Central Statistics Bureau, https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2020/12/02/be999725b7aeee62d84c6660/s….
- 2“Laporan Survei Internet APJII 2019-2020,” APJII, Accessed July 3, 2021, https://apjii.or.id/survei.
- 3“Government Increases USO Allocation for Village Connectivity,” Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, February 20, 2021, https://www.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/32821/pemerintah-tambah-alokas…; “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.
- 6Henny Rachma Sari, “Buntut Pembantaian di Beoga, Kapolda Papua Setop Pembangunan BTS di Daerah Rawan,” Mendeka, March 13, 2022, https://www.merdeka.com/peristiwa/buntut-pembantaian-di-beoga-kapolda-p….
- 7Agus Tri Haryanto, “Ada Ancaman KKB, Kominfo Tetap Bangun Akses Internet Merata di Papua,” Detikinet, March 17, 2022 https://inet.detik.com/law-and-policy/d-5988253/ada-ancaman-kkb-kominfo…; Ibnu Naufal, “BAKTI Berdayakan Masyarakat Jadi Penjaga Menara BTS 4G di Papua,” Inilah May 25, 2022, https://www.inilah.com/bakti-berdayakan-masyarakat-jadi-penjaga-menara-….
- 8“Minister of Finance Says 20 Thousand Villages Haven’t Been Touched by the Internet,” Pasardana, February 19, 2021, https://pasardana.id/learning/menkeu-sebut-20-ribu-desa-belum-tersentuh…; Binsar 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….
- 9Maria 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….
- 10Statistik Telekomunikasi Indonesia 2019, Badan Pusat Statistik, 2020, https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2020/12/02/be999725b7aeee62d84c6660/s….
|Does the government exercise technical or legal control over internet infrastructure for the purposes of restricting connectivity?||4.004 6.006|
Residents of the Central Java village of Wadas reported connectivity disruptions for three days in February 2022 amid protests against a mine construction project. Parliamentarians who visited the protests also reported restricted connectivity. Wadas protesters reported difficulty accessing their Twitter accounts that same week, though it remains unclear how this was accomplished (see B8).1
In October 2021, the Constitutional Court—the country’s highest court on constitutional matters—rejected a lawsuit contesting the government's decision to restrict internet access in Papua and West Papua during protests in 2019. The court upheld the use of the ITE Law to restrict connectivity, noting its procedural components.2 The ruling overturned precedent set by the Jakarta State Administrative Court in June 2020 holding that the ITE Law should only be used to restrict online information or documents that are “unlawful,” not to terminate access in its entirety.3
Internet connectivity has been restricted during religious events in order to “avoid and/or ward off hoaxes and negative content” online.4 In March 2022, the government restricted smartphone data packages and video streaming in Bali during the Hindu festival of Nyepi, the “day of silence.” Fixed-line connections, however, were not restricted. 5 The government has suspended mobile connections during Nyepi since 2018.6
Connectivity was unreliable in the Papua region several times during the coverage period, often alongside varying official activity in the region (see A1).7
Most BTS and other components of ICT 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 Telkom Indonesia—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.8
The first internet exchange point (IXP), the Indonesia Internet Exchange, was created by APJII to allow internet service providers (ISPs) to interconnect domestically. An independent IXP, Open IXP, was launched in 2005.9
- 1Rani Rahayu and May Rahmadi, “Derasnya Penindasan Hak Digital di Wadas,” detikX, February 21, 2022, https://news.detik.com/x/detail/investigasi/20220221/Derasnya-Penindasa….
- 2“Constitutional Court Rejects Lawsuit for Termination of Internet Access by the Government”, Liputan6.com, October 27, 2021, https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/4695231/mahkamah-konstitusi-tolak-gu…
- 3“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-….
- 4“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….
- 5Ni Luh Rhismawati, “Layanan data seluler dan IPTV di Bali dimatikan saat Nyepi 2022,” Antara News, 2022, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/2730281/layanan-data-seluler-dan-iptv….
- 6“PEMPROV BALI TEGASKAN, SAAT NYEPI JARINGAN INTERNET TETAP HIDUP, HANYA DATA SELULAR DAN IPTV YANG MATI,” Pemerintah Provinsi Bali, March 7, 2021, https://www.baliprov.go.id/web/pemprov-bali-tegaskan-saat-nyepi-jaringa…; “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….; https://bali.tribunnews.com/2021/03/06/11-poin-terkait-nyepi-tahun-2021…; “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….
- 7Lapora tahunan Situasi Hak-Hak Digital di Indonesia, SAFEnet. 2022. https://id.safenet.or.id/2022/03/represi-digital-di-indonesia-masih-ter…
- 8Dimas 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….
- 9Robbie 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….
|Are there legal, regulatory, or economic obstacles that restrict the diversity of service providers?||4.004 6.006|
Connectivity is 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, though mergers may reduce competition in the market.
As of May 2022, there are 2,612 telecommunications service licenses that issued by Kominfo, 687 of which are ISP licenses.1 APJII has criticized the high cost of 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 of Indonesia’s villages served by fixed-line 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, three providers serve roughly 90 percent of subscribers.5 As reported in June 2021, market leader Telkomsel, Telkom Indonesia’s mobile subsidiary, had 169.2 million subscribers. In second place was Indosat Ooredoo, with 60.3 million subscribers. XL Axiata served 56.7 million subscribers.6 Indosat Ooredoo merged with service provider Hutchison 3 Indonesia in January 2022, raising concerns about market competition.7 Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison, the merged entity, is the second largest mobile provider in the country.8
- 1”List of Telecommunication Operator Permits,” Jasa Telekomunikasi, accessed July 2022, https://sipppdihati.pelayananprimaditjenppi.go.id/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“Indonesia Telecommunications Statistics 2019,” Badan Pusat Statistik, February 12, 2020, https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2020/12/02/be999725b7aeee62d84c6660/s…; “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….
- 4“Indonesia Telecommunications Statistics 2019,” Badan Pusat Statistik, February 12, 2020, https://www.bps.go.id/publication/2020/12/02/be999725b7aeee62d84c6660/s…; Dimas 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, see “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….
- 6“Telkomsel Becomes the Cell Operator with the Most Subscribers in Indonesia,” Katadata Indonesia, September 22, 2021, https://databoks.katadata.co.id/datapublish/2021/09/22/telkomsel-jadi-o….
- 7“Merger, Indosat Ooredoo Hutchison Diminta Segera Lapor KPPU”, Investor.id, January 8, 2022, https://investor.id/it-and-telecommunication/277473/merger-indosat-oore…
- 8“Indonesia approves merger of units of Qatar's Ooredoo, CK Hutchison,” Reuters, January 4, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/indonesia-approves-merger-units-….
|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 Kominfo as a regulatory body, following the decision to dissolve the Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI).
The BRTI, a more independent regulator, was established in 2003 to ensure fair competition among telecommunications providers, resolve industry conflicts, and develop standards for service quality. In 2018, BRTI’s authority was expanded to regulate not only infrastructure, but also issues relating to online platforms. In November 2020, the government decided to dissolve the BRTI to streamline the bureaucracy.1
The Directorate General of Posts and Informatics Operations (PPI) and the Directorate General of Informatics Application (Aptika) oversee internet services regulation under Kominfo. The PPI is responsible for regulating posts, telecommunications, and broadcasting, and its mandate includes supervising private telecommunications providers, regulating the allocation of frequencies for telecommunications and data communications, and issuing ISP licenses. Kominfo restructured Aptika in 2018, reorganizing departments responsible for regulation, granting domain names for government websites, digital economy functions, and blocking and content removal.2
- 1“Through The Presidential Decree, Jokowi Disbanded 10 Non-structural State Agencies And Instituions,” VOI, November 29, 2020, https://voi.id/en/berita/21306/lewat-perpres-jokowi-bubarkan-10-badan-d….
- 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….
|Does the state block or filter, or compel service providers to block or filter, internet content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards?||3.003 6.006|
Websites are frequently blocked for hosting what the government defines as negative content, a broad term that is used to describe content that is pornographic or defamatory, as well as content that violates social norms or is deemed immoral. 1
Between 2016 and April 2022, Kominfo stated that it had blocked 3,216 illegal financial technology lenders on the recommendation of the Financial Services Authority (OJK).2 As 2021 progressed, Kominfo blocked Snack Video—a competitor to TikTok—TikTok Cash, and VTube for lack of OJK licensing. 3 Kominfo, in cooperation with the Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency (Bappbeti) and domain name registrars, blocked 1,222 illegal commodity-futures trading-sites in February 2022.4 Pornography remains the most commonly blocked category of content, with nearly 1.1 million sites blocked between August 2018 and July 2021 according to Kominfo; 387,000 gambling sites were blocked in the same period.5
Kominfo blocked access to Yahoo, gaming website Steam, and payment processor PayPal, along with several other sites, for several days in July and August 2022, after the coverage period. The websites were unblocked after registering as electronic service operators under Ministerial Regulation Number 5/2020 on Private Electronic System Operators (MR 5/2020) (see B3).6
Between 2016 and July 2020, Netflix was inaccessible to Telkom Indonesia and Telkomsel customers, despite the absence of a formal blocking notification from Kominfo.9 The ministry did not intervene when the provider first blocked Netflix in early 2016, claiming that Netflix was operating without proper licensing and was exposing users to violent and pornographic content. In January 2020, the Indonesian Consumers Protection Foundation urged Kominfo to force Netflix to remove negative content from its platform or otherwise block it.10 In July 2020, the service provider unblocked Netflix after the platform agreed to fulfill some requirements, particularly regarding content and takedown requests.11
In July 2020, Kominfo stated that it planned to purchase more sophisticated technology to block more categories of negative content and websites.12 In January 2018, Kominfo launched Cyber Drone 9, a crawler system driven by artificial intelligence (AI) tools that is designed to proactively detect content violations. A specialized task force monitors the 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 deny additional sites at its own discretion.
- 1“Ragam Konten yang Bisa Diadukan Melalui aduankonten.id,” kominfo.go, August 16, 2017, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/10331/ragam-konten-yang-bisa-diadu….
- 2“Ministry of Communication and Information Blocks 3,216 Illegal Investment Content,” aptika.kominfo.go.id, April 8, 2022. https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2022/04/pemerintah-pelototi-industri-finte….
- 3“Kominfo Blocks Video Snack Sites and Applications,” Kumparan Tech, Accessed July 2021, https://kumparan.com/kumparantech/kominfo-blokir-situs-dan-aplikasi-sna….; “Kominfo Blocks TikTok Cash, Turns Out This Is The Reason!,” CNBC Indonesia, February 10, 2021, https://www.cnbcindonesia.com/tech/20210210144545-37-222467/kominfo-blo….; “5 Fakta VTube, dari Diblokir Kominfo hingga Investasi Ilegal,” Kompas.com, February 18, 2021, https://www.kompas.com/tren/read/2021/02/18/063100665/5-fakta-vtube-dar….
- 4“List of 1,222 Trading Sites Blocked by CoFTRA due to Illegality,” Aptika Kominfo, February 2, 2022, https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2022/02/daftar-1-222-situs-trading-yang-di…
- 5Syahaamah Fikria, “2.5 million Internet Content Blocked, Majority of Porn Sites,” Radar Solo Jawapos, August 25, 2021. https://radarsolo.jawapos.com/entertainment/lifestyle/25/08/2021/25-jut….
- 6Randy Mulyanto and Leo Galuh, “Indonesia’s PayPal, Yahoo bans cast cloud over tech hub dream,” Reuters, August 4, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/8/4/indonesias-paypal-ban-casts-….
- 7“List of 'Victims' Blocking Kominfo Throughout 2018,” CNN Indonesia, December 26, 2018, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20181226001641-192-356335/daftar….
- 8Isal Mawardi, “Kominfo Blocks 3 Applications Related to Prorn Content: Blued to Grindr,” Detik News, November 25, 2020, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5269068/kominfo-blokir-3-aplikasi-terka….
- 9Initially, 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 Kominfo, 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….
- 10Agus 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….
- 11Bill 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….
- 12Natisha 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….
|Do state or nonstate actors employ legal, administrative, or other means to force publishers, content hosts, or digital platforms to delete content, particularly material that is protected by international human rights standards?||2.002 4.004|
The government routinely requires platforms and content hosts to remove negative content posted by users.
In August 2021, Kominfo requested that 20 YouTube videos and 1 TikTok video uploaded by Muhammad Kece be removed for containing blasphemy.1 Kece was later arrested and sentenced to ten years in prison for blasphemy (see C3). Meanwhile, in September 2021, Kominfo requested that YouTube remove a video deemed to promote LGBT+ content on YouTube Kids.2 Also in September 2021, Kominfo announced that it was streamlining procedures for reporting content to social media companies by coordinating with other government agencies.3
In April 2021, during the previous coverage period, Kominfo requested that YouTube block 20 videos uploaded by Joseph Paul Zhang, who proclaimed he was the 26th prophet of Islam. Kominfo used MR 5/2020 as one of the legal references to justify the takedown (see B3).4 In December 2020, Kominfo also requested YouTube take down a parody song of “Indonesia Raya,” the national anthem, considering the song to be an “insult” and hate speech towards Indonesia. The two minors who made the video were later arrested (see C3).5 In August 2019, YouTube reportedly restricted a satirical video about Papua on the request of the Indonesian government.6
The government reported that it restricted 565,449 pieces of inauthentic social media content throughout 2021, mostly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.7 In September 2020, Kominfo removed 233 pieces of content on digital platforms relaying false information on that December’s regional elections.8 As of April 2021, 20,453 pieces of social media content related to terrorism and radicalism had been taken down.9
Kominfo has demanded that some apps be removed entirely from app stores, or that certain pieces of content be blocked. In March 2021, the illegal Snack Video app was removed from Google’s app store on the request of Kominfo (see B1).10 In January 2020, the ministry announced that it had blocked 1,085 fintech-specific apps from the Google app store in 2019, and 1,356 similar apps from other app stores.11
In February 2021, the Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim) of the Indonesian National Police (Polri) launched a Virtual Police program to monitor social media and chat apps for hoaxes and incitement. As of April 2021, the program reportedly sent warnings to remove content to 200 social media accounts that post hate speech and potentially infringe on Article 28(2) of ITE Law.12 A civil society organization, KontraS, reported that the warnings were mostly directed towards active government critics, and users immediately deleted content that was flagged.13
Platforms that do not remove banned content risk being blocked entirely. For example, Tumblr was blocked in March 2018; it was subsequently unblocked that December after removing “adult content.”14
In the second half of 2020, TikTok stated that it removed more than 89 million videos, of which around 3.8 million videos were from Indonesia.15 Reuters reported that between 2018 and mid-2020, ByteDance—the Chinese operator of TikTok—censored Indonesian content on its news aggregator app, BaBe, that expressed “negative” information about the Chinese government.16
- 1Emanuel Kure, “Alleged Blasphemy of Religion, Kemkominfo Takes Down M Kece's YouTube Account”, Investor.id, August 23, 2021, https://investor.id/national/260420/dugaan-ujaran-penodaan-agama-kemkom…
- 2“Kominfo Blocks 'I'm Not Homo' Content on YouTube Kids,” Detik.com, September 13, 2021, https://inet.detik.com/cyberlife/d-5722314/kominfo-blokir-konten-aku-bu…
- 3Leski Rizkinaswara, “Kominfo Buat Sistem Aduan Instansi untuk Percepat Tangani Konten Negatif,” Kominfo, September 21, 2021 https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2021/09/kominfo-buat-sistem-aduan-instansi…
- 4“Sejak 2018, Kominfo Tangani 3.640 Ujaran Kebencian Berbasis SARA di Ruang Degital, kominfo.go, April 26, 2021, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/34136/siaran-pers-no-143hmkominfo0…; Shahidah Izzata Sabiila, “Jozeph Paul Zhang’s Full Profile: Real Name to His Whereabouts,” Detik News, April 19, 2021, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5537906/profil-lengkap-jozeph-paul-zhan….
- 5“Disappeared from Youtube, Greater Indonesia Parody Video Takedown Kominfo,” Nasional Okezone, December 27, 2020, https://nasional.okezone.com/read/2020/12/27/337/2334499/hilang-dari-yo…; “Police Arrest Actors Uploading Parody Songs Indonesia Raya,” VOI, January 1, 2021, https://voi.id/en/news/24928/polisi-tangkap-pelaku-pengunggah-lagu-paro…; “Chronology of 2 Indonesian Boys Arrested for Parady of Greater Indonesia,” CNN Indonesia, January 1, 2021, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210101160945-12-588514/kronolog….
- 6Karina 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….
- 7“Kominfo Blocks 565,449 Hoax Content on Social Media Throughout 2021,”, Aptika Kominfo, January 3, 2022. https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2022/01/kominfo-blokir-565-449-konten-hoak…
- 8“Preventing the Spread of Hoaxes, Ministor of Communication and Information Takes Down 233 Content During Pilkada,” iNews, December 7, 2020, https://www.inews.id/news/nasional/cegah-penyebaran-hoaks-menkominfo-ta… .
- 9“Tangani 111 Isu Hoaks Vaksin Covid-19, Kominfo Libatkan Multistakeholders,” komnifno.go, April 12, 2021, https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2021/04/kominfo-blokir-20-453-konten-teror…; Yulida Medistiara, “Terrorism Enters Social Media, 20 Thousand of Content Have Been Blocked,” Detik News, April 4, 2021, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5519483/terorisme-rambah-media-sosial-2….
- 10Dita Tamara, “Vtube Disappears from playstore, Task Forece: We Ask for Blocking!,” Sonora.id, February 25, 2021, https://www.sonora.id/read/422574391/vtube-hilang-dari-playstore-satgas….
- 11“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….
- 12Muhammad Rizky Pradila, “Firmly, Virtual Police Reprimand Hundreds of Social Media Accounts Regarding ITE Law Rules,” Pikiran Rakyat, April 16, 2021, https://www.pikiran-rakyat.com/nasional/pr-011782308/tegas-polisi-virtu….
- 13“Virtual Police Data Update,” Kontras, April 22, 2021, https://kontras.org/2021/04/22/pemutakhiran-data-virtual-police/.
- 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/.
- 15Tiktok, “Tiktok Transparency Report,” February 24, 2021, https://www.tiktok.com/safety/resources/transparency-report-2020-2?lang…; https://katadata.co.id/yuliawati/digital/603df2a08b533/tiktok-hapus-89-…
- 16Fanny 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|
Regulations that grant the government the ability to restrict online content are largely not grounded in democratic principles and procedures. Research from Article 19 has found that opaque content moderation practices undermine user trust and may drive government regulation.1
Amendments from 2016 to the ITE Law strengthened the legal foundation for blocking content and limiting internet access.2 Under Article 40 of the amended ITE Law, Kominfo can directly prevent access to online content, or order ISPs to do so.3 Article 26 of the amended law also established a “right to be forgotten” for Indonesian citizens, whereby electronic system providers, such as Google, are required to delete irrelevant information about an individual on Kominfo’s request. The ministry, however, needs to provide a court order. There are concerns that Article 26 could hamper the public’s right to information.4
A 2014 decree under the ITE Law expanded official powers to allow the blocking of negative content on websites.5 A separate statute provides a legal framework to block content considered pornographic.6 The precursor of the amended ITE Law, Kominfo’s 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.7
MR 5/2020 took effect in November 2020 (see C6).8 MR 5/2020 requires that private electronic system operators (ESOs)—defined as any foreign or domestic entity that operates electronic systems for Indonesian users—ensure that their electronic systems do not contain or facilitate prohibited content, broadly defined as any content that violates domestic law, creates community anxiety, or disturbs public order. After receiving a notice from Kominfo to remove prohibited content, ESOs have 4 hours in “urgent” situations and otherwise have 24 hours to comply. ESOs that fail to remove prohibited content will be fined or blocked (see B6). In May 2021, MR 5/2020 was amended by Ministerial Regulation No. 10 of 2021 (MR 10/2021), adding an obligation for ESOs to register with the government within six months of the launch of a designated online system.
In June 2022, after the coverage period, Kominfo announced that ESOs would have to register under MR 5/2020 within one month.9 In July 2022, after the registration deadline had passed—with major ESOs including Amazon, Yahoo, Bing, Steam, and PayPal still unregistered—Communications Minister Johnny G. Plate warned that unregistered platforms would be blocked.10 Several platforms were then briefly blocked (see B1). The Legal Aid Institute Jakarta announced plans to sue over enforcement, citing harm to users and a legal interpretation it called overly broad.11
In March 2022, Reuters reported that the government had formulated fines for platform owners who fail to comply with its content removal requests, with affected operators conceivably facing fines worth millions of rupiah.12 The fines had not yet entered into effect as of the end of the coverage period.
Kominfo shares the total number of websites restricted through official press briefings but does not provide further details on which sites are blocked and why. Four multistakeholder panels, established by the ministry to respond to public complaints about arbitrary and nontransparent blocking, completed their terms in 2015 and were not renewed.13 Besides Kominfo, several other government agencies restrict online content under the ITE Law, including the National Cyber and Encryption Agency (BSSN). 14
In May 2020, two private television stations, iNews and RCTI, sought judicial review of the Broadcasting Law to the Constitutional Court, requesting that the court reformulate the law to regulate competitor streaming platforms like Netflix and YouTube.15 The court rejected the lawsuit in January 2021;16 as of May 2022, the parliament has not discussed the revision of the bill that will regulate the implementation of television streaming platforms, even though it was considered a legislative priority in 2021.17
- 1Article19, “Indonesia Country Report”, June 2022 https://www.article19.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Indonesia-country-…
- 2“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….
- 3“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….
- 4“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-….
- 5“Article 7(1), Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Number 19 of 2014,“ Minister of Communication and Information Technology, July 17, 2014, https://jdih.kominfo.go.id/produk_hukum/view/id/215/t/peraturan+menteri….
- 6Civil 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….
- 7“Negative Content Censorship on the Internet Cannot Be Refuted,” Indotelko, November 22, 2014, https://www.indotelko.com//read/1416628939/Sensor-Konten-Negatif-di-int….
- 8“Regulation of the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Number 5 of 2020,” kominfo.go, May 2021, https://jdih.kominfo.go.id/produk_hukum/view/id/759/t/peraturan+menteri….
- 9“Kominfo minta platform digital segera mendaftar,” Antara News, June 22, 2022, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/2953833/kominfo-minta-platform-digita….
- 10Stanley Widianto, “Google yet to register for Indonesia's new licensing rules,” Reuters, July 20, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/technology/google-twitter-yet-sign-up-indonesia…; “Pendaftaran Penyelenggara Sistem Elektronik (PSE) Lingkup Privat.” Kominfo, July 29, 2022, https://m.kominfo.go.id/content/detail/43385/siaran-pers-no-308hmkominf….
- 11Tiara Aliya Azzahra, “LBH Jakarta Terima 213 Aduan soal Paypal cs Diblokir, Akan Gugat Menkominfo,” August 7, 2022, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-6221375/lbh-jakarta-terima-213-aduan-so….
- 12Fanny Potkin and Stefanno Sulaiman, “Indonesia preparing tough new curbs for online platforms -sources,” Reuters, March 23, 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/exclusive-indonesia-preparin….
- 13For 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….
- 14Oka Anantajaya, “Amendment to the Electronic Information and Transaction Law,” MKK Newsletter, February, 2017, http://www.mkklaw.net/newsletter/2017_02_newsletter_en.pdf. ; Ihsanuddin, “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-…. ; Badan Siber dan Sandi Negara (BSSN), “Duties of BSSN,” 2018, https://bssn.go.id/tugas-dan-fungsi-bssn/.
- 15“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….
- 16“MK Rejects Inews and RCTI Lawsuits, Youtubers and Netflix Are Not Affected by the Broadcasting Law,” Kompas, January 14, 2021, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/01/14/13460981/mk-tolak-gugatan-i…
- 17“Welcoming ASO: House of Representatives Commission I Quickly Discusses Broadcasting Law Revision,” KPID Sulsel, June 11, 2021, https://kpid-sulsel.go.id/2021/06/11/sambut-aso-komisi-i-dpr-kebut-pemb…
|Do online journalists, commentators, and ordinary users practice self-censorship?||2.002 4.004|
The government’s broad definition of negative content that can be blocked or removed and its intensifying pursuit of legal actions for online activity contribute to an environment of self-censorship among journalists and ordinary users alike.1 Many social media users have expressed their fear of the ITE Law. An April 2022 survey from Indikator Politik Indonesia reported that 62.9 percent of respondents thought that today's society is increasingly afraid to express opinions.2
Increased online harassment, as well as technical attacks against journalists, activists, and online news outlets, further this environment of caution (see C7 and C8). Civil society organizations have also raised concerns that the Virtual Police program will drive users to increasingly practice self-censorship (see B2).3
Authorities have 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.4 Although the government has issued Guidelines for the Implementation of the ITE Law, which ostensibly reduces the criminalization of online expression (see C2),5 internet users continue to be detained and prosecuted for their online speech (see C3).
- 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….
- 2Moh. Khory Alfarizi, “Indonesian Political Indicator Survey: 62.9 Percent of People Are More Afraid of Opinion”, Tempo.co, April 9, 2022, https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1580168/survei-indikator-politik-indones….
- 3“Contrast: The Cyber Police To Be Activated By The Government Has The Potential To Mute Freedom Of Expression,” Kompas, December 28, 2020, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2020/12/28/14074121/kontras-polisi-sib…; "Expert: Virtual Police in Social Media, Residents Are More Afraid of Opinion Baca artikel CNN Indonesia," CNN Indonesia, February 25, 2021, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20210225165329-185-610933/pakar-…
- 4Firman 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….
- 5“SKB Guidelines for the Implementation of the ITE Law Signed, Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Hopes to Give Protection to the Community,” kominfo.go.id, June 23, 2021, https://kominfo.go.id/content/detail/35229/skb-pedoman-implementasi-uu-…; Adi Briantika. “The Saiful Mahdi Case Proves the ITE Law Guidelines are Useless & Remains Multi-interpreted,” tirto.id, September 2021, https://tirto.id/kasus-saiful-mahdi-membuktikan-skb-uu-ite-tak-berguna-…
|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|
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 protests and the COVID-19 pandemic.1
Research released in November 2021 indicated that political and economic elites, including from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), continued to manipulate public opinion on social media through paid commentators, also called “buzzers,” during the coverage period. The research found that some buzzers were paid between 2 million and 7 million rupiah ($140 and $488) per campaign.2
Paid commentator networks manipulate trending topics and hashtags on Twitter, often to suppress hashtags that appear organically. In April 2022, the antigovernment #MahasiswaBergerak (“students on the move”) hashtag and the progrovernment #SayaBersamaJokowi (“I’m with Jokowi [President Joko Widodo]”) hashtag were prominently seen as students protested the postponement of the 2024 general election; both may have been supported by automated accounts.3
Previously, reports from the Oxford Internet Institute released in 2019 and 2020 identified Indonesia as a country where buzzers and automated accounts manipulate information on social media on behalf of political parties and private contractors.4 The founder of Drone Emprit,5 a social network analytics company, also stated that buzzers contribute heavily to trending topics on political issues, such as hashtags used during a popular student demonstration in September 2019.6
Indonesia Corruption Watch (ICW), a think tank, reported the government budgeted 90 billion rupiah ($6.4 million) to hire buzzers to promote the government’s policies in a 2020 report.7 During the initial spread of COVID-19 in March 2020, progovernment buzzers reportedly were mobilized to spread online content criticizing the plans of the Jakarta governor, an opposition figure, to lock down the capital.8
In June 2020, three seemingly inauthentic accounts accused comedian Bintang Emon of using drugs after he criticized the court for sentencing an attacker of a Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) member to one year in prison.9 In October 2019, researchers at the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Australian Strategic Policy Institute discovered a network of bots originating in Jakarta that distributed progovernment propaganda in Papua across multiple social media platforms and websites.10 Facebook and Twitter closed the accounts.11
A network of online news sites has also been utilized by political actors to spread propaganda. In January 2020, Reuters journalists discovered that the military was operating and funding a network of 10 news sites that publish progovernment propaganda while criticizing critics and human rights advocates.12 Among their tasks was to mobilize support for the government’s response to the 2019 Papua protests, including for the state’s use of violence (see A3 and B8).
- 1"Highlighting the Buzzer and the ITE Law, Busyro Calls the Situation Moving to Neo Authoritarianism," Kompas, February 20, 2021, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/02/20/21210071/soroti-buzzer-dan-…;
- 2“The 'Playmaker' in the Digital Arena is Often Called a Buzzer”, CNN Indonesia, November 6, 2021, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20211105195614-192-717359/playma…; “Searching Needles In The Hastag : Peran Buzzer Dalam Mendistorsi Opini Publik,” LP3ES, November 5, 2021, https://www.lp3es.or.id/2021/11/05/searching-needles-in-the-hastag-pera….
- 3“Demo 11 April: Perang tagar #MahasiswaBergerak dan #SayaBersamaJokowi warnai aksi mahasiswa tolak penundaan Pemilu 2024”, BBC Indonesia, April 11, 2022, https://www.bbc.com/indonesia/indonesia-61057508
- 4Samantha Bradshaw, Ualan Campbell-Smith, Amelie Henle, Antonella Perini, Sivanne Shalev, Hannah Bailey and Philip N. Howard, “Country Case Studies Industrialized Disinformation: 2020 Global Inventory of Organized Social Media Manipulation,” 2020, https://demtech.oii.ox.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/sites/127/2021/03/Case-…; 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/research/cybertroops2019/.
- 5Vita 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….
- 6“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….
- 7“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…
- 8Ary 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….
- 9"Netizens stand with Bintang Emon as comedian faces attack over Novel Baswedan skit," Coconuts Jakarta, June 15, 2020, https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/netizens-stand-with-bintang-emon-as-co…; "Bintang Emon Drug Use Accusations Emerge After Uploading Video Criticizing Novel Baswedan Case," Cyberthreat, June 15, 2020, https://cyberthreat.id/en/read/79/Bintang-Emon-Drug-Use-Accusations-Eme…; “Emon Star Assault Bot Account Suspended Twitter, Buzzer Attack?” Solopos, June 15, 2020, https://www.solopos.com/akun-bot-penyerbu-bintang-emon-disuspend-twitte…
- 10Benjamin 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.
- 11“Facebook and Twitter Close Indonesian Propaganda Accounts About Papua, Including Pro-Government Bot Accounts,” ABC News, March 6, 2020, https://www.abc.net.au/indonesian/2020-03-06/facebook-dan-twitter-tutup…
- 12Tom 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/….
|Are there economic or regulatory constraints that negatively affect users’ ability to publish content online?||1.001 3.003|
Users do not face significant economic and regulatory barriers to publishing content online. However, financial sustainability concerns and registration requirements aimed at combating “prohibited online content” have created constraints to publish.
Under MR 5/2020, all ESOs must register their systems with Kominfo (see B3).1 The law also requires ESOs to appoint a local liaison. The regulation allows the government to revoke e-providers and cloud computing providers’ registration and licenses if they do not provide electronic information, data, and access to the government and law enforcement agencies for monitoring and law enforcement purposes (see C6).
Journalists from the provinces of Papua and West Papua often face economic constraints.2 The news site West Papua Media resumed operations in November 2020 after crowdfunding enough money to support the digital security of its journalists.3 The outlet had suspended operations in 2018 for financial reasons. 4
To combat online misinformation, the Press Council, an independent body, created verification process designed to help readers identify reliable media outlets. As of April 2022, there are 1,781 administratively verified media companies.5 Media groups have criticized the verification process as effectively extralegal,6 warning that registration requirements threaten the existence of alternative media.7
- 1“Regulation of the Minister of Communication and Information Technology Number 10 of 2021,” Kominfo, May 31, 2021, https://adminjdih.kominfo.go.id/produk_hukum/view/id/774/t/peraturan+me…; "Indonesia: Repeal Ministerial Regulation 5 to protect digital rights," Article19, May 31, 2021,https://www.article19.org/resources/indonesia-repeal-ministerial-regula… ; “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….
- 2West 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/.
- 3"Limited restart with live monitoring for December 1," West Papua Media, November 21, 2020, https://westpapuamedia.info/2020/11/21/westpapuamedia-mulai-ulang-terba… ; "Donate to Support Media Freedom for West Papua," West Papua Media, accessed on July 12, 2021,https://westpapuamedia.info/donate/
- 4“WestPapuaMedia Has Suspended Publishing, But We Can Be Back in 2019 with Your Help,” West Papua Media, 2018, https://westpapuamedia.info.
- 5“Data Perusahaan Pers,” Dewan Pers, Accessed April 20, 2022, https://dewanpers.or.id/data/perusahaanpers
- 6“Koalisi Wartawan Bersatu Minta Tatap Muka Dengan Kapolri dan Ketua Dewan Pers”, Radar Online, March 22, 2022, https://www.radaronline.id/2022/03/23/koalisi-wartawan-bersatu-minta-ta…
- 7“Barcode Media dan Nasib Media Alternatif”, Berdikari Online, Accessed Aprol 20, 2022, https://www.berdikarionline.com/barcode-media-dan-nasib-media-alternati…
|Does the online information landscape lack diversity and reliability?||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 Indonesia is considered one of the world’s largest markets of virtual private network (VPN) services.3 However, research conducted in 2017 found that three tools offering VPN services or anonymous browsing were subject to blocking.4 These tools continued to be blocked at the end of the coverage period.
In response to the increase in manipulated content and misinformation online, over 20 local media outlets and journalists’ associations launched a fact-checking initiative, Cek Fakta, in May 2018.5 In December 2021, the Indonesia Fact-Checking Summit 2021 served as an information-sharing forum for fact-checkers, including from Cek Fakta.6
- 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/.
- 5See Cekfakta, https://cekfakta.com.
- 6Mohammad Naufal Ardiansyah, “Indonesia Fact-checking Summit 2021 Bangun Ekosistem Digital Sehat,” Times Indonesia, December 20, 2021, https://www.timesindonesia.co.id/read/news/388315/indonesia-factcheckin…
|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 the coverage period. However, online threats and harassment of protesters and others using the internet to organize limits digital activism (see C7). The government also restricted internet connectivity to quell protests during the coverage period (see A3). Indonesians use online mobilization tools to call for the government to change its policies and practices.
Change.org is particularly popular in Indonesia; more than 18.8 million users signed petitions on various social issues, including child protection and environmental issues, in 2021.1 Pressure from Change.org petitions in 2021 likely contributed to the military abolishing virginity tests for women recruits, presidential amnesty for a professor imprisoned under the ITE Law (see C3), and the accreditation of low-paid teaching staff.2
Although protesters have successfully used online mobilization tools to advocate for change, some face restrictions for their activism. Residents of Wadas who opposed a mine construction project for several years launched a series of protests in early 2022, using social media to mobilize support and build awareness. In response, authorities restricted connectivity during a police response in February 2022 (see A3). Wadas protesters reported difficulty accessing their Twitter accounts that same week, though it remains unclear how authorities limited access.3 Previously, several individuals who participated in or coordinated protests against the omnibus law in 2020 were doxed (see C7).
During the coverage period, despite restrictions on connectivity in Papua and Wadas, users across Indonesia were able to mobilize online. Social media users amplified protesters’ messages online,4 while others crowdfunded to support the demonstrations.5
- 1“In 2021, Nearly One Million Netizens Win Petition on Change.org,” Change.org, January 18, 2022, https://www.change.org/l/id/tahun-2021-hampir-satu-juta-warganet-menang…
- 2Avit Hidayat, “10 Keberhasilan Petisi Online Bisa Mengubah Kebijakan”, Tempo.co, January 19. 2022, https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1551814/10-keberhasilan-petisi-online-bi…
- 3Rani Rahayu and May Rahmadi, “Derasnya Penindasan Hak Digital di Wadas,” detikX, February 21, 2022, https://news.detik.com/x/detail/investigasi/20220221/Derasnya-Penindasa….
- 4Eka 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.
- 5Riyan 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….
|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; these protections 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 rights that 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 constitution includes 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, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards?||1.001 4.004|
Several 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 disproportionately harsh compared with those established by the penal code for similar offline offenses.1 Amendments from 2016 to the ITE Law 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. 2 Private chat messages can also be considered violations, as the offense of “transmitting” defamatory content applies even when only one person receives the content. The article also broadly covers “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 rupiah ($69,760) to 750 million rupiah ($52,320), but these penalties remained harsher than most offline defamation sentences.3
In June 2021, President Jokowi announced that he would revise articles of the ITE Law which related to prohibited online content and add an additional article addressing “false information that troubles society.”4 The draft articles, which include a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 10 billion rupiah ($697,600) for “intentionally disseminat[ing]” information deemed false, are broad and vulnerable to misuse.5 As of April 2022, the revision of the ITE Law has not yet been discussed in the parliament.6
Also in June 2021, the government issued guidelines for implementing the ITE Law, which aimed to narrow the scope of defamation and insult charges under the law and introduce protections for media organizations.7 The guidelines do not appear to be consistently applied by local law enforcement.8 Civil society groups noted that guidelines were not a sufficient replacement for revisions to the law.9
Passing the Revision of the Criminal Code Bill (RKUHP) was named a legislative priority in the 2021 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas). The controversial proposals present in the 2019 draft would criminalize insulting public authorities and institutions; writing, promoting, or broadcasting information about contraceptives or abortion; spreading information about or associating with communism; distributing false or inaccurate information; and defamation.10 The bill would also expand the 1965 Blasphemy Law to include six broad provisions of religion-related speech.11 In June 2022, after the coverage period, the government announced its plans to advance the bill.12
In April 2020, the Polri issued a directive allowing officers to charge individuals under the criminal code for spreading COVID-19 misinformation online. The directive also instructed police to charge users for online activities that insult the president and government authorities under the ITE Law.13
Other laws infringe on user rights. The 2008 Antipornography Law loosely defines pornography to enable the ban of many forms of legitimate 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 “state secrets.”15 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….
- 4"The Journey of the ITE Law which is Finally Officially Revised by the Government," Kompas, June 9, 2021, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/06/09/08283531/perjalanan-uu-ite-… June 16,
- 5“Pasal Baru UU ITE Rentan Disalahgunakan, Koalisi Serius Desak Pemerintah Mencabutnya”, Suara.com, June 11, 202, https://www.suara.com/news/2021/06/11/064317/pasal-baru-uu-ite-rentan-d…
- 6“Revisi UU ITE Belum juga Dibahas DPR, padahal Surpres Dikirim Jowoki 2 Bulan Lalu”, Kompas.com, Februari 21, 2022, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2022/02/21/11375931/revisi-uu-ite-belu…
- 7Pratiwi Agustini, “Pemerintah Tandatangani SKB UU ITE,” Kominfo, June 24, 2021, https://aptika.kominfo.go.id/2021/06/pemerintah-tandatangani-skb-uu-ite/
- 8“The Pandemic Might be Under Control, but Digital Repression Continues,” SAFEnet, February 2022, https://mega.nz/file/rQYCiDhK#qtrw-wcS2zgJgRqS4ZDOOpbccJSaG9uwmBpel3KQD….
- 9“Pedoman Implementasi UU ITE Tidak Menyelesaikan Akar Masalah, Segera Revisi UU ITE,” KontraS, June 24, 2021, https://kontras.org/2021/06/24/pedoman-implementasi-uu-ite-tidak-menyel…
- 10“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….
- 11Andreas 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-….
- 12Aisyah Llewellyn, “Why is Indonesia’s draft criminal code so controversial?,” June 17, 2022, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/6/17/why-is-indonesias-draft-crimin….
- 13“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….
- 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….
|Are individuals penalized for online activities, particularly those that are protected under international human rights standards?||2.002 6.006|
Users frequently face civil and criminal penalties for legitimate online activities, though the government issued guidelines for implementing the ITE Law to reduce criminalization (see C2).
In April 2022, a court convicted YouTuber Muhammad Kece of spreading false information and sentenced him to 10 years’ imprisonment. Kece was arrested in August 2021 over YouTube videos that Kominfo deemed to be blasphemous (see B2).1
Online journalists were charged, detained, and convicted for their reporting during the coverage period. In November 2021, Muhamed Asrul, a journalist with Berita.news, was found guilty of violating Article 27 of the ITE Law and was sentenced to three months in prison.2 Asrul was detained for a 36-day period in January and February 2020 after being arrested for alleged hate speech under Article 28 of the ITE Law; he had written three news articles about corruption allegations involving the son of Palopo’s mayor.3
Several cases against activists charged with spreading false information online were ongoing during the coverage period. In September 2021, for example, presidential chief of staff Moeldoko filed a police report accusing two ICW researchers, Egi Primayogha and Miftah, of defamation under the ITE Law and the criminal code. The researchers reported on Moeldoko’s apparent ties to PT Harsen Laboratories, which produces and offers ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment.4 No new developments were reported as of June 2022.
Also in September 2021, a senior government official reported Lokataru Foundation director Haris Azhar and KontraS coordinator Fatia Maulidiyanti to the Greater Jakarta Metropolitan Regional Police on charges of defamation under the ITE Law, seeking 100 billion rupiah ($7 million) in damages. The two had posted a YouTube video discussing a study of mine ownership in the Intan Jaya Regency area of Papua. The case remains ongoing as of March 2022.5
Two ITE Law–related cases were dropped during the coverage period. In October 2021, Saiful Mahdi, a lecturer who was convicted of defamation for criticizing university recruitment processes over WhatsApp, received amnesty from President Jokowi. Mahdi received a three-month prison term and a 10-million-rupiah ($697) fine in April 2020 and lost his appeal in September 2021. Mahdi’s amnesty is the second Jokowi issued related to targets of the ITE Law.6 In addition, in December 2021, Stella Monica, who was convicted of defamation under the ITE Law and received a one-year term because she reviewed a beauty clinic critically, was acquitted by an appeals court.7
In January 2021, Kristen Gray, a US citizen, was deported after posting that Bali was “LGBT friendly” on Twitter.8
Police have also cracked down on the circulation of disinformation. From January 2020 to March 2021, 113 individuals were being investigated for spreading false information about COVID-19.9 In July 2021, police arrested Lois Owien, a doctor who was accused of sharing false COVID-19-related information on social media and in a television program. Owien was subsequently released.10 Police also indicated they were monitoring social media for false information campaigns during the coverage period.11
Such incidents have occurred in the wake of numerous controversial judicial proceedings during previous coverage periods. In March 2019, a user was issued a 10-month prison sentence and a heavy fine for allegedly sending four WhatsApp messages critical of a textile company, although the accused claimed 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 video on Facebook of him and his son singing songs for Papuan independence.13
- 1Tito Dirhantoro, “Penista Agama M Kece Divonis 10 Tahun Penjara, Hakim: Perbuatannya Meresahkan Umat Islam Sedunia,” Kompas, April 7, 2022, https://www.kompas.tv/article/277603/penista-agama-m-kece-divonis-10-ta…; “Ditangkap di Bali, Siapakah Youtuber Muhammad Kece?,” Kompas, August 25, 2021, https://regional.kompas.com/read/2021/08/25/161000578/ditangkap-di-bali….
- 2" Vonis 3 Bulan Terhadap Jurnalis Asrul Ciderai Kemerdekaan Pers", Jawapos, November 25, 2021, https://www.jawapos.com/nasional/25/11/2021/vonis-3-bulan-terhadap-jurn…
- 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….
- 4“Moeldoko Resmi Laporkan ICW ke Bareskrim soal Tuduhan Ivermectin!”, Detik.com, September 10, 2021, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5718131/moeldoko-resmi-laporkan-icw-ke-…
- 5“Haris-Fatia Diperiksa Sebagai Tersangka: Terjerat UU ITE; Akan Lapor Balik Luhut”, Kumparan.com, March 22, 2022, https://kumparan.com/kumparannews/haris-fatia-diperiksa-sebagai-tersang…
- 6“Amnesti Dikabulkan, Saiful Mahdi Bebas dan Dijemput di Lapas,” Tempo.co, October 13, 2021, https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1516946/amnesti-dikabulkan-saiful-mahdi-…
- 7“Hakim Vonis Bebas Stella Monica, Terdakwa Pencemaran Nama Klinik Kecantikan”, Tempo.co, December 14, 2021 https://nasional.tempo.co/read/1539299/hakim-vonis-bebas-stella-monica-…
- 8"American 'digital nomad' to be deported from Bali after LGBT and lifestyle tweets," Reuters, January 20, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-indonesia-deported/american-digital-….
- 9"Hoax COVID-19 and its spread," Antara News, March 10, 2021, https://www.antaranews.com/infografik/2036054/hoaks-covid-19-dan-sebara…
- 10Yakub Pryatama Wijayaatmaja, “Polisi Bebaskan Penyebar Hoaks Covid-19 Lois Owien,” Media Indonesia, July 13, 2021, https://mediaindonesia.com/politik-dan-hukum/418178/polisi-bebaskan-pen…; “Indonesian Doctor Arrested after Saying Covid is a Deadly Lie,” Jakarta Globe, July 12, 2021, https://jakartaglobe.id/news/indonesian-doctor-arrested-after-saying-co….
- 11“Aksi Demo Jokowi End Game Tak Terbukti, Polisi Buru Penyebar Hoax”, Tribunnews.com, July 25, 2021, https://www.tribunnews.com/nasional/2021/07/25/aksi-demo-jokowi-end-gam…; “Polri Buru Penyebar Seruan Jihad Lawan Densus 88 hingga Bakar Polres”, CNN Indonesia, November 19, 2021, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20211119133300-12-723424/polri-bu…
- 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.
|Does the government place restrictions on anonymous communication or encryption?||3.003 4.004|
Anonymous communication is somewhat restricted, although not formally prohibited by law. Users have access to encrypted services, although some Kominfo policies and other regulations have revealed the government’s desire to gain backdoor access to encrypted communication and personal data.
Since 2005, Kominfo has nominally required mobile phone users to register their phone numbers with the government by text message when they buy a phone. This rule was widely ignored for years, but in 2017, Kominfo 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 There were no updates on the rollout of this plan during the coverage period.
Indonesia mandates international mobile equipment identity (IMEI) registration for devices bought outside of the country. Since April 2020, unregistered devices have been prevented from connecting to networks.3 In June 2019, Kominfo announced plans to require social media users to include their phone numbers when establishing accounts,4 and reportedly considered regulating VPN use through licenses.5
- 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….
- 3“Aturan Daftar IMEI untuk Ponsel Rp7 Juta ke atas dari Luar Negeri,” Tirto, February 28, 2020, https://tirto.id/aturan-daftar-imei-untuk-ponsel-rp7-juta-ke-atas-dari-….
- 4Roy 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….
- 5Bernhart 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, no specific law stipulates its protection.
Article 40 of Law No. 46 of 1999 on Post and Telecommunication prohibits the interception of information transmitted through any form of telecommunications.1 However, at least 10 other laws, including the ITE Law and seven executive regulations, allow certain government or law enforcement agencies to conduct surveillance, including electronically.2 These include the KPK,3 the National Narcotics Board, and the National Intelligence Service, among others. The laws do not clearly provide for the scope of interception, despite a 2010 Constitutional Court decision that requires government agencies to have detailed and regulated interception procedures.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 2010 Constitutional Court decision, introducing penalties for interception conducted outside the context of law enforcement. The government indicated that further details concerning interception procedures would be addressed in future regulations.5
In previous years, the government announced its interest in passing legislation on surveillance and cybersecurity through the Surveillance Bill, which would authorize the use of wiretapping and other mechanisms to conduct monitoring, and the Cybersecurity and Defence Bill, which would give the BSSN the ability to cut data flows to mitigate cyberthreats.6 Neither bill featured in the National Legislation Programme 2022.7
In May 2018, the parliament adopted amendments to the 2003 Eradication of Criminal Acts of Terrorism Law (CT Law) that give authorities sweeping surveillance powers to fight terrorism, which is broadly defined. 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.”
Authorities monitor social media platforms. In preparation for the 2019 elections, Kominfo created a “war room” in October 2018 that employed 70 engineers tasked with monitoring social media platforms in real time.8 Kominfo reported that it would “take action” if it found users had violated the ITE Law. In January 2018, the BSSN reportedly began to formalize its response to cyberthreats, which included a social media program.9
Reports have linked authorities to the purchase and use of spyware and other sophisticated surveillance tools. In December 2021, the Toronto-based group Citizen Lab identified the Indonesian government as a likely customer of Cytrox, which sells the Predator spyware tool.10 Citizen Lab reported in December 2020 that Indonesia had likely purchased Circles technology.11 The Indonesian government has reportedly used FinFisher spyware, which collects data such as Skype audio, key logs, and screenshots;12 international mobile subscriber identity-catcher (IMSI-catchers) purchased from Swiss and British companies;13 and 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 app PeduliLindungi (Care Protect), which pulls location data using Bluetooth proximity tracking to facilitate contact tracing and allows users to register for and obtain certification of their vaccination.15 The app remained in regular use as of the end of this coverage period.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….
- 6Damar 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….
- 7" Surat Keputusan Prolegnas RUU Prioritas 2022," Council of Representation of the Republic of Indonesia, December 7, 2021, https://www.dpr.go.id/dokakd/dokumen/BALEG-SK-PROLEGNAS-RUU-PRIORITAS-T…
- 8Tassia 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….
- 9Resty 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….
- 10Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Bahr Abdul Razzak, Noura Al-Jizawi, Siena Anstis, Kristin Berdan, and Ron Deibert, “Pegasus vs. Predator,” December 16, 2020, https://citizenlab.ca/2021/12/pegasus-vs-predator-dissidents-doubly-inf….
- 11Bill Marczak, John Scott-Railton, Siddharth Prakash Rao, Siena Anstis, and Ron Deibert, “Running in Circles,” December 1, 2020, https://citizenlab.ca/2020/12/running-in-circles-uncovering-the-clients…
- 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.; "PeduliLindung gets additional registration features and vaccine certificates," Antara News, February 1, 2021, https://www.antaranews.com/berita/1977243/pedulilindungi-dapat-tambahan…
- 16Siti Rochmah Desyana, “Indonesia's Covid tracker app PeduliLindungi: To care for and protect?,” Global Voices, July 6, 2022, https://globalvoices.org/2022/07/06/indonesias-covid-tracker-app-peduli….
|Does monitoring and collection of user data by service providers and other technology companies infringe on users’ right to privacy?||4.004 6.006|
The absence of a comprehensive personal data protection law and an independent data protection authority in Indonesia have made it challenging to identify and act upon infringements of users’ privacy rights. As of the end of the coverage period, the Personal Data Protection Bill had yet to be finalized, possibly due to disagreement between the government and the parliament regarding the independence of the data protection authority that will be established under the law.1
In February 2020, Communications Minister Plate acknowledged that without a comprehensive personal data protection law, identifying data collection practices by digital providers that infringe on users’ right to privacy remains a challenge.2 Data breaches (see C8) and illegal data transfers are the only clear evidence of such infringements.3
Several laws expand the government’s ability to access personal data held by private companies. Governmental Regulation No. 71 of 2019 (PP 71/2019) states that only data related to government administration, defense, and security are subject to data localization requirements;4 it replaced a previous regulation5 that required electronic system providers that offer “public services” to build local data centers.6
MR 5/2020, which became effective in November 2020 and complements PP 71/2019, mandates that ESOs provide authorities “direct access” to their systems and users’ personal data when requested, for monitoring and law enforcement purposes. Any ESOs whose digital content is used or accessed within Indonesia must also appoint an in-country representative to respond to content removal and personal data access orders (see B3 and B6).7
Some international companies are beginning to store user data domestically. Kominfo requested that Google develop a data center integrated with the government’s system to ensure users’ data is held on servers within Indonesia. Due to the potential of cloud computing business in Indonesia, Google and Amazon are reportedly seeking to develop data centers in Jakarta.8
A 2016 Kominfo regulation9 stated that personal data must be encrypted if it is stored in an electronic system, though a separate ministry directive stated that over-the-top (OTT) providers must allow legal data interception for law enforcement purposes, raising concerns about the security of encryption.10 Moreover, a government regulation issued in 2000 requires telecommunications providers to retain records of customer usage for at least three months.11 Some companies have complied with law enforcement agencies’ requests for data.
- 1Fitria Chusna Farisa, “Tarik Menarik RUU PDP dan Pentingnya Independensi Otoritas Perlindungan Data Pribadi”, Kompas.com, April 2, 2022, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2022/04/02/15443381/tarik-menarik-ruu-…
- 2Minister of Communication and Information: Cases of Personal Data Breach is Difficult to Detect," CNN Indonesia, February 26, 2020, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20200225204935-185-478090/menkom…
- 3"The Most Misuse of Personal Data by Illegal Fintech," Finansial Bisnis, July 20, 2020, https://finansial.bisnis.com/read/20200720/563/1268374/penyalahgunaan-d…
- 4“PP PSTE: Mandatory Registration List & Government Right to Disconnect,” CNN Indonesia, October 28, 2019, https://cnnindonesia.com/teknologi/20191028102006-185-443409/pp-pste-wa….; “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….
- 5“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….
- 6“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.
- 7SAFEnet, "Analysis of Indonesia MR5/2020 concerning Private Electronic System Operators," May 12, 2021, https://safenet.or.id/2021/05/position-paper-analysis-of-the-minister-o…; "Indonesia: Suspend, Revise New Internet Regulation," Human Rights Watch, May 21, 2021, https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/05/21/indonesia-suspend-revise-new-intern…; Katitza Rodriguez, "Indonesia’s Proposed Online Intermediary Regulation May be the Most Repressive Yet," Electronic Frontier Foundation, February 16, 2021, https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2021/02/indonesias-proposed-online-interm… ; "GNI Expresses Concerns About and Calls on Indonesia to Reconsider the ‘MR5’ Regulation," Global Network Initiative, June 11, 2021, https://globalnetworkinitiative.org/mr5-indonesia/
- 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….
- 9Article 15.2 of the MCI Regulation No. 20 of 2016 concerning Personal Data Protection in Electronic System.
- 10MCI Circular letter no 3/2016 article 5.5.7, 2016, https://web.kominfo.go.id/sites/default/files/users/3997/Surat%20Edaran…
- 11International Comparative Legal Guides, ICLG, http://www.iclg.co.uk/practice-areas/telecoms-media-and-internet-laws/t….
|Are individuals subject to extralegal intimidation or physical violence by state authorities or any other actor in relation to their online activities?||3.003 5.005|
Score Change: The score improved from 2 to 3 because there were no reports of people facing physical violence in retaliation for their online activities, though journalists and activists faced online harassment.
Online journalists and users regularly face harassment and intimidation in retaliation for their online activities.1 For instance, in February 2022, the social media accounts of Sasmito Madrim, the chairman of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI), were attacked; Madrim’s personal data was leaked.2
In June 2021, Mara Salem, the editor of North Sumatran online media outlet LasserNewsToday.com, was shot in his car. Police investigations revealed that the shooter owned a nightclub, which Salem reported was involved in drug distribution. Police reports indicate the murder followed disagreement over bribes paid to Salem by the nightclub owner for more favorable coverage.3
In May 2021, during the previous coverage period, the house of a LinkTodays.com journalist, Abdul Kohar Lubis, was set on fire. 4 That same month, an online journalist, Mulyono, was beaten and doused with gasoline by his neighbor, who accused him of reporting on a street orchestra concert that took place in their neighborhood during the pandemic. 5
In March 2021, a journalist with Liputan6.com, Ahmad Akbar Fua, was doxed after writing about a criminal group that stormed a police station in Konawe, Kendari City, to secure the release of arrestees.6 In September 2020, an individual publicly revealed the home address, family photos, and telephone number of Cakrayuri Nuralam, a Liputan6.com journalist who published an article verifying that Arteria Dahlan, a PDI-P politician, was the grandchild of the founder of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in West Sumatra.7
Indonesian internet users report experiencing online harassment related to their identities. SAFEnet received 677 complaints of online gender-based violence in 2021, primarily from women. Some 508 complaints involved the nonconsensual sharing of intimate images, 38 involved sexual harassment, and 28 related to doxing.8 People facing online gender-based violence reported experiencing intimidation, blackmail, and emotional manipulation alongside the harassment.
Internet users in academic communities and protesters have also been targeted for their online activity. According to an October 2020 press report, the personal data of student protester Azhar Jusardi Putra and activists Ernawati and Ardy Syihab were circulated on WhatsApp and social media. Putra’s WhatsApp account was also hacked and his mother received death threats.9 In June 2020, organizer and journalist Tantowi Anwari, a speaker at an online discussion at the University of Lampung titled “Racial Discrimination against Papua, #PapuansLivesMatter,” was doxed and received online threats and harassment (see C8).10
Activists and journalists reporting on and discussing Papua and West Papua consistently face intimidation. In April 2021, the car of the founder of independent news site Jubi, Victor Mambor, was vandalized.11
Maaher At-Thuwailibi, a cleric of the Islamic Defenders Front, died of preexisting health issues at a Polri detention center in February 2021, during the previous coverage period; At-Thuwailibi had been detained for alleged online hate speech and defamation towards an influential cleric. Relatives alleged that his health further deteriorated because of the conditions in the center.12
- 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.
- 2“Journalists are vulnerable to attack in the digital world”, DW, March 5, 2022, https://www.dw.com/id/jurnalis-rentan-diserang-di-ranah-digital/a-61659…
- 3“Journalist Marsal Harahap, Found Dead with Gunshot Wounds,” Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, June 19, 2021 https://advokasi.aji.or.id/read/data-kekerasan/1947.html?y=2021&m=1&ye=…; “Ahmad Muzani: To Finish Shooting Journalists, Komnas HAM Needs To Form A Team," Voice of America Indonesia, June 20, 2021, https://voi.id/en/news/60518/ahmad-muzani-to-finish-shooting-journalist…; “North Sumatra Police Chief Says Mara Salem Harahap Was Killed Due to Heartache of THM Owner,” Sumut News, June 24, 2021, https://kumparan.com/sumutnews/kapolda-sumut-sebut-marasalem-harahap-di…; Kontributor Pematangsiantar and Teguh Pribadi, “Kasus Pembunuhan Wartawan Marsal Harahap, Pelaku Kesal Sering Diberitakan Negatif oleh Korban,” Kompas, October 28, 2021, https://regional.kompas.com/read/2021/10/28/193455278/kasus-pembunuhan-….
- 4"Abdul Kohar Lubis's house burned by OTK in Siantar," News Corner, May 30, 2021, https://newscorner.id/rumah-abdul-kohar-lubis-dibakar-otk-di-siantar/
- 5"Mojokerto Online Media Journalist, Persecuted by Residents," Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, May 24, 2021, https://advokasi.aji.or.id/read/data-kekerasan/1940.html?y=2021&m=1&ye=…
- 6“Liputan6 Journalist Experiences Doxing,” Aliansi Jurnalis Independen, March 13, 2021, https://advokasi.aji.or.id/read/data-kekerasan/1924.html?y=2021&m=1&ye=…
- 7"Statement regarding Doxing Journalist Cakrayuri Nuralam," Liputan6, September 12, 2020, https://www.liputan6.com/news/read/4354423/pernyataan-liputan6com-soal-…
- 8“The Pandemic Might be Under Control, but Digital Repression Continues,” SAFEnet, February 2022, https://mega.nz/file/rQYCiDhK#qtrw-wcS2zgJgRqS4ZDOOpbccJSaG9uwmBpel3KQD….
- 9“Kagama says UGM Philosophy Students Become Victims of Doxing Related to Demo,” detikNews, October 20, 2020, https://news.detik.com/berita-jawa-tengah/d-5224142/kagama-ungkap-mahas…
- 10Egi 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…
- 11"Papuan Jubi Journalist Terrorized: Car Vandalized & Social Media Doxing," Tirto, April 22, 2021, https://tirto.id/jurnalis-jubi-papua-diteror-mobil-dirusak-doxing-media…
- 12"Chronology of Ustadz Maaher Sickness to Death," Detik News, February 8, 2021, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5366748/kronologi-ustadz-maaher-sakit-h…; "Controversial cleric Maaher At-Thuwailibi dies in police custody," Coconuts Jakarta, February 9, 2021, https://coconuts.co/jakarta/news/controversial-cleric-maaher-at-thuwail…; "Whistleblower Prays for Ustaz Maaher's Death Husnul Khatimah," CNN Indonesia, February 9, 2021, https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20210209125029-20-604104/pelapor-…; "Komnas HAM: Maaher At-Thuwailibi Died of Illness," Kompas, February 18, 2021, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/02/18/17070391/komnas-ham-maaher-…; Sukma A, "The Family of the Late Ustadz Maheer Reveals the Condition of the Prison Cell Occupied," Terkini, February 10, 2021, https://makassar.terkini.id/keluarga-almarhum-ustadz-maheer-ungkap-kond…
|Are websites, governmental and private entities, service providers, or individual users subject to widespread hacking and other forms of cyberattack?||1.001 3.003|
Civil servants, journalists, activists, civil society groups, and news outlets have experienced technical attacks in recent years. SAFEnet reported at least 193 digital attacks took place in 2021, many targeting activists and journalists. Technological attacks such as hacking, data breaches, and phishing made up more than 80 percent of digital attacks in 2021.1 For example, AJI chairman Samsito Madrim’s social media accounts were hacked in February 2022 and used to spread progovernment misinformation (see C7).2 The websites of government entities and private companies also face hacks and data breaches.
KPK employees, anticorruption activists, and journalists who have publicly discussed the controversial National Insight Test (TWK)—a civics evaluation that state employees are required to pass due to 2019 legislative amendments, which has been criticized for the appropriateness of some of its questions—had their private social media accounts hacked. In June 2021, the whistleblowing platform IndonesiaLeaks faced hacking attempts on its website and its Twitter account after publishing an investigative report on the TWK.3 That same month, the Telegram accounts of KPK senior investigator Novel Baswedan and Intercommission and Agency Network director Sujanarko were hacked.4 In May 2021, ICW reported experiencing several hacking attempts during a virtual press conference that featured eight previous KPK leaders as panelists.5
Individuals and news outlets criticizing the government’s handling of COVID-19 were also subjected to technical attacks. In August 2020, University of Indonesia professor Pandu Riono, who criticized the government’s pandemic response, claimed that hackers posted photos to his Twitter feed of him and a woman they claimed to be his mistress.6 In August 2020, several media outlets and civil society groups—including Tempo, Tirto.id, and the Centre for Indonesia’s Strategic Development Initiatives (CISDI)—were hacked after posting articles that criticized the government’s handling of the coronavirus. Several organizations claimed that hackers erased content from their websites.7
Data breaches are also frequent in Indonesia.8 In May 2021, the Healthcare and Social Security Agency, which administers Indonesia’s universal health coverage program, experienced a massive data breach. The personal data of 270 million participants were leaked and sold in a hacking forum called Raid Forums.9
- 1“The Pandemic Might be Under Control, but Digital Repression Continues,” SAFEnet, February 2022, https://mega.nz/file/rQYCiDhK#qtrw-wcS2zgJgRqS4ZDOOpbccJSaG9uwmBpel3KQD….
- 2“The Violent Oppression of Digital Rights in Wadas,” Detik X, February 21, 2022, https://news.detik.com/x/detail/investigasi/20220221/Derasnya-Penindasa…
- 3"KKJ Condemns Terrors Following IndonesiaLeaks Investigative Report," Tempo, June 9, 2021 https://en.tempo.co/read/1470464/kkj-condemns-terrors-following-indones…
- 4"Novel Baswedan's Telegram Account and the Director of the KPK Hijacked!" Detik News, May 20, 2021, https://news.detik.com/berita/d-5576933/akun-telegram-novel-baswedan-da…
- 5"ICW Says There was a Hacking Effort in Press Conference regarding KPK Employees Who Did Not Pass TWK," Kompas, May 17, 2021, https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2021/05/17/22382131/icw-sebut-ada-upay…
- 6“Epidemiologist Pandu Riono's Twitter Account Hacked,” Jakarta Post, August 20, 2020, https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/08/20/epidemiologist-pandu-rio….
- 7Kate 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.; "CISDI Site Hacked, Important Content and Documents Disappear," Liputan6, 22 August, 2020, https://www.liputan6.com/tekno/read/4336686/situs-cisdi-kena-retas-kont…
- 8“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….
- 9"Indonesia summons state health insurer over alleged data leak," Reuters, May 21, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/technology/indonesia-summons-state-health-insur…
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Global Freedom Score59 100 partly free
Internet Freedom Score49 100 partly free
Freedom in the World StatusPartly Free