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On September 13, Indonesian radio station Radio Era Baru was shut down by police and had equipment confiscated. The raid is widely thought to be because of the station’s Falun Gong ties and outspoken views against China for its human rights abuses. On September 6, station manager Gatot Machali was sentenced to six months in jail and a nearly $6,000 fine for broadcasting without a license. Machali had ignored repeated requests from the government to halt broadcasts. Radio Era Baru is linked to the Falun Gong religious movement, and as a result, Machali claims the Chinese government has pressured Indonesian authorities to stop broadcasts. Authorities have on numerous occasions –in 2007 and 2008—imposed restrictions on the station, refused to grant it a license, and in March 2010 shut the station down.

Freedom House strongly condemns Sunday’s fatal attack on members of the Ahmadiyyah community in Indonesia and calls upon the Indonesian government to take increased measures to protect the Ahmadiyyah and other religious minorities across the country.


Signature Reports

Special Reports

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights

Policing Belief: The Impact of Blasphemy Laws on Human Rights examines the human rights implications of domestic blasphemy and religious insult laws using the case studies of seven countries—Algeria, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Poland—where such laws exist both on paper and in practice. Without exception, blasphemy laws violate the fundamentalfreedom of expression, as they are by definition intended to protect religious institutions and religious doctrine– i.e., abstract ideas and concepts – from insult or offence. At their most benign, such laws lead to self-censorship.  In Greece and Poland, two of the more democratic countries examined in the study, charges brought against high-profile artists, curators and writers serve as a warning to others that certain topics are off limits. At their worst, in countries such as Pakistan and Malaysia, such laws lead to overt governmental censorship and individuals are both prosecuted and subject to severe criminal penalties including lengthy jail sentences.


Freedom House helps LGBTI rights groups in Southeast Asia to push back against the tide of intolerance.