Jakarta governor revises regulation on freedom of expression

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Jakarta authorities are revising Gubernatorial Regulation No. 228 of 2015 on controlling the implementation of freedom of expression in public following protests by several NGOs.

The revision is meant to accommodate democracy in the capital city, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, popularly known as Ahok, stated here on Wednesday.

In its place, the Jakarta administration has issued Gubernatorial Regulation No. 232 of 2015.

"If (we) abide by Law No. 9 of 1998, staging rallies in the presidential palace is banned. Therefore, we provide other locations," the governor remarked.

The revision concerns the locations where rallies are permitted.

Gubernatorial Regulation No. 228 of 2015 stipulates that protesters will be allowed to stage protests at just three venues: Senayans Eastern Parking Area in the Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan, the Alun Alun Demokrasi (democracy plaza) located at the House of Representatives (DPR) complex, and at the Southern Cross located at the National Monument (Monas) Park in Central Jakarta.

In the latest regulation, the Jakarta authorities have opted to revise the use of the word "decide" to "provide" for the locations.

The Jakarta authorities have also omitted a sentence in the previous regulation that bans a convoy or a march during a rally.

"I continue to urge protesters to maintain order and not harm public interest while staging rallies," Ahok emphasized.

On October 28, 2015, the Jakarta governor signed Gubernatorial Regulation No. 228 of 2015 as he wanted protesters to behave in a more orderly manner.

The regulation stipulates that protests should be conducted in only three venues decided by the governor, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. local time, and that the noise levels of the sound systems should not exceed 60 decibels.

In the meantime, the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), a human rights NGO, alleged that the Jakarta governors recent regulation is a serious violation of the freedom of expression and free speech rights.

"The governors regulation demonstrates that Ahok does not understand his role as governor of the countrys capital city," Kontras coordinator Haris Azhar recently stated.(*)