KKAI asks government to respect freedom of expression

KKAI asks government to respect freedom of expression

Thousands of students of Al Azhar University Indonesia prayed for the recovery of Faisal Amir who was a victim of violence during a rally held some time ago. ANTARA/Muhammad Zulfikar

Students and academics in the campus enjoy the freedom of expression, assembly and action as part of the efforts to develop the tradition of critical thinking on campus. Hence, we ask the government to respect it
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinator of the Indonesian Academic Freedom Caucus (KKAI), Dr Herlambang P Wiratraman, has urged the government to respect the freedom of expression without placing sanctions on the demonstrating students. "Students and academics in the campus enjoy the freedom of expression, assembly and action as part of the efforts to develop the tradition of critical thinking on campus. Hence, we ask the government to respect it," Herlambang said in a written statement released on Thursday.

The tradition of critical thinking is part of efforts to develop science and technology as stipulated by Law No. 12/2012 on Institute of Higher Learning that academic freedom is the freedom of the campus society to profoundly study and develop science and technology in a responsible way through the implementation of the three pillars of the institute of higher learning.

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"The threat of sanction stated by the Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister against rectors contradicts the Surabaya Principles for Academic freedom, particularly the first principle in which academic freedom is fundamental to develop the autonomy of academic institutions," he said.

The effort to curb the actions of students is a form of bureaucratic political pressure, which is similar to the Normalization of Campus Life/Campus Coordination Board (NKK/BKK) implemented by the New Order Regime.

Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister, Muhamad Nasir, said earlier in the day that rectors and university lecturers could be sanctioned if they encourage students to stage rallies.

The universities could even face criminal charges if the rallies damage public facilities or cause losses to the state, the minister said here on Thursday, after meeting with President Jokowi at the State Palace.

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