Jakarta (ANTARA) - Indonesia's Press Council has appealed to all elements of society at large to keep defending and protecting freedom of the press because it is one of the fundamental pillars of democracy and an integral part of freedom of expression.

"To this end, the Press Council urges all parties to create a conductive situation and to show a collective commitment to making the quality of our press freedom get improved and beneficial for the entire nation. The press freedom is part of the principles of democracy that must collectively be fought," Press Council Head Mohammad Nuh said in a statement that ANTARA quoted in Jakarta on Sunday.

Nuh made his statement in the midst of Indonesian journalists' protest over Point 2d of National Police Chief General Idham Azis' Announcement No.Mak/1/I/2021.dated on January 1, 2021.

The point 2d of his announcement, General Idham Azis warned the people at large of not getting access to, uploading, and spreading contents of the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) on websites or social media platforms.

According to Nuh, the freedoms of speech and expression are the basic human rights of all Indonesian citizens that are protected by Indonesia's state constitution, and the press freedom is an integral part of them.

Therefore, he urges all elements of society at large to protect and implement the spirit and order of freedom of the press that have been mandated by the 1999 Press Law.

In a democratic country, mass media freely exercise freedom to report, publish, and broadcast public interest-related events and issues by obeying journalists' code of ethics, he said.

The state is principally and morally obliged to avoid or minimize any barrier and restriction that may impede freedom of the press in disseminating information to the public, Nuh said.

"Every problem arising from the practices of journalism must be handled by referring to mechanism regulated in the Indonesian Press Law No.40/1999," he said.

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Translator: Fathur R, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Suharto
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