Freedom of expression is a requisite to realize transparency and accountability principles
Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Law and Human Rights deplored the harsh response by Lampung Governor Arinal Djunaidi against a resident, who criticized his administration.

Earlier, the Lampung authority and the local police allegedly intimidated the family of Bima Yudho Saputro, a resident from Lampung, who criticized the lack of progress in development in his home province via social media. The provincial authority later clarified that no such intimidation had occurred.

However, a local lawyer, believing profanities against the province spoken by Saputro in his opinion video violates the Information and Electronic Transactions Law, reported Saputro to the police.

"Criticism is part of the freedom of speech that is not only essential in a democratic governance but also a key element in the human rights guaranteed by our Constitution," the ministry's Acting Director General of Human Rights, Dhahana Putra, told ANTARA here, Tuesday.

According to Article 28E, Paragraph 3 of the Indonesian Constitution, every person has the right to freedom of association, assembly, and expression, he pointed out.

Moreover, Putra said that Indonesia had ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) through Law No. 12 of 2004 that guarantees freedom of speech for the people.

Article 19, Paragraph 1 of ICCPR, which regulates freedom of speech and expression, stipulates that everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.

"Considering the importance of freedom of speech and expression in our legal instruments, we hope the Lampung governor would reconsider any legal actions taken against Saputro," the director general stated.

Putra said that public dialogues to explain about ongoing challenges in implementing government programs would be better, as it is a positive and constructive approach that is consistent with human rights.

"Freedom of expression is a requisite to realize transparency and accountability principles. It is also essential in the advancement and protection of human rights," he remarked.

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Translator: Putu Indah S, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Sri Haryati
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