It has been long debate in Indonesia between NGO, press organization, and the government whether the defamation article in penal code still necessary for Indonesia.
Me, Supriyadi W.E. of Elsam and LBH Pers form an ad hoc team to file a petition review before the Constitutional Court called The Indonesian Press Freedom Defender Team. I just already finished the draft petition. The petition would submit on behalf of Mr Risang Bima Wijaya (former General Manager from Radar Yogya Daily) and Mr. Bersihar Lubis (journalist and columnist in Tempo Daily). Both of them have been brought before the court for defamation, for Mr. Risang, he is already in prison and waiting for the ruling on his retrial petition in Supreme Court.
When I was in Manila for the conference, I call for International support for this petition, because we believe, by filling this petition there would be some difficulties to have some experts of Indonesian Criminal Law to testify. Many Indonesian Criminal Law experts that I have ever met still insist to have criminal defamation in Indonesian Criminal Code to exist, even in the draft penal code. So, at the conference we will have some assistance from the Article 19 and also from my Cambodian friends, Virak Ou, who chaired the Cambodian Center for Human Rights by now.
For my personal opinion, Indonesia no longer needed a criminal defamation to exist, just because it will make some restriction to freedom of expression. But in the other hand, I still believe that protection of reputation, dignity, and honor of individual and/or groups may still be protected under the Civil Code
I will keep an update for this petition