23 Februari 2010

Law on Banning Book Is Pleaded at Constitution Court

23 Februari 2010 - 18:4 WIB
Kurniawan Tri Yunanto - translated by Rosmi Julitasari

VHRmedia, Jakarta – Institute of Indonesia Social History and Rhoma Dwi Arya, whose book titled Lekra Tak Membakar Buku: Suara Senyap Lembar Kebudayaan Harian Rakyat 1950-1965 (Lekra Never Burns Book) was banned by the Attorney General’s Office, filed a plea against Law No. 4/PNPS/1963 about securing printed materials. This Law does not fit to the reform era, where the rightto free public speech was strongly upheld.
Defendant’s lawyer Taufik Basari sadi that the AGO had passed over their authority in controlling printed materials. The government cannot decide what reading material is forbidden or obliged to be read by the Indonesia’s citizen. “There was an unconstitutional thing in the spirit of reform in this country. And it must be stopped,” Taufik said, after filing the plea at the Constitution Court, Tuesday (2/23).

Law N0.16/2004 only mentions that the Attorney General’s Office only has authority in monitoring the distribution of printed material. But this judicial institution does not have authority to ban a book. “This is confusing. The AGO banned a book based on the new Law on the Attorney General’s Office, but they use their interpretation on the Archaic Blasphemy Law (PNPS). That is why we file this judicial review,” Taufik said.

According to a historian Asvi Marwan Adam, the Archaic Blasphemy Law cannot be used in the reform era. During New Order era, this law is used to ‘kill’ the spirit of revolution and to curb foreign ideologies. New Order regime used this law to gag public opinion.

There were no books banned during 1998 – 2005. “But why, there had been 22 books banned since 2006? The government is very antagonist and has two faces,” Asvi said.

In the end of 2009, the AGO banned five books: Dalih Pembunuhan Massal Gerakan 30 September dan Kudeta Soeharto (The Sept. 30 Movement and Soeharto Coup de’tat) by John Roosa, Suara Gereja Bagi Umat Tertindas Penderitaan Tetesan Darah dan Cucuran Air Mata Umat Tuhan di Papua Barat Harus Diakhiri (The Voice of Churches for Suppressed People, Blood and Tears of Gods’ Congregation in West Papua) by Cocrateze Sofyan Yoman, Lekra Tak Pernah Membakar Buku: Suara Senyap Lembar Kebudayaan Harian Rakjat 1950-1965 (Lekra Never Burns Books) by Roma Dwi Aria Yuliantri and Muhidin M. Dahlan, Enam Jalan Menuju Tuhan (Six Paths to God) by Darmawan MM, andMengungkap Misteri Keberagaman Agama (Resolving the Mystery of Religious Diversity) by Syahrudin Ahmad. (E1)


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