Government to be Moderate in Press Law Revision
Friday, 15 June, 2007 | 14:01 WIB

Tempo Interactive, Jakarta: Information and Communication Minister, Muhammad Nuh, stressed that the revision of Press Decree No. 40/1999 is fully up to the press community.

The government, he said, will not take initiatives regarding the amendment. “Whether the Press Decree is worth revising or not, we leave it to the press,” he said yesterday (14/6).

He also confirmed that the revision will not be included in his department's working program next year if the press community does not want some changes. “What's more important, the government doesn't have any intention to ban the media.”

The content of the Press Decree revision invoked criticism from the press circle. Head of the Press and Broadcasting Community, Leo Batubara, regarded the draft as authoritative and has indications of undermining the freedom of press. This is because, several new points emphasize censoring, banning and program prevention by the government against media.

According to Chairman of the Indonesian Television Journalists Association, Imam Wahyudi, the content of the Press Decree revision, which is currently in the hands of the Press Council, shows the government's strong will to control the press once again. “This must be fought against,” he said yesterday.

Imam stressed that Article 4 Paragraph 5 about banning is an ambiguous Article that may be easily used to restrict the media. This provision, he said, makes efforts to build the freedom of press in the reformation era useless. “Who can interpret the Article? This is like at the time of New Order era,” he said.

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