Three Journalists Have Been Imprisoned in the Jokowi-Ma’ruf Era Using the Snare of the ITE Law

Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —

Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Legal Aid Institute (LBH) The press recorded at least three journalist had been imprisoned during the second term of Joko Widodo’s administration.

LBH Pers director Ade Wahyudin said the three journalists were charged with the Electronic Information and Transactions Law (UU ITE). In fact, according to him, the pattern is the same.

They were charged with using articles related to insults, defamation and spreading hoaxes.

The next pattern is that the three cases are still being processed in court even though the Press Council has stated that the product in question is a journalistic work. Ade said that press disputes should be processed at the Press Council.

“For example, if he is indeed a journalistic work, there should be a press dispute mechanism or a settlement through the Press Law. If he violates the code of ethics, the sanctions are ethical, not legal,” Ade said to, Wednesday (24/11).

“This has the potential to set a bad precedent for our freedom of the press,” he added.

The following are three journalists who have been and or are currently imprisoned for being charged with the ITE Law for their journalistic work.

Muhammad Asrul

Journalist Muhammad Asrul was sentenced to three months in prison by the Palopo District Court, South Sulawesi after trying to dismantle the alleged corruption case in Palopo through his three articles published in

The three news stories in question are the results of Asrul’s coverage. However, Asrul was accused of violating the article on defamation because he mentioned the name of the son of the Mayor of Palopo in his journalistic work.

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The Panel of Judges at the Palopo District Court stated that Asrul was legally and convincingly proven to have violated Article 45 paragraph 1 in conjunction with Article 27 paragraph 3 of the ITE Law on Tuesday (23/11).

The three headlines written by Asrul were then questioned, namely: Crown Prince Palopo Allegedly ‘Mastermind’ Corruption PLTNH and Chips Zaro Rp11M, published on May 10, 2019; Smell of Corruption Revitalizing Palopo Pancasila Field Allegedly Dragged Farid Judas, published May 24, 2019; Volume II Corruption of Rp5 Billion West Ring Road, Investigator’s Signal For Faird Judas?, published May 25, 2019.

Previously, Asrul was also detained on January 30-5 March 2020 after being examined and undergoing a BAP by investigators on January 29. Asrul was only released on March 5 after the Press Council sent a letter to the South Sulawesi Regional Police.

The letter contains an affirmation that the case against Asrul is in the realm of journalism. Asrul then got out of police custody. However, the case continues and finally Asrul is now back in prison.


Former Chief Editor of Banjarhits, Diananta Putra Sumedi was detained for 3.5 months at the Kotabaru Police Rutan. Diananta was detained because he was considered to have written news that was allegedly offensive to SARA and was charged with Article 28 of the ITE Law.

Diananta’s news in question is entitled Land Seized by Jhonlin, Dayak Complains to the South Kalimantan Police which was posted on on 9 November 2019.

The Press Council in a letter numbered 02/P-DP/VIII/200 said that the work should have been completed by referring to Law no. 40 of 1999 concerning the Press, is not brought into the realm of crime.

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Mohammad Sadli Saleh

Journalist Mohamad Sadli Saleh was sentenced to two years in prison by the Panel of Judges at the Pasarwajo District Court, Buton Regency, Southeast Sulawesi.

The judge assessed that Sadli was found guilty of spreading information and causing hatred in the community through his writings.

Sadli was sued by the Regent of Central Buton because of the news entitled Abracadabra: Simpang Lima Labungkari Transformed into a Quadruple.

Sadli is accused of violating Article 45 paragraph (2) Jo Article 28 paragraph (2), Article 45 paragraph (3) Jo Article 27 paragraph (3) of Law No. 19 of 2016 on changes to Law No. 11 of 2008 on Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE ).

Head of the Advocacy Division of AJI Indonesia, Erick Tanjung said that recently, Metro Aceh journalist Bahrul Walidin was also sued using Article 27 paragraph 3 in conjunction with Article 45 paragraph 3 of the ITE Law.

He was reported after writing news related to fraud to the Aceh Police on August 24, 2020. Currently, the case is still under investigation.

“Now Bahrul’s case has moved up to the investigation stage at the Aceh Police,” Erick told, Wednesday (24/11).

Apart from being policed, journalists are also vulnerable to violence. Based on the LBH Pers annual report, in 2020 there were 117 cases of violence against journalists. This number increased dramatically compared to 2019, where violence was recorded as many as 79 cases.

Meanwhile, based on AJI Indonesia’s records, in the period 2014-2021 aka during Jokowi’s presidency, violence against journalists reached 473 cases.

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[Gambas:Video CNN]