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RKUHP Prohibits Humiliation of the President, Not Criticism

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By : Bening Arumsari)*

The Draft Criminal Code (RKHUP) mentions articles on insulting the president and vice president. This article is not meant to limit criticism, but as a limitation that must be maintained together as a civilized Indonesian society.  

Minister of Law and Human Rights (Menkumham) Yasonna H. Laoly once said that the Articles of Insult to the President are not meant to limit criticism. This is because the existing laws and regulations in Indonesia open space for criticism. Especially if the criticism is constructive criticism. Submission of criticism should also adjust to the culture of the eastern nation which is polite and civilized.

According to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), criticism is a criticism or response, or a commentary which is sometimes accompanied by descriptions and considerations of good and bad of a work, opinion, and so on. With criticism, something will be tested for its quality. In the context of state life, Indonesia as a country that adheres to the principle of democracy in principle allows everyone to criticize the government in a civilized manner.

Criticism is needed in order to create control from the people over the course of government. Control is needed so that there are no deviations and deviations which in the end will harm the lives of many people. However, if the government has answered criticism from the people with data that has proven its credibility, this should not be called an expression of an anti-critical government.

Humiliation according to the KBBI comes from the word hina, which means defamation of a person’s good name which can be done verbally and in writing. Insults are writings that cause harm to others or defame others. Humiliation is a bad thing, because individual honor must be respected. The president as head of state should have his dignity and honor protected. Insult to the President, especially coupled with the spice of lies, has indirectly lowered the nation’s self-esteem, and is not a civilized act.

Deputy Minister of Law and Human Rights (Wamenkumham) Edward Osmar Sharif Hiariej said the article relating to attacks on honor against the President and Vice President remained in the RKHUP. He emphasized that those who were exposed to criminal acts were those who insulted, and not those who made constructive criticism.

In the draft RKHUP, attacks on the honor of the President and Vice President are in Article 218, Article 219, and Article 220. In Article 218 Paragraph 1, it is stated that anyone who attacks the dignity of the President or Vice President can be punished with imprisonment for a maximum of three years. years and six months or a maximum fine of IV.

If at first glance we read the sound of the article, it seems that the government is an anti-critic figure from its people. However, what we must pay attention to is that in the next paragraph, namely Article 218 Paragraph 2, an explanation is given about criticism that does not include the criteria as an insult, namely if the act is carried out in the public interest, or in self-defense. The phrase carried out for the public interest is also explained in the explanation chapter which aims to protect the interests of the community which is expressed through the right of expression and the right to democracy. For example, giving criticism or opinions that are different from the policies that have been set by the President and Vice President.

The Elucidation of Article 218 Paragraph 2 also explains the definition of the criticism. In this explanation, three definitions of criticism to the government are mentioned. The first is to express opinions on the policies of the President and Vice President accompanied by descriptions and considerations of the pros and cons of these policies. Indirectly, this explanation emphasizes the importance of a constructive and objective criticism accompanied by alternative solutions.

Second, criticism containing disapproval of the policies or actions of the President and other Vice Presidents. Criticism like this is useful so that there is control from the community over every government policy, and the government can use criticism from the community as an evaluation for further policy determination.

Lastly, criticism is not made with malicious intent to demean or attack the dignity and/or character or personal life of the President and Vice President. This is intended so that in the future there will be no more spread of various forms of insults under the guise of insubstantial criticism of the administration. Such as juxtaposing the image of the head of state with an inappropriate image, or attacking the private life of the head of state on the basis of hatred.

The thing that needs to be emphasized from the discussion on the Article of Humiliation to the President in this RKHUP is that it is in the form of a complaint offense. The point is that this article can ensnare perpetrators of insults if the President and Vice President themselves report if they receive insults.

For information, there are seven things regarding the improvement of the RKHUP. In addition to attacking the dignity of the President and Vice President, there are 14 crucial points that will be discussed. The crucial points are the articles of law that live in society (Living Law), capital punishment, stating that you can commit a crime because you have supernatural powers, doctors or dentists who carry out their work without permission, Contempt of court, birds that damage gardens that have been sown seeds, articles on fraudulent advocates, blasphemy, animal abuse, contraceptives for pregnancy and abortion, vagrancy, abortion, adultery, cohabitation, and rape.

Criticizing government policies is a form of implementing democracy in our country. With constructive criticism, the policy will run in accordance with the needs of the community and the national interest. Humiliation is not part of the criticism, because its purpose can lead to defamation, and is not very substantial to the course of policy in government. Let’s be a smart society, who fully supports all policies that bring goodness to Indonesia.

)* The author is a Contributor for Pertiwi Institute

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