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28 Mar 2023

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Talking with Andreas Harsono: Freedom of Opinion

Talking with Andreas Harsono: Freedom of Opinion 

By Marissa Anita and Andreas Harsono

For fifteen years, social media has become a platform or place for users to express themselves – share information, have opinions or opinions. However, if they do not understand the rules of the game using social media, users may be policed or even put into custody.

So how can we go on social media without worrying? I spoke with Andreas Harsono, a journalist and researcher for Human Rights Watch about the ethics of playing social media; about what freedom of expression is, and the importance of netizens understanding the elements of journalism in order to be able to play social media safely.

Marissa Anita (M): How can we post on social media without worrying about being polished?

Andreas Harsono (A): The simplest, every time you tweet [post], give a statement “according to (who)” and there is a link.

Remember a saying: facts are sacred, opinions are cheap.

So if you want to have an opinion or comment, be very careful. Includes re-tweets . In Indonesia, reposting, sharing or forwarding information [questionable] via Whatsapp is criminal, with a maximum [imprisonment] of five years. Even though there has never been an incident of people reposting being subject to a crime

If we look at the press council, the source of the case being litigated is anonymous – there is no source [name]. So for netizens, don’t tweet or issue something whose source is anonymous or anonymous. That’s very dangerous.

Facts are sacred, opinions are cheap.

M: So what is meant by freedom of opinion or opinion?

A: Freedom of opinion is allowed, but understand the ethics of journalism.

There are several books that say that netizens should understand the Ten Elements of Journalism. Why? With the internet (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, podcasts) everyone can be a journalist, TV and radio broadcaster. Therefore, netizens must know the ethics of journalism and Indonesian laws regarding slander and fake news. That’s a very heavy punishment. Don’t just want to get rights as journalists, but don’t know their obligations as journalists.

Freedom of opinion is allowed, but understand the ethics of journalism.

M: What are the ten ethics of journalism?

A: It’s called The Ten Elements of Journalism by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel.

(1) The aim of journalism is to preach functional truths, not theological, religious or philosophical truths. (2) The main loyalty of journalists or netizens is the public, not the payer or sponsor, not the audience. We [post] are not looking for clicks, not looking for sensation, but serving the public (3) The essence of journalism is verification, whenever we want [posting] it must be verified (4) monitoring power (5) must be proportional and comprehensive, and so on. But this tenth element is important, society has the same responsibility as journalists towards journalism.

Journalism and democracy were born together. Democracy will die with journalism too. That’s why everyone in the internet age has a responsibility for our democracy.

Everyone in the internet age has a responsibility for our democracy.

M: Does freedom of opinion protect those who spread lies, conspiracy theories and even hatred on social media?

A: Yes. But there are limits. If I tweeted and accidentally got it wrong, that’s okay. If I tweeted and accidentally because I was stupid, that’s okay. Stupid people are okay.

But if I tweet on purpose because I am evil and spread hatred to commit murder, arson, raid, vandalism, freedom of speech is not protected.

The most recent example is Donald Trump. He calls on his supporters to storm Capitol Hill. That is not freedom of speech.

So it was his Twitter and Facebook cut [permanently closed by the social media company]. It is completely legal. Under international law, Human Rights Watch agrees Donald Trump’s Twitter with 88 million followers is shut down.

M: German Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized the closure of Donald Trump’s social media account as a problematic decision because freedom of speech is a basic right. . .

A: Trump lies continuously. He’d lied on purpose, but when he ordered people to use force, storm the American parliament, it wasn’t freedom of speech or opinion.

When they [Merkel and a number of other leaders] said it was a problem, it was true. But what’s the problem? The problem is whether Twitter, Facebook, Google and Youtube can be consistent? It’s in America. What about Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Latin America? Twitter is widely used to call for violence. In Indonesia, social media is used to promote violence against Ahmadis, lesbians or gays, Christians, minorities, misogyny or hatred of women. This is a lot.

M: Lies can also destabilize the public and democracy. It’s also dangerous for democracy. So where are the limits?

A: This is indeed a complicated problem in Indonesia. In Indonesia there is a rubber article inherited from the Netherlands. In English it is called criminal defamation .

In a democratic country like Timor Leste or in many countries in Europe and the United States, there is no criminal defamation .

In Indonesia, if you lie and you lie badly, even if you don’t call for violence, you can get penalized.

If someone stupid and mean lies in the United States, that’s okay. If here (in Indonesia), go to jail.

M: Is this something true or not?

A: According to the international law of the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), when you lie, on purpose or unintentionally, it’s okay.

M: It means that the law in Indonesia should be revised?

A: That’s right. In 2005, Indonesia declared to the UN, ‘We the DPR sign the ICCPR with the consequence that Indonesian laws will be adjusted to international standards.’

But not until now. Even in the new draft of the Criminal Code, it remains, even is reproduced.

We have a problematic Criminal Code, problematic ITE, problematic Presidential Election Law and problematic Pilkada Law. Blasphemy don’t ask. There are more than a hundred articles that can send us to prison just because of a tweet.

M: Wow. . .

A: That’s why in Indonesia, even if someone is right, they can also go to prison.

M: Because there was a power play?

A: Because there is criminal defamation . If there are strong people who object?

I take the case of a teacher on the island of Lombok ( Baiq Nuril ) who was sexually harassed by a school principal. Baiq was detained, even though the contents of the recording were correct.

M: On a scale of 1 to 10, at what number is freedom of expression in Indonesia?

A: 1.

M: That’s ba d (that’s bad).

A: That’s bad . This is one of the worst in the world. Watch Out. Don’t tweet anonymously or anonymously or anonymously.

Javanese people like to say, ‘jarene, jarene, jarene’ (he said, he said, he said). That’s a danger. That is the case most often.

Don’t tweet anonymously or anonymously or anonymously.

M: Since social media existed, many users think that whatever their opinion matters (important). Medsos is a platform where experts and people who are asbun (the origin of the sound) are on the same ‘stage’. In fact, because digital literacy in Indonesia is not yet good, ultimately the experts and the smokers are considered to have the same weight when speaking. Is this an information democracy?

A: Not really. Sooner or later people will find netizens who can be trusted as role models. Indeed, there are netizens who have a large following, sensational. But sooner or later, he will lose credibility and integrity. It just takes time. That, too, provided that schools teach at least once a semester about digital literacy.

M: Social media also eliminates shared reality or shared reality – what I see on my page is different from what you see on your page. How do you see this phenomenon?

A: This is a problem. If I see a search engine (search engine) my son, I’m afraid. Many of the things he watched were not credible. When I opened my search engine, it appeared the New York Times, CBS, New Yorker, Reuters or the Associated Press. Those are all credible news sources.

We need to sue Google to open their algorithm because this algorithm can change.

In Europe, whenever they change their algorithm, it has to be opened.

But again, even if the algorithm is changed, we must intrinsically look for credible news sources.

On YouTube, there are lots of YouTubers who just get a lot of clicks. That’s a danger. Like it or not, we have to educate our children that this is not good for their future because the information they consume will affect their health in seeing the world.

Bill Keller says we have to be an informed diet. Don’t get addicted to this (Andreas picks up and shows his smartphone).

M: The algorithm also makes users no longer want to listen to different opinions. Finally polarized. This happened in Indonesia, in the United States. How good is our relationship with social media so that we can again create a space for discussion between those of us with different opinions?

A: Put simply, you have to go back to journalism, whether you are professional journalists or “part-time journalists” aka netizens.

M: But not all netizens want to be forced to learn journalism ethics. . .

A: If we don’t want to study journalism, our democracy will also be bad. If we don’t learn about the criteria for anonymous sources , the ten elements of journalism, verification, then our lives will be affected.

Like it or not, democracy and journalism affect our lives. There was a friend of mine in Jember, his son suddenly posted about something, reportedly tarnishing Islam. People who are apathetic [towards democracy and journalism]. He then called me [asking for help], I asked, ‘Do you have a passport? is there a visa? Cao (go first). ‘

Now a lot of young people are scolding on Twitter. Later, if you are looking for a difficult job, you will know the taste. Now there are companies whose HRD hires a digital company to find out if someone has said anything on social media.

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