Concerns over lack of free speech in universities

As Indonesian universities have imposed stricter rules in regard to certain forms of expression, activists have voiced their concerns over the possible suppression of free speech in higher education institutions, writes Tri Indah Oktavianti for The Jakarta Post.

Speaking in a webinar last Tuesday, Era Purnama Sari of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) said university campuses had turned repressive and targeted academics with defamation charges under the Electronic Information and Transactions Law.

“[University] campuses are being repressive and we need to ask why,” she said. “Campuses are supposed to be a place where a subset of ideas that might be considered taboo are challenged.” Era referred to a case implicating Saiful Mahdi, a lecturer from Syiah Kuala University in Banda Aceh, who was named a suspect in a defamation case in September 2019 after he criticised the result of a civil servant test for engineering school lecturers in the university’s WhatsApp chat group comprising around 100 lecturers.
Full report on The Jakarta Post site