Cartoons of Prophet Muhammed in the Internet Age: Indonesia
For example, one ministers or high rank military phoned newspaper
not to publish a military plane crash, before we knew there was a
crash. In the early of 1990s, “Monitor”, the biggest tabloid in
Indonesia had been banned because it put Prophet Mohammad at number 8
in the list of 10 most popular people. Arswendo Atmowiloto, Chief
Editor of Monitor sentenced to jail for 5 years, fined $5,000. In 1995,
trial for dissident intellectual Permadi Satrio Wiwoho.
However, what were considered sacred in the Soeharto’s era were not
Islam, but his policies and families. Newspapers were strictly
restricted to mention or criticize these two areas. In 1994, Soeharto
banned “Tempo” and “Editor” magazine and “DeTik” tabloid because of
their report on ‘something behind’ Habibie’s policy to buy used ship
from Germany. Such situation continued in the Habibie’s era.
President Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur brought a lot of changes.
Especially for the media. Press freedom was really happened in this
era. No more telephone, no more banning, nor subversion law.
Unfortunately, less than one year, Megawati Soekarnoputri replaced him.
She did not use the banning of the press, but did not like to talk or
to meet the press. What considered holy and sacred in this era was not
much different from Soeharto’s.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) and Vice President Jusuf
Kalla (JK), seem to bring Indonesia back to the Soeharto’s era. Not
friendly enough with critics, but used banning of the press in a
different way. “Republik BBM (Benar-Benar Mabok/Deeply Drunken
Republic)”, TV Show which was a parody of SBY-JK government, suddenly
disappeared. Though, JK denied the assumption of his government
interference, still, the parody is no longer showed on TV.
For us, the “9/11 attack” continued by US invasion to Afghanistan
and Iraq was only caused of the rising of Islam and the awakening of
the fundamentalist. After the attack, Islamic militant groups like the
FPI (Front Pembela Islam/Islamic Movement Front), The Mujahiddin,
Gerakan Pemuda Hizbullah (Hizbullah Youth Movement), and even an
ethnical militant group like FBR (Forum Betawi Rempug), have stronger
power than the government. Betawi is the Jakarta’s original ethnic.
They seems to have legal right to abandon and reject all new
churches proposals, burning and closing down churches, and dismissing
monthly “Holy Mary” prayer in Yogyakarta. The closing down of “St.
Bernadette Catholic Church” in Ciledug, Jakarta, where I belong to, in
2004, was one example of their power. It happened since 2002, where 9
churches were burning down, 5 churches destroyed, continued in 2004
where 2 churches were closed and in 2005, 4 churches were also closed.
But, none of them even goes to jail or to be questioned. And the
media can only write a very tiny fact on this problem. Because, what
the media is facing now, is no longer banning of the press or such a
subversion law, but a threat of 30-40 militants with knife or Kukri
(Gurkha’s long knife).
PRESS FREEDOM VS. BLASPHEMY