The government of Indonesia must hear civil society’s call, and scrap a regulation that enables arbitrary website blocking — undermining freedom of expression and denying access to information.
Today, May 3, Access Now, Open Net Korea, and Electronic Frontier Foundation filed an amicus curiae submission challenging the validity of Ministerial Regulation 5/2020 (MR5), which empowers the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (Kominfo) to block websites on grounds that are overbroad, and which do not comply with international human rights law and Indonesia’s constitution.
Indonesia’s Administrative Court must immediately curb the overbroad website blocking powers MR5 hands over to authorities. If they’re not in line with Indonesia’s constitution and international law, they’re simply not permissible. People have the right to freely access and share information online, and no government should be allowed to deprive workers of hard-earned income hosted by sites like PayPal.Golda Benjamin, Asia-Pacific Campaigner at Access Now
The submission was filed in a suit relating to Kominfo’s blocking of at least eight websites, including Yahoo, Steam, and PayPal last year. The operators had not registered within a six-month stipulated deadline. The stringent registration guidelines would have required them to allow law enforcement access to their data and systems. These blockings caused serious inconvenience to many people relying on them for work and personal use.
The submission argues that MR5’s blocking powers undermine international human rights law and Indonesia’s constitution in providing Kominfo with arbitrary executive powers to overbroadly block sites and online expression and information without narrowly defined necessary and proportionate limitations. Lacking strict guidelines, the law risks violation of free expression, and economic and cultural rights.
The amicus brief was submitted to the Jakarta State Administrative Court where the case against MR5 was filed by the Alliance of Independent Journalists Indonesia and Union of Media and Creative Industries Workers for Democracy. Access Now and other civil society organizations have called on the Kominfo urging them to repeal MR5 for non-compliance with international human rights standards.