Let's Slag Off SBY
I don't actually have any here because I'm an expat, but if I did have democratic rights there are some I couldn't have exercised until yesterday. I could not have called SBY a "%$@*& anchor" for example, nor could I have burned him in effigy, let alone publish a photoshopped picture of him having a gay old time
with Suharto's eldest son.
But now, the Constitutional Court has scrapped three articles in the old criminal code which, according to this quote from the Jakarta Post, undermined the country's process
(sic) toward democracy and caused confusion because they were subject to subjective interpretations
. (This presumably indicates that the Court does not object to objective interpretations.)
The criminal and civil codes are still largely based on the Dutch colonial law which was often used by Suharto during his thirty years in power to silence his critics. Having published the picture of SBY linked to above, I could have faced up to six years in jail. Thankfully, I can now breath easier, as can those activists who are campaigning for the rights of all those who have little protection because they are not among the élite.
It is worrying that four of the nine judges dissented from this ruling saying that the President's dignity must be protected. I've always believed that respect has to be earned and, on that score, SBY is doing well. If he were photoshopped cavorting with a dangdut singer
, for example, I'm sure he would be big enough to rise above it.