By : S. Riyanta *)
REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, The needs of citizens to express their opinions in public have been accommodated by the state through the Law of the Republic of Indonesia Number 9 of 1998 concerning Freedom of Expression in Public. Demonstrations as a way to express their opinions in public must be made with the observance of the Law No. 9 of 1998. If the protest violated the Act is categorized unconstitutional activities which can be dealt with firmly by the law enforcement.
As a citizen's rights, express opinions in public with a form of protest are legitimate. But too often the protest weigh just as the citizens' right side, the other side is an obligation to obey the law governing freedom of expression in public, sometimes even violated.
In presenting their opinions in public, in accordance with article 6 of Law No. 9 of 1998, citizens are obliged to respect the rights and freedoms of others. This chapter also regulates the obligation to obey the laws and regulations applicable law.
Demonstrators are also required to maintain and respect the security and public order. The most important article 6 of Law No. 9 of 1998, mainly exposed in the context of the life of the nation, is the duty of citizens who express opinions in public to maintain the integrity of national unity. It must be maintained and realized by all Indonesian citizens.
According to article 9 of Law No. 9 of 1998 stated that the demonstrations can be carried out in the open to the public, except; in the presidential palace, a place of worship, military installations, hospitals, seaports, airports, railway stations, terminals, and national vital objects, as well as on national holidays. It should be emphasized that the Presidential Palace and the place of worship is forbidden to protest, let alone as a target of protests.
In addition to the above, in Article 9 of Law No. 9 of 1998 stipulates that the delivery of the opinion participants prohibited from carrying objects that could endanger public safety. The obligation to notify the plan rallies in writing to the Police later than 3x24 hours before the event was also organized as a civic duty in accordance with Article 9 of Law No. 9 of 1998.
Rules on the spot demonstrations and obligation to report hours before activity begins to be obeyed by citizens protesting. Whatever the name, the motive and the purpose of the rally, the rule should be run. Law enforcement officers do not have to worry to act decisively to enforce the rule.
Assertiveness apparatus particularly in action to break up the protest is guaranteed by article 15 of Law No. 9 of 1998. The article can be interpreted that the rally may be dissolved if it violates the rules of the location, the ban on carrying objects that endanger public safety, and does not undertake written notice to the Police. In addition to be dissolved by the police, demonstrators who violate the law can be subject to legal sanctions (Article 16).
Interest person or group of expression in public is to make his opinion known and aspirations can be channeled, to be heard and implemented. But not infrequently there are those who express opinions in public in certain ways to impose its will. These parties do the ways that demonstrate its strength as a weapon that his wishes fulfilled.
Demonstrations may also be done for the perpetrators of the protest could not or would not use such a formal way through a lawsuit or trial. Another possibility is that this party is not possible through a lawsuit or judicial means recognizing that it is not supported or opposed to the legislation. Finally, how demonstrations by mobilizing the masses do.
Democracy in Indonesia already has a mechanism for citizens to express their opinions, especially through representatives chosen by the people to be legislators. Representatives of the people that should be able to dig and sound accommodate public aspirations select it, then these aspirations assessed to be realized and implemented by the authority in the legislature.
With so many demonstrations in Indonesia would have raised the question whether legislators as representatives directly elected by the people cannot be a maximum of aspiration electorate? Of course this country will be more beautiful if public opinion and aspirations could be accommodated and studied in an institution esteemed legislative that can be applied in accordance with the regulations. If the legislator, which should be representative of the people to express their opinions and aspirations, less than the maximum then it becomes an expression of reasonableness if the activities occur in the streets.
Expression in public is the right of citizens guaranteed by the Act, with its obligation to comply with the Act is implemented. The wishes and interests of certain parties naturally delivered through public opinion, but not to the wishes and interests of certain parties that actually beat the interest of community or country at large. The amount of mass that expression is not necessarily describe that is beneficial to the public interest especially for the country.
Hiding behind the masses of people and situations that seemed difficult to control is not being a justification for violating the act. Democracy in Indonesia should be maintained so as not to lead to an unconstitutional activity. One way to maintain the state that upholds democracy is to obey and enforce the law in force.
*) The author is an alumnus of the Graduate Studies in Strategic Intelligence, University of Indonesia, living in Jakarta.