Why Would I Be Afraid of a Mural: President Jokowi

Diana Mariska
'404: Not Found' mural in Batuceper, Tangerang.
'404: Not Found' mural in Batuceper, Tangerang. - President Joko Widodo asked the police to respect democracy and freedom of expression as Indonesia’s democracy index declined. The President also highlighted the declining index as a result of arbitrary arrests made by the police in the past.

“Pay attention to the declining freedom of speech index because [our actions are] monitored by the public. There’s perception that the police is quick to make arrests,” Widodo said in Badung, Bali, on Friday, December 3, 2021.

He also spoke about a certain mural that got national attention in August. Located in Batuceper, Tangerang, a painting that resembled the President’s face with the word ‘404: Not Found’ became national headlines for a few weeks. Authorities later removed the mural, and police investigated two witnesses to find the artist.

Widodo said the removal was unnecessary, and law enforcers should opt for dialogic and persuasive approach in dealing with similar matter. He also said he has no issue with being criticized by the public.

“I’ve checked that it should’ve been handled by the Sectoral Police [district-level police unit], but [the mural] was removed instead. The commanders should’ve been informed that it was a trivial issue.

“It’s just a mural. I’ve been insulted, criticized, slandered. Why would I be afraid of a mural? Be careful, it’s part of a freedom of speech,” he added.

The former Jakarta governor reminded that Indonesia is a democratic country that protect freedom of expression. And criticism should be handled with certain approach instead. He warned against police making an arrest every time a criticism is expressed.

“If it disturbs the order, [police] can process. But if not, then don’t. This is a democratic country. We respect the freedom of expression and listen to the aspirations.”

Tag # president joko widodo # joko widodo # jokowi # police # freedom of speech # freedom of expression # democracy

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