Six Online Petitions That Change Ordinance in 2016

BY :DIELLA YASMINE

DECEMBER 26, 2016

Jakarta. Six online petitions created by netizens on Change.org changed the course of social, environmental and legal issues in Indonesia this year, the website's co-founder said during a press conference in Tebet, South Jakarta, Thursday (22/12).

Change.org is a social platform which allows anyone to launch their own petition and mobilize support in an effort to affect change from the local to global level.

Co-founder Usman Hamid said the website itself does not provide advocacy.

“We allow everyone to file petitions regarding any topics,” he said. “However, petitions containing SARA [ethnicity, religion, race and inter-group relations] will be reviewed prior to publication.”

This year, a petition condemning the dismissal of Jakarta State University student, Ronny, who criticized the university's rector through social media topped the most successful petitions with 50,000 signatures.

Netizens used the #SaveRonny hashtag, which trended on Twitter, to protest Ronny's dismissal from his campus in a campaign which eventually say Ronny reinstated as a student at the university.

The second-most successful petition was for TV technician Kusrin, which reached 27,000 signatures. The petitions came after Kusrin failed to receive a permit for his TV repair and building business.

The Karanganyar Prosecutors Officer destroyed 161 televisions made by Kusrin Jan. 10, prompting outrage across social media and the launch of the petition.

Kusrin was eventually given government support in securing a patent from Research and Technology Minister Muhammad Nasir and received praise from President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo. 

Following closely behind, Indonesian-French Gloria Natapradja Hamel, a student who was dismissed from the national Independence Day flag-raising ceremony, won the support of 25,000 netizens. Gloria was removed from the ceremony Her French passport was the main cause of the dismissal in the first place.

After the petition and an open letter penned by Gloria addressed to Jokowi, Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly reinvited her to join the flag-lowering team. She also became a flag raiser in a separate ceremony hosted by the Sports and Youth Ministry and was appointed a youth ambassador.

A massive protest was sparked after the Ministry of Communications and Technology announced a plan to ban Tumblr due to pornographic content. Around 14,000 people signed a petition to reject the decision, which was ultimately dumped.

A 11,000 strong petition, led by Jakartan Dewi Anggraeni, rejected a proposed legal revision which would make it easier for graft convicts to be freed from prison early. Public pressure saw Jokowi scrap the plan.

"A month after the petition was spread, President Jokowi finally heard our voice," Dewi said as quoted by Change.org.

Muhamad Amrie, who created a petition after visiting Watu Dodol in Banyuwangi, East Java, rounded out the year's top petitions. After his visit to the beach, he was shocked to find many tourists catching turtles and sharks. The East Java Nature Conservation Agency (BBKSDA) immediately responded and now has a stronger presence in the area.

Change.org has seen thousands of new petitions this year and has garnered almost 2 million new users by the end of 2016.

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