Authorities in Aceh province began tearing down several small Christian churches on Oct. 19, 2015 after hard-line Muslims demanded their closure, citing a lack of building permits, and following religious violence. (AFP Photo/Dian Majni)

Police Step Up Fight Against Hate Speech

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ

NOVEMBER 02, 2015

Jakarta. The National Police have issued a circular ordering all officers to counter any form of hate speech, a spokesman for the police said on Monday.

National Police Chief Gen. Badrodin Haiti earlier last month signed a circular stipulating that all police officers must be vigilant and respond immediately to any reports of alleged hate speech.

"The police have a moral responsibility to prevent such clashes and also to erase the stigma that Indonesian people like violence," said Ins. Gen. Anton Charliyan, a spokesman for the police, on Monday.

The circular cites Indonesia's Criminal Code (KUHP) which defines hate speech as libel, defamation, unpleasant conduct, provocation, inciting violence and spreading lies.

The Code also states that hate speech includes inflicting hatred based on ethnicity, religion, belief, race, sexual orientation, skin color and disability.

Hate speech can be spread through different platforms such as campaign orations, posters, fliers, religious sermons, social and mass media and rallies, the Code says.

The circular also instructs officers to disband any hate speech incited riots through non-violent means, Anton said.

In recent weeks, Indonesia has seen several incidents of religious violence in Papua in July and Aceh last month.

"This is not our way to shut down freedom of speech and I believe that nobody agrees with expressing hate speech," Anton said.

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