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Indonesia Govt bans civil servants from expressing support on social media for participants in elections

Indonesia’s government restricts civil servants from endorsing candidates in the upcoming elections on social media to ensure electoral neutrality and professionalism.

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INDONESIA: In a move aimed at ensuring neutrality and professionalism among civil servants during elections, the Indonesian government has issued a joint decree prohibiting civil servants from expressing support for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as other election participants, on social media platforms.

The decree, officially known as “Joint Decision Number 2 of 2022 on Guidelines for the Development and Supervision of Neutrality of Civil Servants in the Implementation of General Elections and Elections”, was signed by five government officials representing key ministries and agencies.

The signatories of the decree include the Minister of Home Affairs, the Minister of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, the Acting Head of the State Civil Apparatus Agency, the Chairman of the General Elections Supervisory Board, and the Chairman of the Civil Service Commission. This significant development in Indonesia’s election regulations was officially announced last Friday (22 Sep).

The primary objective of the joint decree is to foster a sense of neutrality and professionalism among civil servants while ensuring the quality and integrity of general elections and other electoral processes in the country.

Key provisions of the joint decree include:

  1. Prohibition of Social Media Activities:

Civil servants are forbidden from expressing support for presidential and vice-presidential candidates, as well as other election participants, by liking, commenting, sharing, following, or joining groups or social media accounts associated with them.

  1. Regulation of Social Media Campaigns:

The decree outlines guidelines for civil servants regarding their participation in social media campaigns related to potential candidates for various positions in elections, such as President, Vice President, Members of the DPR (People’s Consultative Assembly), DPD (Regional Representative Council), DPRD (Regional People’s Representative Council), Governor, Vice Governor, Regent, Vice Regent, Mayor, and Deputy Mayor.

  1. Restrictions on Active Support:

Civil servants are prohibited from actively attending declarations or campaign events of potential candidates and providing active support or involvement.

  1. Limitations on Social Media Engagement:

Civil servants are not allowed to create posts, comments, shares, likes, or follow accounts or groups affiliated with potential candidates.

  1. Ban on Partisan Imagery:

Civil servants are also barred from taking photos with campaign teams that display partisan symbols, wearing political party attributes, or using images of presidential and vice-presidential candidates, legislative candidates, gubernatorial candidates, regental and municipal candidates, and their respective running mates as backgrounds in photos.

  1. Restrictions on Posting Photos with Election Participants:

The decree prohibits civil servants from uploading photos of themselves with election participants, including presidential and vice-presidential candidates, legislative candidates, gubernatorial candidates, regional and municipal candidates, and their respective running mates, on social media platforms.

Illustration: Civil Servants

Sanctions for Violation: Any civil servant found in violation of these guidelines will face moral sanctions, as per Article 15, Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of Government Regulation No. 42 of 2004.

These sanctions may be conveyed privately or publicly by the relevant personnel authorities and could include written reprimands or public statements.

This joint decree underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring a fair and unbiased electoral process and maintaining the professionalism of civil servants during elections. It also reflects the authorities’ intention to uphold the principles of neutrality and impartiality in the civil service, particularly during crucial electoral events.

As the country prepares for upcoming elections, the government is likely to intensify efforts to educate civil servants about the new guidelines and their implications for their social media activities.

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