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Jakarta, November 8, 2016: Two years after the European Union first asserted a person’s “right to be forgotten,” or the removal of objectionable search results, Indonesia has moved toward including a similar provision in its Internet law. If enforced, it would be the most stringent such measure in the world because it would target not just search results, but also original content.
Civil liberties activists and journalists are concerned about its implications in a country where censorship is steadily on the rise. It’s not the law itself that worries them, but omissions in its initial wording.
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“This new law doesn’t mention anything regarding freedom of the press,” Arfi Bambani, Secretary General of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, told VOA. “That’s why we think it could be a threat to press freedom. Anyone might request a court order, with impunity, to erase negative news about them in digital media.”
Whose right to be forgotten?
Article 26 of the revised Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE) law would enable people to “request the deletion of published information if it is deemed to have become irrelevant,” according to the Jakarta Post. It’s aimed at criminals who were acquitted and want to clear their name. Many worry that it will be misused by politicians.
“This provision may become a tool of the government… for censoring news, media and journalist publication[s]” said Indonesia’s Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), in a statement.
The clause is one of several proposed revisions to ITE that passed in the House on October 27. Other topics that are addressed include cyberbullying and libel. Indonesia’s Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara ((EDS: one name)) suggested on Twitter that the amendments were essentially minor tweaks to modernize the ITE, which dates to 2008.
Since these are revisions and not a brand new law, the timeline for their enactment is greatly condensed, said Heru Sutadi, of the ICT Institute. Usually, it takes about two years for a law to go from draft to federal approval, but the revised ITE could apply within months.
Once the House finalizes the wording, all that’s left is for President Joko Widodo, widely known as Jokowi, to put it on the state record and it will immediately be in effect.
It’s disappointing that Parliament did not seek public opinion when drafting the revised ITE law, said Supriyadi Widodo Eddyono, ICJR’s executive director.
“The Parliament and the government blocked public access to the revision, and the whole discussion was private and confidential. That seems to have been intentional,” he told VOA. “Now it’s too late for the public to have any meaningful input.”
Doubts about application
One official who was involved in ITE deliberations claimed that “all internet content providers,” from newspapers to Google, would be forced to comply with the law. Google could not immediately be reached for comment.
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“We have to force [content providers] to comply with the law. If they neglect a court order to delist unwanted online stories, they have to be punished,” Henri Subiakto, a professor and staff member at the Communications and Information Ministry, told The Jakarta Post.
But experts are skeptical whether the government really has such capacity or ability.
“The criteria for deleting content are not precise,” Eddyono told VOA. “And the government’s authority is too broad to delete web sites. Plus, the procedure for doing so is still unclear in the legislation.” What’s more, he said, a court order to delete any content would not be legally binding.
The EU precedent
Another reason implementing the right to be forgotten would be difficult in Indonesia, as opposed to the European Union, is that Indonesia does not have strong protections on personal data, said Wahyudi Djafar, a researcher at the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (ELSAM).
“The EU has good, strong regulations on data protection, and the right to be forgotten is interwoven into that framework,” he said. “Here, I suspect that content removal could be abused with impunity. I think Article 26 is protecting the Parliament’s political interests, not those of citizens or journalists.”
Djafar proposed the creation of an independent body to field content removal requests under Article 26, since the Indonesian courts “have problems with capacity in regulating technology.” He also hoped that the government would wait to enforce Article 26 until a federal personal data protection act, which is currently being drafted, passes into law, likely in 2017.
Still, Indonesian officials have cited the EU as inspiration for their own law.
A major milestone in the development of a right to be forgotten framework was a 2014 case in which a Spanish man petitioned Google to remove a link to an outdated article about his home foreclosure because he had since paid off the debt. The European Court of Justice ruled in favor of the man, Mario Costeja Gonzalez.
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“Seeing the Spanish man’s case, the right to be forgotten should be adopted in Indonesia,” said Subiakto, last week.
“But can a local court here really order Google to erase something?” wondered Bambani, of the journalists’ alliance. “I doubt it… that’s why we think the mind behind this law is not targeting companies like Google, but us, the local press and media. We worry that this will just be a way for politicians to erase their bad behavior from the record.” (VOA)
Among the Tamil epics written during the Sangam age, only a few survived to this day. Manimegalai is one such. It is written as a sequel to the Sillapadikaram, taking the story forward of Kovalan and Madhavi's daughter, Manimegalai. The Sillapadikaram is about the injustice of the Madurai kingdom in the execution of Kovalan, which turned Kannagi, his wife into a goddess seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Kovalan, before his death, has an affair with a court dancer, Madhavi, and his daughter, Manimegalai, is said to begin a different tradition among the Tamils.
The epic, written by Sattanar, introduces Buddhism to Dravidian culture, something that has been alien to them for years. Manimegalai is the protagonist, who flees constantly from the pursuit of Chola prince Udhayakumara, and tries to lead an ascetic life. Throughout the plot, Buddhist tenets are used to avoid the culmination of a love-story. Manimegalai is believed to be the anti-love story sequel to the Sillapadikaram.
A complete work of Tamil epic written by hand on leaves Image source: wikimedia commons
The Sillapadikaram was written by a Jain monk, Illango Adigal, and Sattanar, uses the sequel to question Jainism. It is almost a political battle between two new religions competing for a place in a predominantly Hindu society. Parts of Manimegalai even go to the extent of opening ridiculing Jain practices and beliefs.
Critics of Tamil literature have stated that while the Tamil epics have great poetic significance, they are inferior to other world epics when it comes to clearly portraying religious affiliations. In fact, they refer to the newer religions with an infant's perspective. Some scholars have found that Sillapadikaram has more ethical substance than its sequel, but in and of itself, despite being written by a Jain monk, reads like Hindu poetry (Subhramanya Aiyar, 1906).
Keywords: Manimegalai, Sillapadikaram, Tamil Epic, Sattanar, Ilango Adigal, Chola kingdom, Sangam Age, Buddhism
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. In its Ecoscope report, Motilal Oswal Financial Services, said: "With Covid-19 hurting India's 'Household' (HH) and 'Government' sectors adversely, the continuity of strong consumption growth is in question."
"On the contrary, with listed companies' financial positions improving and an uptick in household investments in the Real Estate sector (called physical savings), the narrative of investment-led recovery is gaining momentum." The report prescribed that various economic participants - households, governments, listed companies, and unlisted corporates -- to increase their fixed asset investments in the immediate future based on their financial position.
The Covid-19 pandemic could act as an inflection point to shift India's growth model from being consumption driven to investments-led. | Photo by Fusion Medical Animation on Unsplash
At present, the listed and unlisted corporate sector accounts for only about half of total investments in India. The 'HH' sector including unincorporated enterprises accounts for 35-40 per cent in India's investments, while the remaining 12-13 per cent is contributed by centre and states governments. Besides, the report cited that demand environment is expected to remain subdued due to weak financial position of 'HH' and government sector.
"Despite household investments picking up strongly in 2HFY21, given that Indian households bore the maximum brunt of Covid-led losses in CY20 (and CY21), we believe household spending would remain subdued over the next few years." It further pointed out that unless 'HH', 'Unlisted Corporate', and government sectors can improve their financial positions -- leading to a demand uptick -- a strong revival in investments seems challenging. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: India, covid, pandemic, growth, household, government, investment
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that next time the Dragon spacecraft will have food warmer and free WiFi. Taking to Twitter, the crew of Inspiration4 shared a checklist of things they have been enjoying while orbiting safely around the Earth.
"Can't believe we're eating cold pizza in space. It's extraordinary!" Inspiration4 tweeted. In response, Musk apologised for the cold food, saying: "Sorry, it was cold! Dragon will have food warmer and free WiFi next time."
Inspiration4 Crew | Wikimedia Commons
After lifting off for space, SpaceX's Inspiration4, the first all-civilian crew, is healthy, happy and doing well in the orbit, the company said recently. The mission lifted off at 8.02 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday (5.30 am IST on Thursday) aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft from the historic Launch Complex 39 in NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It is commanded by tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman who has been joined by medical officer Haley Arceneaux, a pediatric cancer survivor; Mission Specialist Chris Sembroski, an Air Force veteran and aerospace data engineer; and Mission Pilot Sian Proctor, a geoscientist, entrepreneur and trained pilot. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Elon Musk, SpaceX, Inspiration4, Dragon, Wifi, food