/   Advocacy, Artistic Freedom, Press Release

Koalisi Seni, with the support from UNESCO, has developed a platform for artistic freedom violations in Indonesia. 

Jakarta – Koalisi Seni has launched its latest initiative to improve the artistic freedom quality in Indonesia. Supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Koalisi Seni will carry out a program to implement artistic freedom in Indonesia from 2022-2024. “One of our main activities is developing a monitoring platform of artistic freedom violations,” said Koalisi Seni Chairman Kusen Alipah Hadi in Jakarta, July 29, 2022.

Kusen explained that artistic freedom violations in Indonesia so far can be acknowledged and monitored only in media, and the documentation of non-profit organizations on human rights. That is why not all the cases can be recorded. “That drives Koalisi Seni to develop a better mechanism; we hope someday, people will be able to report artistic freedom violations, and we can also verify it according to the procedure.”

Koalisi Seni also will compile and publish a guidebook for artists to provide information on artistic freedom, mitigation of potential violations, and the steps to be taken if their rights are violated; so that the artists can demand protection from the state which is obliged to fulfill it. In addition, there will be a series of communication campaigns and dissemination to improve knowledge of the artists and public about artistic freedom, monitoring mechanism, how to run manuals, and get help when their rights are violated.

This series of action plans will involve as many stakeholders and policymakers as possible: Koalisi Seni members, art activists, art educational institutions, legal aid and human rights organizations, related ministries, and state institutions. “So, this is a joint work of all parties,” said the Koalisi Seni Supervisory Board Linda Hoemar Abidin. The action was supported by a grant from the International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD) managed by UNESCO. This year, IFCD grants were only given to nine programs from Bolivia, Chile, Guinea, Indonesia, Colombia, Nigeria, Palestine, Seychelles, and East Timor.

This grant aims to strengthen the artistic freedom advocacy of Koalisi Seni, which has released the Study on Artistic Freedom Library in Indonesia 2010-2020. The study published in 2020 found that the reformation spirit has sharpened identity politics, which is used by the state to control its citizens. Instead of protecting minorities, the legal process is misused to inhibit ideas that are contrary to the majority opinion. The main issues utilized to ban art activities are communism, religion, and LGBT. There were 57 violation cases recorded during 2010-2020.

Throughout 2021, monitoring of artistic freedom violations presented a gloomy picture: the Covid-19 pandemic has been used by the state to cancel some art activities, with double standard rules. The art events involving government officials can still be held, but other events are not allowed. In 2021, 48 artistic freedom violation cases were recorded.

The Koalisi Seni is optimistic that this initiative with UNESCO will bring a long-term positive impact on the art ecosystem. Later on, the artistic freedom data will be reported once in four years by UNESCO Quadrennial Periodic Report on Measures to Protect and Promote the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. “But we can also use the data as reference in upholding artistic freedom,” said the Koalisi Seni Advocacy Manager Hafez Gumay.

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