Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Indonesia records new high in democracy index, despite lower score in freedom of expression

Aug 05. 2020
A member of a polling station working committee (KPPS) hands over plastic gloves to a voter during a simulation for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections in the grounds of the General Elections Commission (KPU) in Jakarta on July 22. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)
A member of a polling station working committee (KPPS) hands over plastic gloves to a voter during a simulation for the 2020 simultaneous regional elections in the grounds of the General Elections Commission (KPU) in Jakarta on July 22. (JP/Dhoni Setiawan)
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By Nina Loasana
The Jakarta Post/ANN

Indonesia scored 74.92 points out of 100 in the 2019 democracy index, up by 2.53 points from the previous year, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) reported on Tuesday.

The latest Indonesian Democracy Index (IDI) score is the highest the country has ever recorded since BPS launched the evaluation program in 2009.

The IDI has three possible ratings: poor (below 60 points), fair (60-80 points) and good (above 80 points). Based on this scale, Indonesia's democracy, with its 74.92 points in the 2019 IDI, could be categorized as “fair”.

Although Indonesia saw better democratic performance, BPS also reported setbacks in several democracy variables in 2019.

Indonesia saw a decrease in the freedom of speech score, from 66.17 points in 2018 to 64.29 points in 2019, while the freedom of assembly score also went down from 82.35 points to 78.03 points in the same period. The country also recorded a lower score in the role of political parties, from 82.10 points in 2018 to 80.62 points in 2019.

The biggest score decrease in the 2019 democracy variable was free and fair elections, which dropped by 9.73 points, to 85.75 points from 95.48 in 2018.

Despite the setbacks, Indonesia recorded better scores in freedom of religion at 83.03 points, freedom from discrimination at 92.35 points, and the role of regional Legislative Councils (DPRD) at 61.74 points.

Nevertheless, BPS head Kecuk Suhariyanto said there were six indicators with poor scores in 2019.

"[The country] needs to improve on these six indicators since it scored lower than 60 points," Kecuk said in a press conference on Monday as reported by tempo.co.

He went on to say that Indonesia recorded a poor score in the threat of violence hampering freedom of expression at 57.35 points, the percentage of women councilors at 58.63 points, and violent demonstrations at 30.37 points.

The remaining three indicators with poor scores are regional bylaws (Perda) initiated by the DPRD at 46.16 points, DPRD recommendations to executive bodies at 16.70 points and information on regional budgets (APBD) at 53.43 points.

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