Indonesia’s Communications and Information Minister has made it officially known that anyone breaking the country’s restrictive, non-free-speech laws will be strictly adhered to even for users who are on Twitter. The micro-blogging site does not prohibit users from posting defamatory or threats, but if an Indonesian native is found to be the one posting such content, they will be persecuted to the fullest extent of the law, however backward it may be.
Under Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions Law, users can face between seven and 12 years behind bars if their tweet is found to be conveying any of the following: pornography, threats, fraud, gambling, and blasphemy. “If they violate the laws, they will be punished. Principally, every account user could be held responsible by tracing his position and device,” the country’s minister Tifatul Sembiring was quoted as saying.
It seems a bit crazy, but then again Indonesia isn’t the only country to treat Twitter as a public forum that is no different than something you would do or say in the real world. In fact, there have even been cases in the US where tweets led to governmental action. Earlier this year, a British tourist who tweeted that he wanted to “destroy” America (using the word to mean he’d “tear it up,” etc) was denied entry into the country and detained by federal agents. The moral of the story? Be careful what you tweet.