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Ex-Minister Convicted After Mocking President Jokowi with Memes

Liputan6.com, Jakarta - Former Minister for Youths and Sports Roy Suryo was found guilty in a hate speech case. He was reported to the police after mocking President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) with two humorous memes.

The memes showed photos of statues at the Borobudur Temple which were edited to reflect President Widodo's face.

Roy Suryo shared those memes in the middle of this year. The writings on the memes were mocking the rising cost of plane tickets, the new capital project, and the national debt while also sending criticism to the influential minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan

He was then reported for blasphemy to the police by the leader of a Buddhist organization called Dharmapala Nusantara.

The judge found his meme could incite hatred between religions, although Roy Suryo insisted that he was not the original creator of those memes.

"The defendant is not showing himself as a public figure or telemathics expert or someone with high educational background who understands the ethics in using social media," said Chief Judge Martin Ginting on Thursday (29/12/2022).

The fact that Roy Suryo appreciated the memes became an incriminating aspect in his punishment. But the court stated that Roy Suryo's polite attitude during the trial and his past services were cited as the alleviating effect to his sentence.

Roy Suryo also already apologized to the Buddhist people.

The nine months sentence is lower than the prosecutors' demand which was 18 months. Roy Suryo's legal team is still considering whether to make an appeal or not.

 

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Often Criticizing Government

Roy Suryo was a minister in the cabinet of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY). He was appointed as the minister for youths and sports in 2013, despite his background in multimedia. Previously, he was a member of parliament who represented Yogyakarta.

After President Yudhoyono's term ended in 2014, Roy Suryo was elected again as a member of parliament in 2017 until 2019. 

Roy Suryo left Yudhoyono's Democratic Party in 2020. He often used his social media to deliver scatching criticism to President Widodo's government. 

One of the targets of his criticism was the Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Railway which was a flagship program of the President Widodo's government.

Roy Suryo pointed out that the development of that railway was spending the national budget, although previously the government promised not to use the budget. He also criticized the environmental impact of the train. 

Another criticism was against the development of renovation at the National Research and Innovation Agency of Indonesia (BRIN). BRIN planned to spend Rp 6,1 billion for renovating the room of their Governing Council.

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