Defamation of Religion Law in Post-Reformasi Indonesia: Is Revision Possible?

16 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2013

See all articles by Zainal Bagir

Zainal Bagir

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM)

Date Written: March 4, 2013


The Indonesian Law on Defamation of Religion of 1965 has created serious problems for non-mainstream religious groups, with the Ahmadiyah group being the hardest hit in recent years, and more recently still, the Shi’as. Despite the post-1998 Reformasi trend of strong legal acknowledgment of universal human rights and religious freedom, the 1965 Blasphemy Law has been used more frequently within and outside court. Further, in 2010 its standing was reinforced by the Constitutional Court, which found it to be constitutional, though it also suggested the Law needed to be revised. This paper analyses the contents of the law and considers to what extent the Law can be ‘revised’, such that it does not contradict Indonesian aspirations for a civic, non-discriminatory, pluralist society. The argument takes as its sources comparison with similar regulation in other countries; recent shifts in the position of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organization of the Islamic Conference) on defamation; and the Constitutional Court proceedings.

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Bagir, Zainal, Defamation of Religion Law in Post-Reformasi Indonesia: Is Revision Possible? (March 4, 2013). Australian Journal of Asian Law, 2013, Vol 13 No 2, Article 3: 153-168, Available at SSRN:

Zainal Bagir (Contact Author)

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) ( email )

Bulaksumur, Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta, Special Province of Yogyakarta

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