Senin, 24 Maret 2014

Tugas Bahasa Inggris Bisnis 2 (artikel)

Election campaigning: A
human rights perspective 
Harison Citrawan, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Election Watch | Wed, March 19 2014, 8:00 AM

In the next several weeks, our public sphere will be filled with news covering the election campaigns of candidates competing for seats in local and national legislative councils. 

As part of the general election process, the direct election campaign arguably plays a significant role in shaping people’s perceptions and to a certain extent their voting behavior.

Considering such a role, the law governs a rather restrictive policy to delimit a campaign’s content and method.

An election campaign is basically a communicative activity. There must be a certain message to be delivered intentionally by the campaigners as communicators, to the people as an audience. Under the 2012 Elections Law, the election campaign is defined as an activity by the contestant to convince the voters through conveying her/his vision, mission and program. 

Furthermore, Article 77 of the law says general election campaigning ought to be considered a part of the public’s political education and should be conducted in a responsible manner. This is to say that every political campaign during a general election should be considered as not exclusively a contest for political powers to conserve or to compete for the chair, but also as a reflection of a politically functioning autonomous public sphere. As a result, political campaigns during the general election ought to be constructed within the ambit of protecting people’s right to take part in public affairs.

Nevertheless, based on qualitative research conducted by the Human Rights Research and Development Agency about political campaigns, a lack of comprehension regarding human rights values during the election campaign by campaigners and general election committees, both the Election Supervisory Committee (Bawaslu) and the General Elections Commission (KPU), may cause human rights violations during an election campaign, hence failing to protect people’s right to effectively take part in public affairs (Balitbangham, 2012). 

As a consequence of this, there has to be an assurance these parties will adopt human rights values in making policies and decisions.

Based on a human rights standpoint, the interrelatedness of election campaigns and the right to take part in public affairs could be enshrined, as the Human Rights Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights comments, during election campaigns: “Voters should be able to form opinions independently, free of violence or the threat of violence, compulsion, inducement or manipulative interference of any kind.” 

From such a wording, it can be concluded that candidates are prohibited from using any kind of “power” during the election campaign, whether authorized or not, that may incur an unjustified interference to people’s freedom to choose. 

At this point, we must highlight the prevalence of any type of political oppression against minorities and vulnerable groups during the election campaign.

Subsequently, as the right to freedom of thought and information is an essential element of election campaigns, the Human Rights Committee argues that, “The free communication of information and ideas about public and political issues between citizens, candidates and elected representatives is essential. This implies a free press and other media being able to comment on public issues without censorship or restraint and to inform public opinion.” 

In practice, the committee added the freedom of political activities — including an election campaign — requires the full enjoyment of and respect for the right to “engage in political activity individually or through political parties and other organizations, to debate public affairs, to hold peaceful demonstrations and meetings, to criticize and oppose, to publish political material, to campaign for elections and to advertise political ideas”.

As we have drawn the nexus between election campaigns and other fundamental freedoms, the practice of campaigning by legislative candidates (or their campaign teams) ought be conducted within the ambit of human rights. 

Arguably, the persuasive nature of election campaigns shall not obstruct the aforementioned principles acknowledged in human rights law. 

To sum up, a good election campaign shall bring good quality voters. By placing election campaigns as a form of political education under the human rights framework, the people, on the other hand, may consider this as a part of their rights, which can make them become politically conscious. 

From now on, the people must weigh the quality of legislative candidates during the election campaign period from the standpoint of their right to take part in public affairs. 

Given a significant role of political parties during election time, they must act as “duty bearers” in terms of fulfilling the public’s right to political education. 

This election campaign period should be seized by every contestant and political party.

The writer works at the Human Rights Research and Development Agency under the Law and Human Rights Ministry. The views expressed are personal.

Notes:
Present tense
Past tense
Future


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