The disagreement between five orangutan researchers the Ministry for Environment & Forestry, covered earlier here, has taken a turn for the worst this month. Following an ‘administrative objection’ by the Legal Aid Centre for Press (LBHP 2022a), the Ministry posted that it has reported one of the scientists for violating the law (KLHK 2022).
Strangely enough, Jakarta Legal Aid doubles down on a false premise that foresthints.news ‘quoted’ the Minister on this:
on 19 August 2022, … [the] Minister of Environment and Forestry …, as quoted in ForestHints.News, stated that … orangutan populations are far from extinction and will continue to growLBHP 2022a
Yet, it back-pedals from a ‘quote’ to an ‘indirect quote’ in the following sentence and claims that the Ministry’s spokesperson has corroborated said quote. This twisted argument is far from the truth: forestshints.news didn’t quote the Minister and her spokesperson states that orangutan population (trends) were not referenced in her statement! Why on earth does Legal Aid Centre for Press continue to pursue this false narrative in their formal objection?
‘The statement … made no reference to data of the orangutan population nationally or globally.‘Nunu Anugrah, Spokesperson for the Ministry for Environment & Forestry (Anugrah 2022)
This indirect quote was corroborated by Nunu Anugrah, a KLHK spokesperson in an article published in the Jakarta Post on 26 September 2022.LBHP 2022a
In effect, Legal Aid Centre for Press escalated a silly misunderstanding into heavy-handed ‘administrative objection’ with bombastic requests. Broad coverage both nationally (see a.o. BeritaBaru 2022, LBHP 2022b and Tempo 2022) and internationally (e.g. Mongabay 2022) ensured that their objection wouldn’t be ignored. Instead of letting sleeping dogs lie, the Legal Aid Centre for Press opted for five minutes of fame based on a false premise.
Personally, perpetuating a false narrative to accuse a politician I find it quite unacceptable that they have done so at the risk of a respectable orangutan expert in particular as well as orangutan conservation in general. The plight of the orangutan deserves better than a dysfunctional argument based on a false narrative!
Anugrah, N 2022 Forestry Ministry responds, thejakartapost.com
BeritaBaru 2022 Layangkan surat keberatan, Tim Advokasi Kebebasan Akademik menyebut KLHK anti-sains (Sending an objection letter, the Academic Freedom Advocacy Team called the Ministry for Environment and Forestry anti-science), beritabaru.co (Google Translate)
Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan 2022 Peneliti Asing Erik Meijaard Dilaporkan Melanggar UU (Foreign Researcher Erik Meijaard Reportedly Violating Laws), menlhk.go.id (Google Translate unavailable), PDF
Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Pers 2022a Keberatan Administratif 02/SK.TAKA/XI/2022 (Administrative Objection 02/SK.TAKA/XI/2022), PDF
Lembaga Bantuan Hukum Pers 2022b 18 Organisasi Layangkan Keberatan atas Kebijakan Larangan Peneliti Asing oleh KLHK yang anti-sains dan Membatasi Kebebasan Akademik (18 organizations raise objections to the foreign research prohibition policy by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry which is anti-science and limits academic freedom), bantuanhukum.or.id (Google Translate)
Mongabay 2022 Fears for academic freedom as Indonesia doubles down on scientists’ ban, mongabay.com