Politically neutral posing: Jakarta Police chief bans officers from using one or two finger salutes in photos

Jakarta Metropolitan Police Chief Idham Azis. Photo: Istimewa

Indonesian police officers, in theory, must remain neutral in the 2019 presidential and legislative elections (in fact, officers are not allowed to vote in any elections). In Jakarta that rule has been extended to how they can pose for photos.

Jakarta Metropolitan Police Chief Idham Azis yesterday reminded officers that they must refrain from posing with the one-finger or two-finger salutes in photos in order to remain politically neutral.

These days, the one-finger salute signifies support for President Joko Widodo and his running mate Ma’ruf Amin, as they were assigned the number 1 spot on the ballot, while the two-finger salute, which resembles a peace sign, signifies support for the ballot’s number 2 pairing of Prabowo Subianto and his running mate Sandiaga Uno.

“I don’t want any Jakarta Metropolitan Police officers to show their support to anyone in the legislative and presidential elections. As police, we have to maintain our neutrality,” Idham said yesterday, as quoted by Kompas

“Do not pose like this [holds up one finger], or like this [makes a peace sign]. You should only pose with Komando greeting [clenching a fist],” Idham told his officers during a photo session.

 

Idham added that he has also prohibited officers from taking selfies with any of the legislative or presidential candidates.

While he did not speak of specific sanctions for officers who violate the pose bans, Idham pointed out that those who do so may have to face outrage from Indonesian netizens if their photos go viral.

The police chief’s reminder was likely prompted by a recent incident in which two police generals were accused of supporting Prabowo and Sandiaga after a photo of them holding up two fingers went viral online. It was later revealed that the photo’s caption, which purported to back up the accusation, was fake and that the photo was actually taken in 2017 — long before the presidential candidates were assigned their ballot numbers.

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