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Tourists Must Be Aware Of Updates To This Indonesian Law While In Bali

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As a tourist destination, Bali is a welcome and friendly place to explore. Indonesia is a country steeped in cultural heritage and, although liberal in many ways, also has some very conservative legislative policies in place. 

Woman takes photo of Bali temple on her phone.jpg

As a vacation destination, Bali is very accommodating to tourists.

Much of what is asked in return for having access to one of the most beautiful islands in the world is respect for local customs and culture and adherence to Indonesian and Bali provincial law.

The President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, has just issued updates to a little-known but important set of laws that tourists must be mindful of when traveling in the country.

Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions Laws (ITE) are some of the strictest in the world. The laws dictate what can and cannot be broadcast online, on television, or in the media.

They cover aspects of daily life online and in communication with others. The ITE laws are comprehensive and far-reaching, but there are specific areas where tourists need to be mindful.

The ITE laws cover online conduct, respect and privacy in communication, cybercrime, defamation and hate speech, and content related to drugs and other illicit activities.

There have been several updates to the new ITE laws for 2024, but the most significant for tourists to be aware of is that legal action could and will be taken against “every person intentionally and without right broadcasts, displays, distributes, transmits, and/or makes accessible electronic information and/or electronic documents that have content that violates decency for public knowledge.” 

Content that violates decency for public knowledge includes everything from nudity to violence and drugs or content that critiques culture, religion, politics, communities or even individuals.

The government together with the DPR has inserted two more new articles between article 27 and article 28, namely article 27A and article 27B in the ITE legislation.

Article 27A states that “every person [who] intentionally attacks the honor or good name of another person by accusing [them] of something, with the intention of making the matter known to the public in the form of electronic information and/or electronic documents carried out through an electronic system.”

This one is particularly important to pay attention to as it could be used against tourists who turn to social media to complain about experiences with people in Bali or accuse a local person of wrongdoing, however small or significant the claim.


Similarly, tourists and local people must be reminded that filming incidents of people breaking the law, acting in an anti-social manner or culturally disrespectful way, and uploading it to social media or even sharing such content amongst peers could also mean getting tangled up in Indonesia’s ITE laws. 

Making false statements, or statements that could be interpreted as false, exaggerated, or from a single specific point of view, could be considered hate speech in Indonesia. Whether made online or in person.


The other key thing for tourists to be aware of is that since Indonesia’s ITE laws are broad and all-encompassing but also enforcement of these laws is up to the discretion of the authorities. 

Tourists are reminded that although LTE laws are in place, uploading videos of people engaging in illegal activity in Bali is a crime unto itself since many local communities are tired of foreigners behaving badly on the island that they are uploading this kind of content to social media despite the risks.


This is because much of the local news in Bali is communicated via social media cities journalism sites, and because there is a widespread belief that the authorities are more inclined to act on foreigners behaving badly once the short has already gone viral on social media. 

Tourists are encouraged to obey the local cultural customs and Indonesian laws while on holiday in Bali, remember that people are recording everything all the time, and that even sharing footage of illegal or disrespectful content of activities in Indonesia could result in big big trouble.  

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J West

Tuesday 9th of January 2024

Officials would rather you don't expose them. Prospective tourists might decide to go somewhere cleaner and safer.


Wednesday 10th of January 2024

@J West,

Whats worse is not one of the Balinese who I thought were my friends really were. When you stop handing them cash its game over.


Wednesday 10th of January 2024

@J West,

I just moved back to Thailand. It feels like a very developed country comparably. Clean, quiet, no smoking allowed anywhere in public, they've gotten rid of most of the street dogs and no more loud motorcycle pipes. I will miss the beautiful architecture and the good times I had with some of the village people. But is over for me. Ubud is now a mental institution for losers who smoke and disrespect all of life, (russian mostly) from all over the world.

Mango Carafino

Tuesday 9th of January 2024

As the world population increases with resources becoming thinner for the less educated. Crime will always be on the rise. More so in countries that have allowed refugees to come in without learning the language, culture or traditions. As for the beloved Bali, it has a way of letting the criminals get one or two chances at crime. Thereafter, the police normally catch those responsible. Everything comes to the light that is done in the darkness.


Tuesday 9th of January 2024

Wooowwwwwww, this is a game changer! And also the final drop. I guess this is the last comment I will make here, because with these set up of rules, everything you say can be illegal.

As an expat that lived here for a long time, paying my taxes and doing everything by the book, this is it. I don't feel my family is still safe here because the hatred against bule is at an all time high. Also, I simply can't learn my kids that everyone is equal whilst the Balinese are doing everything they can to make sure and clear that we are not.

I know the majority nowdays does not care if one expat family pack their bags, the "You don't like you go" mentality is well known. Also, if the European and Australian expats move, they will probably be replaced by the new upper- and middle class of India, so Bali will keep on going probably. It's just that it sort of feels like a break-up. It's painfull to say, but love between the expats that lived here the last decade(s) and Bali seems over. And of course there will be people saying it never existed in the first place but I don't believe that is true. I guess all good times have to come to an end one day.


Wednesday 10th of January 2024


I left my retirement there recently for all these reasons, packed a bag and left everything to the morons there who now seem to hate me. My love affair is over and it hurts. 25 years.


Wednesday 10th of January 2024

@James, Indonesia aim to copy Thailand defamation laws that are criminal offences instead of just a civil dispute. This way if a foreigner come up with any critical reviews and writing/speech online the offended party can get the police involved to harass and intimidate. At the end nobody will know the real truth about anything. Free speech suppression at its finest.


Tuesday 9th of January 2024

All of these laws against Foreigners, how about some laws against Natives and enforcing them. Oops forgot, it's Their country, they can do whatever they want and get away with it.


Tuesday 9th of January 2024

Another rubber law implemented. We know where this is heading. When will the first tourists / foreigner be arrested based on article 27A -- for just pointing out online about scams, harassment, overcharging etc?