Government Launches Cybersecurity Agency to Fight Fake News

As part of an attempt to fight the rampant production and spread of false news in Indonesia, the government has launched a new cybersecurity agency, which will focus on tackling radicalism and hate speech.

President Joko Widodo has appointed Major General Djoko Setiadi, former chairman of the country’s encryption agency to lead. Among Setiadi’s main tasks will be to track down and crack down terrorist networks’ online communication. He is also expected to tackle online hate speech, which has become rife in the country amid religious and political tension.

“We will control cyberspace,” Setiadi said Wednesday, as quoted by AFP. “Our technology will not only be able to detect, but also to penetrate (terrorist) networks.”

According to Coordinating Legal, Political and Security Affairs Minister Wiranto, the work done by the agency will be important for the country’s security. “We need this body to help maintain security nationally, regionally and globally.”

For the past few years, Indonesia has been inundated with cases of false news and online hate speech. One of the most high-profile cases in recent times was a false claim circulating on social media in December suggesting that Beijing was seeking to wage biological warfare against Indonesia. The hoax led the Chinese embassy issuing a statement branding the reports “misleading.”

 

For a recent look at how Indonesia has tackled fake news, click here.

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Ardi Wirdana is a Jakarta-based journalist covering a variety of topics including business, policy, and news in Indonesia.


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