House asks police to nab hoax news disseminators

"Considering the diversity of the people, the acts of the agitators should be stopped immediately, as it is dangerous. The National Police (Polri) and BIN need to respond to spreaders of hoax news to avoid worse possibilities," Bambang Soesatyo said
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Commission III of the House of Representatives (DPR) has asked the police and the State Intelligence Agency (BIN) to nab disseminators of false or hoax news, who continue to provoke and pit groups against each other.

"Considering the diversity of the people, the acts of the agitators should be stopped immediately, as it is dangerous. The National Police (Polri) and BIN need to respond to spreaders of hoax news to avoid worse possibilities," Commission III Chairman Bambang Soesatyo said here, Monday.

The Polri and BIN have been asked to catch the provocateurs who spread hoax messages. The two institutions must prove their ability to detect such provocative activities and thus deter instigators of protests and violence, he asserted.

The Commission III chairman noted that if there are adequate proofs, then the troublemakers should be charged with maximum penalties.

"The efforts made by the provocateurs to pit groups against each other in society was clearly seen in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, on Saturday (May 20). On that day, a video on an unrest in the region was circulated, while in fact there was no extraordinary event in the city over the weekend," he remarked.

On that day (May 20), two groups held public activities at the same time in separate locations.

According to him, a group of ulema 205 defenders held a long march at 1 p.m, and the Dayak tribe residents organized a decorated vehicle parade at 2 p.m, which was attended by representatives of all districts in West Kalimantan.

"However, at the same time, a number of videos were circulated in social media, which contained information on the outbreak of clashes between the two groups in Pontianak," he observed.

The local police hurriedly investigated it and assured the people that the video was a hoax. The video went viral that day, but after it was investigated it was found that the video was an old one and showed an incident from 2015, he maintained

The dissemination of the video was an obvious attempt by provocateurs who wanted to instigate clashes between the two groups, Soesatyo mentioned.

The police must address seriously such incidents, because it has to be acknowledged that the current security conditions in the country are not conducive, he revealed.

It is a test for the diversity of the country, and the Polri and the BIN should respond immediately in such situations.

Early this month, the Indonesian Press Council said the circulation of fake news, or hoax, has reached pandemic proportions in the country, as it had increased rapidly during the elections.

"(The circulation of) fake news has reached a serious level in Indonesia. Apart from the media and communities, President Joko Widodo has also highlighted the issue of fake news on various occasions," Press Council member Imam Wahyudi stated during a discussion.

Wahyudi noted that fake news had been transformed into satirical statements and published through various information channels.

He explained that the public initially probed the validity of the fake information through mainstream media. However, currently, fake information is simply posted on social media and is adopted by the mainstream media without verifying its source first.

As a result, people have lost their trust in mainstream media.

"During the local head elections, (the circulation of) fake news had grown rapidly. It has become an ongoing threat for us in Indonesia, as we are dealing with fake news every year," he remarked.(*)

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