Banjarmasin, S Kalimantan (ANTARA) - Former First Lady Hj Shinta Nuriyah said she was concerned with the current situation in Indonesia, and urged the entire nation to maintain unity in diversity because it was a pillar of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

"Let us reunite or strengthen our national unity," she told attendees of a pre-dawn meal event with former South Kalimantan Governor Rudy Ariffin here on early Sunday.

To this end, the principle of "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" or "unity in diversity" should well be understood and accepted by the entire nation because it would help strengthen the nation and state, said Nuriyah, the wife of late fourth President Abdurrahman Wahid.

She was concerned with the country's current condition due to the ongoing proliferation of hate speeches and fake news. "This challenge needs to be responded comprehensively by strengthening the people's faith," she said.

For Muslims, the fasting month of Ramadhan is a good chance to strengthen their faith, said Nuriyah who is also known as a women's rights activist.

The proliferation of fake news and hatred in social media platforms and online media did not end after the first simultaneous parliamentary and presidential elections in modern Indonesian history.

ANTARA noted that the targets of these fake news stories and overt hatred are the general public. However, the creators of this content often have dangerous intentions when creating and spreading hoaxes and hate speech, as they seek to divide society.

Those who become victims of fake news are not limited to ordinary citizens, but also public figures, including the country's elites and state officials.

National Police Chief General Tito Karnavian has even become one of the victims of fake news and misinformation.

The fake news sent through Facebook was entitled "HRS (Habib Rizieq Syihab) will conduct a people power; the police: we are ready to shoot on sight those disrupting the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, though they are the grandchildren of Prophet".

In response to this incident, the National Police public relations division and the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics marked this statement as a "hoax" on their websites.

General Karnavian denied the truth of the hoax, stating "I never made such a statement. It is groundless, and created in a blog, not in the mainstream media," he told journalists at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on May 2.

Also, Presidential candidate number 02 Prabowo Subianto has become a target of a hoax through online media and social media platforms, which published an old photo showing him at an overseas airport's terminal.

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Translator: Sukarli, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Azizah Fitriyanti
Copyright © ANTARA 2019