Friday, August 19, 2022

Indonesia blocks internet to prevent provocative messages


Zubair Yaqoob
The author has diversified experience in investigative journalism. He is Chief content editor at

Indonesian government has blocked access to the internet in eastern Papua, preventing seditious messages from being uploaded, thus increasing the violence in the region.

The decision was made after protesters burned several buildings, markets and prisons, following inappropriate treatment of students and ethnic discrimination incidents.

Police also sent 1,200 additional members to Papua to control violence in several cities, including Timika since Monday.

Timika is a location near Grasberg’s copper mine, operated by a unit of mining company Freeport McMoran in Indonesia, in addition to Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak.

Security Minister, police chief and army commanders reportedly arrived at Sorong Thursday, to monitor the situation but no demonstrations were reported in the area.

Although separatist movements have been in Papua for decades, there have been growing complaints about violations of human rights by Indonesian security forces.

The latest incident sparking outrage among locals is believed to involve racist attacks on Papua students, who were arrested last week.

The students were reportedly detained at their hostel in Surabaya, West Java for allegedly not honoring the Indonesian flag at the National Day celebration.

This was not the first time Indonesia imposed ban on internet, in May this year, Indonesia imposed sanctions on social media in an effort to prevent the spread of false news, a call to an offensive of post-election violence and halt the two-day protests in the capital.

Fact-reviewers say the spread of false news and calls for terrorism in the social media network has been rising since May, as election officials confirmed the victory of Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Number of people were killed in a riot that hit several parts in Jakarta.

Chief Security Officer, Wiranto said that in order to ‘avoid provocation, disseminating false news through the community, it would restrict access to social media networks.

These steps include restricting video or image uploads in social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Whatsapp.

Communications Minister Rudiantara told reporters that the restrictions were aimed at slowing down the content that might spur the ’emotion’ of the public.

Read also: Indonesia raises restrictions on social media during unrest

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