REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, TIMIKA -- Indonesian Police Chief, General Tito Karnavian, defended the Communication and Informatics Ministry's policy to restrict internet access in the Papua and West Papua Provinces to halt the massive proliferation of fake news and provocative content over the past week.
"Several parties have used the Internet to disseminate hoaxes and provocative news," he said in Timika, the capital city of Mimika District, Papua Province, on Wednesday (August 28), regarding the government's endeavor to handle the condition in the two provinces.
Karnavian supported his argument by referring to the proliferation of fake pictures of a Papuan student who was reportedly slain during the Surabaya and Malang incidents.
Those circulating the fake pictures were keen to influence and provoke community members, he said, adding that in response to this, the police attempted to clarify the issue. But, this endeavor was rendered ineffective, as the clarifications did not reach the people who had been exposed to the fake news.
To address this challenge, the publication of audio-visual materials on the internet has been slowed down by the authorities. Normal internet access would resume once the proliferation of hoaxes and provocative content reduced.
The National Police have their media intelligence squad whose personnel would examine the published news, photos, footages, and audio-visual materials, General Tito Karnavian said. The Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua have been disrupted by a series of protests against alleged racist actions against Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, East Java Province.
On August 19, several thousand people in Manokwari, West Papua Province, and Jayapura, Papua Province, had rallied to vociferously agitate over the alleged racist slurs. On August 28, a circle of violence broke out in Deiyai District, which is located about 500 Km away from Jayapura, the capital city of Papua Province, amid a rally staged by more than a thousand native Papuan residents to protest the Surabaya incident. As a result of this violence, an army soldier and two civilians were killed, and five security personnel sustained injuries.