Indonesian Agency Will Combat Fake News
Fake news is all over the place these days. It’s fun to read news that has been turned into comedy or sarcasm, but how do you make sure that the fake reports don’t get filed away in your head as real news.
We want to read real news to keep abreast of what is happening in our home countries and elsewhere in the world, but where do you draw the line to enforce the truthfulness of news without impinging on freedom of speech?
Yes, freedom of speech is a right in democracies, but that doesn’t give people the right to break the law with slander and hate.
Social media has exacerbated the problem, making it difficult to tell which articles and posts are true and which are sarcastic hoaxes. Not only is it difficult to tell the difference, but both true and fake news now circulate at lightning speed and we end up seeing it everywhere. The repetition of news that isn’t true actually makes it seem true.
Fake news has become a serious problem in many countries, but Indonesia has been hit especially hard, including fake reports that Chinese workers had come to Indonesia to replace local workers.
During Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s campaign for the presidency, voters were bombarded with fake reports about him, one that falsely accused him of having ties to the obsolete Communist party. This and other fake reports about him could have cost him the election.
He decided to do something about it, and the result is an agency that will be tasked with monitoring news circulating online, especially via social media where hoaxes abound.
Finding the balance between stopping fake news and allowing freedom of expression will be difficult, but Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara has promised that the government would be vigilant in protecting freedom of speech in its fight against fake news.