Indonesian govt sets up team of religious leaders to help block radical sites

Indonesian govt sets up team of religious leaders to help block radical sites
Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara.

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara says his ministry has established a team to examine websites allegedly containing radical teachings to curb the widespread influence of radical movements in Indonesia.

The team comprised a number of religious leaders, including Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) chairman Din Syamsuddin, notable Nahdlatul Ulama member Salahuddin Wahid and religious scholar Romo Benny Susetyo, he said.

"We have established the team this month. Without it, how can I understand that a website contains radical teachings?" Rudiantara said in Yogyakarta on Monday.

He said that from the team's assessment, the ministry would close sites proven to have spread radical teachings. "We will be selective and conduct the closure of sites in stages," said Rudiantara.

He said the team would also ask all elements of society to play a greater role in curbing the radical sites by, among others, reporting suspected radical sites to the ministry via Rudiantara said the ministry had received from the public around 30 reports of radical sites, one of which published hostage executions by Islamic State (IS) organisation militants.

"During this time, it is only Internet service providers [ISPs] or cellular providers that can block radical sites. The government is striving to build a system that allows us to directly block the sites," said Rudiantara, adding that with the system, the government could hopefully block radical sites faster.

According to Rudiantara, it is not easy for the government to block radical sites. He says that via key words, the government could easily trace and block porn sites.

"Unlike porn sites, radical sites are not commercial in nature and are hidden. They also don't have specific key words, so we have to first examine their content before closing them," said the minister.

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