Terrorism promotion sites to be blocked

Terrorism promotion sites to be blocked
Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara.

With fears of radicalization on the rise, the government plans to ban websites and other media that propagate intolerance, extremism and terrorism.

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday he would form a panel to determine the specific Internet, radio and television programs that needed to be blocked for cheerleading hatred of other groups and acts of terrorism."We'll discuss the matter with a number of religious figures by the end of this month, and we aim to come up with a list of web pages or broadcasts that need to be blocked by mid-year," he said.

Among the figures, according to Rudiantara, would be Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) luminary Salahuddin Wahid, better known as Gus Solah, and Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin.

The NU and Muhammadiyah are the country's two biggest Islamic groups, with combined membership of over 100 million of the country's 250 million people.

NU activist Slamet Effendy Yusuf said he supported the minister's move to block media broadcasts promoting acts of terrorism.

"We've discovered that there are still quite a few websites, radio and TV broadcasts that incite hate. There are also a number of media that provide sympathy to the terrorist group ISIS," he said.

ISIS is an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIL or IS, the Islamic State movement.

Effendy said media broadcasts had encouraged many people to justify violence or hatred directed at certain groups.

Muhammadiyah activist Nadjamuddin Ramly also applauded the plan, but cautioned the ministry against blindly blocking all websites deemed "radical".

"It is very important to first have a consensus view on what kind content should be blocked," he said.

Rudiantara's censorship plan has emerged as rising numbers of Indonesians are joining the IS movement. In the latest case, 16 citizens are suspected of having joined the organisation, entering through Turkey.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi recently said more than 600 Indonesians had joined the IS movement in Syria and Iraq.

With the world's largest population of Muslims, Indonesia is considered fertile ground for the growth of extremist beliefs, partly due to the absence of stern preventative measures put in place by the government.

Rudiantara's predecessor, Tifatul Sembiring, a politician from the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), was reluctant to block websites and broadcasts known for inciting extremism and terrorism.

Several counterterrorism officials vented their frustration at Tifatul's refusal to clamp down on extremist teachings and bomb-making techniques propagated on the Internet.

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