Indonesia Says it Will Block Media that Promote Extremism

Share on WhatsApp
Share on WhatsApp
ID-syamsuddin-620-March2015 Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Muhammadiyah, speaks at the Japan Halal Summit in Tokyo, Aug. 4, 2014.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Communication and Information this week announced it would form a special panel to identify websites, television shows and radio programs that should be blocked to prevent radicalism from spreading nationwide.

“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 webpages or broadcasts that need to be blocked by mid-year,” Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara told the Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

The goal, he said, was to prevent hatred, radical thinking and acts of terrorism in Indonesia, the country with the world’s biggest Muslim population.

The panel will include Salahuddin Wahid, a leader of Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), one of Indonesia’s largest and most influential Islamic groups.

Popularly known as Gus Solah, Salahuddin is the younger brother of former president Abdurrahman Wahid (Gus Dur), who was known to his admirers as the “father of pluralism in Indonesia.”

Din Syamsuddin, who heads Muhammadiyah, another influential Muslim group, and who also chairs the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) – will sit on the panel as well.

Both Muhammadiyah and NU have voiced support for the initiative to block radical media,  especially media that boost the Islamic State (IS) terror group.

“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 [IS],” NU Executive Council Chairman Slamet Effendy Yusuf said, according to the Post.

Muhammadiyah activist Nadjamuddin Ramly praised Rudiantara’s plan, but urged the government not to be too quick to label websites as “radical.”

“It’s very important that we have a shared view of what content and what kind of news should be blocked,” the Post quoted him as saying.

Radical stigma

Gus Solah in the past has expressed similar words of caution, noting that the “radical” label carried a stigma.

“How is someone labeled radical? Is it his way of thinking, his view of the law, his politics? His policy?” Tribuneislam quoted him as saying.

Gus was responding to research by the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT), the State Intelligence Agency (BIN), and elite police unit Detachment 88, which found that 30 religious schools (pesantren) in Indonesia could be categorized as radical.

Gus Solah, who is the headmaster of Tebuireng Pesantren in Jombang, East Java, said he did not believe that any pesantren in the town fit into the “radical” category.

“As far as I know, there are none,” he told Republika earlier this month.

By BenarNews staff with details from news reports.


Add your comment by filling out the form below in plain text. Comments are approved by a moderator and can be edited in accordance with RFAs Terms of Use. Comments will not appear in real time. RFA is not responsible for the content of the postings. Please, be respectful of others' point of view and stick to the facts.