Indonesia launched a website that allows the public to report civil servants who post online content deemed as radical and a threat to the country’s unity, officials said Tuesday, amid a government crackdown on Islamic militancy.
The website, aduanasn.id, is aimed at ensuring that government workers are loyal to the state ideology of Pancasila and are not influenced by radical ideologies, said Johnny G. Plate, the minister of communications and information technology.
“[Civil servants] need to remember that our ideology and constitution are final,” Plate told a news conference at the launch of the website in Jakarta, adding that those government workers who are reported to the site could be given warnings, demoted or dismissed.
A recent Defense Ministry study suggested that 18 percent of about 4 million civil servants were opposed to Pancasila, which espouses the belief in one God, humanity, unity, democracy and social justice.
Offending content that can be reported to the new site include posts expressing hatred against the government and the state ideology, as well as hate speech targeting ethnic, racial and religious groups, according to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website.
The site is supported by 10 government institutions, including the State Intelligence Agency and the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT).
“Reports must be supported by valid data and accurate information, not hoaxes, because the aim is to develop a strong sense of nationalism among civil servants,” Plate said.
To “like” and share an offending social media post indicate an endorsement, ministry spokesman Ferdinandus Setu told reporters.
“When a person likes a post that promotes an ideology other than Pancasila, it means that they share the same views,” he said.
“Freedom of speech is a necessity in a democracy, but civil servants must be loyal to the state. If they want to criticize the government, they must do so in official government forums,” Ferdinandus said.
The identity of those who submit reports would be kept confidential and any information would be subjected to verification, he said.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has been hit by a string of terrorist attacks in the past two decades.
More recent attacks include suicide bombings in Surabaya in May 2018, when two families blew themselves up at three churches and a police station. Those attacks killed 24 people, including children as young as 9 who joined their parents in the attacks.
Lawmaker: Reporting could lead to libel
A legislator from the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), Nasir Djamil, criticized the launching of the website, saying it was unnecessary and could cause problems.
“It is rather misguided to create a website and invite the public to report, because making such reports requires knowledge,” Nasir told BenarNews, adding that the method could give rise to libel.
He said government institutions should instead strengthen internal supervision.
“Better internal control is needed,” he said. “Each institution should encourage internal supervision to monitor the behavior of civil servants.”
Tjahjo Kumolo, the minister for bureaucratic reform, said civil service recruitment tests would include questions to weed out applicants with radical ideologies.
“There will be questions about the national outlook, Pancasila and the general threat of radicalism,” Tjahjo told reporters.
Meanwhile, the Religious Affairs Ministry said it was in the process of replacing more than 150 Islamic textbooks in schools with ones that promote moderation and diversity.
“We are rewriting religious books for schools throughout Indonesia. God willing, this will be completed this year,” the ministry’s director general of Islamic education, Kamaruddin Amin, told reporters.