Radical Propaganda Slowed by Government Efforts in Recent Months

Social media has been heavily criticized by a committee of British lawmakers on Monday (01/05) for failing to do enough to remove illegal and extremist material posted on their sites, and for not preventing it appearing in the first place. (Reuters Photo/Dado Ruvic)

By : Robertus Wardi & Eko Prasetyo | on 2:57 PM March 24, 2017
Category : News, Terrorism, Security

Jakarta. Radical propaganda on Indonesian social media slightly decreased in recent months, researcher Wawan Hari Purwanto said on Thursday (23/03).

Wawan, who directs the Jakarta-based private research institution LPKN, said several websites blocked by the central government sometimes re-emerge with new domain names.

"[The government] has managed to shut down some [of the websites], though several new ones have reappeared with different names," Wawan said in a discussion on radicalism at the Habibie Center in South Jakarta.

Wawan said the Communications and Informatics Ministry did the right thing in shutting down radical websites to prevent the spread of extreme ideologies and propaganda to the public.

However, the ministry faces a daily challenge of keeping pace with new technologies that enable propaganda wizards to spread radical material on the web.

"Generally, the government's de-radicalization program has succeeded. Their success rate is at 95 percent, with only 5 percent [of radical websites] still remaining," Wawan said.

He has called on the public to cooperate with the central government to prevent radical ideologies from reaching a wider audience and to remain skeptical of dubious posts on social media.

"The hardest [posts] to block are those on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter," Wawan said.

According to Sulistyo Pudjo Hartono, a National Police policy analyst, only five percent of Indonesians are believed to have been "radicalized," though their messages have reached many more due to the rising popularity of social media in the country.

"The 95 percent majority of moderate Indonesians should speak up more. Don’t be beaten by the five percent, they cannot be allowed to dominate as they will only grow bigger," Sulistyo said.

The police, according to Sulistyo, are restricted from apprehending suspects believed to distribute radical material if no evidence of committing terror acts, or a desire to commit terror acts, can be procured.

"We have fought back with anti-radicalism [efforts]. We've provided the right content to counter radical narratives. We spread truth to fight against provocations and radical teachings," Sulistyo said.

Earlier this month, the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) created three websites aimed at countering radical propaganda and hoax news stories on social media.

Show More