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Jakarta Post

Government public relations departments told to stand up against false news

  • Fachrul Sidiq

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, January 12, 2017   /  10:07 am
Government public relations departments told to stand up against false news Hoax free: Two people take a selfie after taking part in a campaign hosted by the Anti-Hoax Society on Jl. MH Thamrin, Central Jakarta, on Jan. 8. (Antara/Wahyu Putro A)

The government needs to improve its efforts in curtailing the growing dissemination of fakes news by providing effective counter narratives and clarifications, a media expert has suggested.

Founder of the Press and Development Study Institute (LSPP) Ignatius Haryanto said the government should make a concerted effort to tackle untrue or misleading information, purportedly spread by individuals or parties pushing their own business or political agenda.

“The government should optimize its public relations to provide balanced information to counter false news,” he told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.

He said government efforts were necessary amid the rampant spread of false news and the public’s tendency to believe news or information that only supports their assumptions.

(Read also: Experts question government's plan to impose fines for fake news)

In their declaration of war against hoaxes and false news, the government has intensified censorship against websites thought to contain false information. Recently, the Communications and Information Ministry shut down 85 news sites that allegedly promoted radicalism. 

The regional coordinator for the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network, Damar Juniarto, criticized the government’s move, saying that shutting down the websites without undergoing legal procedures through the courts might endanger freedom of expression. (dmr)

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