Indonesia to host weekly public briefings on fake news ahead of elections

The exercise was part of the ministry's push for ‘digital literacy' in the political arena.

Indonesia's Communications Ministry has announced plans to hold weekly briefings on fake news in an effort to educate the public about the spread of disinformation, a Minister said on Thursday.

Communications Minister Rudiantara said the initiative was designed to help the Indonesian public 'sort through the news' in the lead up to what is widely expected to be a heated presidential election scheduled for next April, reports the Guardian.

Representational image.

Representational image.

The initiative would be kicked off as soon as possible, said the Minister, and fake news stories—known locally as 'hoax' news or 'black campaigns'—would be accompanied by factual explanations.

Urging Indonesians to refrain from spreading fake news on their social media accounts, Rudiantara said the exercise was part of the ministry's push for ‘digital literacy' in the political arena.

In Indonesia, which has one of the highest rates of Facebook and Twitter usage among its citizens, fake news is regularly spread on social networks to fan existing social, ethnic and religious divisions for political gain.

A specialised ministerial content control team, comprising 70 people, will be tasked with identifying fake news stories.

In addition to the public briefings, information will also be posted on stophoax.id, a website designed by the ministry.




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