Jakarta. National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has urged members of the public to remain calm and not be tricked by news stories that the police have identified as "hoaxes."
Tito said on Thursday (23/03) that stories circulating on social media on issues such as recent child abductions and organ trafficking are fake and are intended to smear the government's image and stimulate political unrest ahead of regional elections across the country.
"These stories, about child abductions and murdered children with missing organs, I ensure you are a hoax. I have coordinated with the Manado [North Sulawesi] and North Sumatra Police, as well as other provincial police units, including the Jakarta Police. They simply aren't true," Tito said in Jakarta.
"As the chief of the National Police, I firmly say that the regional police chiefs have checked and found no [occurrences of such incidents]," Tito added.
He advised parents not to worry about such hoaxes on social media and called on the public to be skeptical of unclear reports or news.
"Do not overreact and panic. Clarify with the police, with local residents [where purported incidents occur], and check whether the information is true or not," Tito said.
In response to public unrest stemming from the sensational stories, police across the country have implemented additional security measures, such as comprehensive border checks and road blocks.
Earlier this month, the National Counterterrorism Agency (BNPT) created three websites aimed at countering radical propaganda and hoax news stories spread on social media.
Watch Indonesia Highlights at 8 p.m. tonight on the Jakarta Globe News Channel and Facebook Live to find out more about the viral hoaxes on child abductions and organ trafficking.