Communications Minister in Hot Seat for Blocking 'Radical' Websites

MARCH 31, 2015

Jakarta. Commission I in House of Representatives, or DPR, says it will summon Communication and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara to explain the government's decision to block access to 19 websites believed to have spread radical Islamic ideology.

"We will invite the Minister of Communication and Informatics immediately to give an explanation," Hanafi Rais, deputy chairman of Commission I, said on Tuesday. Commission I oversees defense, intelligence, foreign affairs, communication and information.

The government's decision to block access to the websites — including hidayatullah.com, arrahmah.com and voa-islam.com — has sparked uproar and netizens have taken to their Twitter and Facebook accounts to vent their grievances.

Hashtags such as #KembalikanMediaIslam, or #HandBackIslamicMedia in English, have been tweeted and retweeted nearly 100,000 times and topped Twitter's worldwide trending topic list on Monday.

The ministry said the sites were blocked after it received a request from the National Counterterrorism Agency, which included them in a list of 22 media sources that were allegedly spreading radical ideology.

Hanafi attacked the government's "rash" decision to block access to the websites. "The government's decision to block the media could create the impression that the government under President Joko Widodo is developing Islamophobia," he said.

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