National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian has repeatedly been the target of political hoaxes and fake news in recent months. (Antara Photo/Reno Esnir)

Investigators in Pursuit of Perpetrators of Hoax Slandering National Police Chief

BY :FAROUK ARNAZ & NUR YASMIN

MAY 09, 2019

Jakarta. Investigators are currently looking for the people responsible for spreading false information claiming that National Police chief Gen. Tito Karnavian said the defunct Indonesian Communist Party, or PKI, was no longer a threat.

The four-star police general has repeatedly been the target of political hoaxes and fake news in recent months. He was previously alleged to have instructed his subordinates to shoot on sight anyone participating in mass action, following a threat by a senior politician of using "people power" against the government if any evidence emerged to prove the opposition's claims of massive fraud in the April 17 presidential and legislative elections.

"There are several cases of hoaxes being monitored by the cyber-team. The team has done mapping and succeeded in identifying the perpetrators," National Police spokesman Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo told reporters on Wednesday.

He said Tito has ordered his subordinates to investigate the slanderous allegation.

There was also a blog post about Tito allegedly saying that he would shoot dead the "grandson of the prophet," referring to firebrand cleric Rizieq Shihab, who is currently in self-imposed exile in Saudi Arabia.

The headline of the blog read as follows: "Rizieq Shihab Will Deploy People Power; National Police: We Are Ready to Shoot Dead Anyone Rioting Against the ‎Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia,‎ Even the Grandson of the Prophet."

Tito denies ever saying this.

"There are some hoaxes on my behalf. For example, that I commanded [officers] to shoot [protestors] on sight, even if it is the grandson of the prophet. No, I never said that. It was in a blog, not the mainstream [media]. We are pursuing whoever published this, because it intends to alienate me from the ulema," Tito said at the National Police headquarters in Jakarta on Thursday.

He added that if there were mass action, whether mild, persuasive or coercive, it would be handled in accordance with established procedures.

According to a press release by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, at least 486 hoaxes and false news stores were identified in April alone, with 209 of them of a political nature. The ministry said 1,731 hoaxes were identified between August 2018 and April this year.

This number rose rapidly immediately before and after last month's elections.

Netizens coming across doubtful or suspicious information can report it to the ministry via email at aduankonten@kominfo.go.id, WhatsApp on 081-1922-4545, or Twitter at @aduankonten.

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