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Indonesia: Media organisations targeted in digital attacks for COVID-19 reporting (Demo)

This statement was originally published on on 25 August 2020.

Media organisations in Indonesia have reported a spate of digital attacks directed at critical coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia are deeply concerned that the hacking attacks are aimed at restricting critical reporting and suppressing media freedom.

At least four media organisations have been targeted in an unprecedented series of digital attacks. On August 21, the Tempo news website was replaced with a black screen with the word ‘hoax’, in bold red font splashed across it. The same day articles, including two articles critical of the Indonesian intelligence agency’s role in the pandemic response, were removed from the website of

The Director of the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers), Ade Wahyudin, on August 21 said the hacking is a legal violation. Wahyudin said there are mechanisms to deal with news reports deemed to be false, which involve submitting the right of reply or filing a complaint to the Press Council. AJI, which is also part of the Indonesian Journalists’ Safety Committee, together with the LBH Pers has opened a complaint centre for online media to report if they are targeted in the digital attacks.

AJI said: “We call on the police to investigate these digital attacks. The authorities must show that they will take serious efforts to find the mastermind behind the attacks. The authorities can not just simply ignore it since these attacks have threatened press freedom in the country.”

The IFJ said: “IFJ is gravely concerned by these hacking incidents and calls on authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. These online attacks impede press freedom by creating a climate of fear that could lead to self-censorship.”

The post Indonesia: Media organisations targeted in digital attacks for COVID-19 reporting appeared first on IFEX.


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