Jakarta – The National Police have named 30 individuals across the country by Thursday as suspects for allegedly spreading false information regarding the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We named 22 suspects for allegedly spreading fake news on Tuesday. We named eight more on Thursday," National Police spokesperson Sr. Comr. Asep Adi Saputra told journalists on Thursday.
He added that the police in West Kalimantan and West Java had named more suspects than police had in other provinces with four suspects each. Officers in South Sulawesi, Lampung and East Kalimantan had named three suspects each, while the Jakarta Police named two individuals as suspects.
Despite naming 30 individuals as alleged false news suspects, the police had only placed two of them into custody, as most of them were deemed cooperative during interrogation.
A suspect in West Kalimantan was detained after investigators found he was not being cooperative during the questioning. "Apart from him, we have also confined another suspect in the East Jakarta Police headquarters," Asep said, without elaborating.
The Communications and Information Ministry identified on Tuesday 242 hoaxes pertaining to COVID-19 being distributed on the internet, including in social media, websites and short message applications. The number had increased from 196 on the same period a week earlier.
The Indonesian Ulema Council has also urged Muslims not to spread hoaxes and false information regarding the disease, as the council had issued a fatwa on Tuesday declaring such wrongdoing haram. (glh)