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Minister threatens to audit NGOs for spreading false info about deforestation

CNN Indonesia - November 12, 2021

Jakarta – Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan says that the government will audit non-government organisations (NGOs) in Indonesia. Pandjaitan claimed that they will conduct the audit because, according to Pandjaitan, there are NGOs which he alleges are spreading incorrect information.

"We want to audit these NGOs, so don't spread reports which aren't true, yes, I've already said we want to audit them, [your reports] are untrue, you are providing reports which are not true", said Pandjaitan in response to a question during an interview broadcast on CNN Indonesia TV on the evening of Friday November 12.

Pandjaitan did not however explain what kind of audit would be conducted into the NGOs.

Pandjaitan raised the issue when asked to respond to statements by environmental activist groups disputing data which the government claims shows that the rate of deforestation has declined.

Pandjaitan then questioned the source of the data held by the NGOs. According to Pandjaitan, the data released was not just collected by the government, but also several international institutions. On the other hand, according to Pandjaitan, there is satellite data which cannot lie.

"It's like this, yeah, the ones who make these NGOs, where does their data come from? We produce [data], but not just us, internationally. And now these satellites they can't lie, right, they can't", claimed Pandjaitan.

Pandjaitan also claimed that what he's saying is in accordance with what was stated to him privately by former US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Kerry, who is now the US special presidential envoy for climate, said Pandjaitan, told him that over the last four years the level of deforestation in Indonesia had declined tremendously well.

"John Kerry himself admitted as much to me, right, the Americans admit to us that over the last four years deforestation has declined tremendously well", said Pandjaitan.

The former TNI (Indonesian military) general also claimed that he is prepared to contest the data with the NGOs who doubt the government on the state of Indonesia's forests.

"I've quite ready, very ready (to contest the data with those NGOs)", said Pandjaitan. (iam/kid)

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Tuduh Sebarkan Berita Tak Benar, Luhut Akan Audit LSM-LSM".]

Source: https://www.cnnindonesia.com/nasional/20211112161252-20-720384/tuduh-sebarkan-berita-tak-benar-luhut-akan-audit-lsm-ls