Jakarta – A special task force authorized to take down all non-credible news portals was officially established on Friday after a long-standing plan. The task force is formed jointly by the Communications and Information Ministry and the Press Council.
The ministry conveyed the idea in 2017 but the plan did not materialize until Friday.
The task force will take down all news portals that fail to disclose their company name, organizational structure, legal entity and address as required by the 1999 law on press.
"The task force will simplify our work to block all news portals not registered with the Press Council," Semuel A. Pangerapan, the ministry's information applications director general, said in a press conference at the ministry's building in Central Jakarta.
According to the Press Council, there are currently around 47,000 news portals operating in the country and only around 2,400 that are registered.
"This partnership is aimed at returning the pride of true journalists that have been affected by widespread hoaxes from non-credible media," Yosep Stanley Adi Prasetyo, the council chief, said.
Stanley said further that some uncertified media not only spread fake news but also extorted money from government officials. The secretary to the Tambrauw regency in West Papua was among those reported to have been blackmailed.
"Journalists from some local media outlets demanded [the regional secretary] pay them Rp 10 million [US$706] for personal advertising that was never asked for," he said. (das)