Jakarta. Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati encouraged Indonesia's mainstream media and the public on Thursday (08/02) to create a healthier internet atmosphere by joining the battle against fake news.
The spread of fake news on the internet is a challenge for most countries, yet Indonesians, who are among the most active social media users in the world, are more at risk.
According to a report by the Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII), Indonesia had about 132.7 million internet users in 2016, which is 50 percent of the country's population. Of those, 129.2 million used the internet to access social media, as opposed to news and entertainment.
"The media is facing a tough challenge in the digital era, as almost everyone can create news and easily spread it. So false, tendentious, proactive news attacking a particular group or the government is difficult to be quickly and effectively stopped," Sri Mulyani said in her opening address at the National Mass Media Convention, as quoted by BeritaSatu.
The convention with the theme, "Healthy and Balanced Climate: Maintaining the Presence of National Mass Media in Global Information Landscape," is held to commemorate National Press Day, which falls on Feb. 9 every year.
She said technological advancements have resulted in people only discussing issues superficially on social media. It also makes it harder for people to verify the authenticity of news reports.
This problem is a challenge not only for the government, but also for the press and the country's stakeholders and shareholders, added the minister, who is a former managing director of the World Bank.
She said the press is therefore expected to present credible and accurate information, while young people, or millennials, are also expected to read more than only news reports consisting of less than 144 characters to find the complete story.
Sri Mulyani asked the country's press to adapt to the era's demands, both in print and online, as it has an important task to disseminate news and inform the public about government policy and implementation.
"The press is one of the most important actors in the development process of our country," she said.
In preparation for the upcoming regional polls in June, the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu), General Elections Commission (KPU) and Ministry of Communications and Information Technology have signed an agreement to tackle the spread of fake news and negative content on social media.
Various social media platforms, including Google, Telegram, Blackberry Messenger and Line, have made a joint undertaking to prevent the spread of hoaxes. They also expressed their commitment to support the government in eradicating illegal content and cooperate to raise public awareness of fake news.