Editors complain about website bans at House

The heads of websites that were blocked by the Communications and Information Ministry voiced their complaints over the move to members of House of Representatives Commission I, which oversees security and information.

“The National Counterterrorism Agency [BNPT] blocked 22 sites, but the problem is that the sites were blocked without any mediation beforehand,” said Aendra Medita, a member of voaislam.com’s editorial board, as quoted by Antara during a hearing with Commission I members in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Aendra explained that the website had received a letter on March 30 from the ministry informing it of the ban based on a request from the BNPT.

“It was stated in the letter that our website was considered to have promoted radical views. The ministry should have explained the move to block the site,” Aendra said, adding that a website ban could only be carried out based on a court order.

Another voaislam.com representative, Abdul Halim, said the BNPT’s move was in line with the repressive stance of the New Order regime.

He hopes Commission I ends the chaos and unblocks the websites. “We have never campaigned radical thoughts,” said Abdul.

Hidayatullah.com representative Mahyadi said its editorial board had requested that the ministry explain the reasons behind the move, but that it only said the bans were carried out as per instruction from the BNPT.

Mahyadi insists that hidayatullah.com had never promoted radicalism.

“We have never encouraged people to join the Islamic State (IS) movement,” he said.

Commission I deputy chairman Tantowi Yahya, who led the hearing, admitted that it was far more difficult for authorities to block radical websites compared to pornographic sites.

“A website cannot be blocked based solely on accusations. That’s why we agreed to hold a discussion with leaders of the blocked websites,” he said. (fsu/ebf)

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