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Indonesia to Punish “Rude” and “Anonymous” Twitter Users

The world’s most populous Muslim country has decided to take Twitter’s decision to censor tweets on a country by country basis. The government of Indonesia is studying the country’s citizens behaviour on Twitter with the intention of punishing those who go out of their way to annoy others online.  the government of Indonesia, however, such measures may not be enough.

The country’s Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring, according to Jakarta Globe, said that he is aware that Twitter is full of anonymous accounts which are used to attack persons online. He said he has received complaints against such tweeps.

He added;

“We are now studying it. Because if they really violate [laws] and insult people, they could be reported as spam. Then their [accounts] could be closed by Twitter officials,” 

The minister said that he will be relying on the country’s Information and Electronic Transactions (ITE) Law, to punish those who commit crimes like warrant legal charges: pornography, gambling, threats, fraud and blasphemy. The crimes attracts a penalty of between 7 to 12 years in prison.

But a popular Indonesian blogger, Wicaksono, told the Jakarta Globe that the ministry will just be showing that it has too much time in its hands if it will pursue that plan. He said that there are many interpretations of “Insulting” which cannot be decided by a government. The blogger is also saying that the existence of the anonymous accounts is just for fun and should not attract so much interests from the government.

The House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Pramono Anung, agreed with Wicaksono, according to Jakarta Glob saying that people need to learn from the criticism of the anonymous tweeps instead of trying to silence them.

He said;

“A limitation or monitoring is not needed. This is a democratic country. If someone thinks that he is being defamed please [report the case], but special monitoring for anonymous accounts, that’s just unnecessary,”

The Indonesian government has reportedly shut down more than 983,000 web sites containing porn materials. Indonesia has more than 55 million Internet users with the country having the 5th largest number of Twitter users after US, Brazil, Japan and UK. The country has close to 20 Million Twitter users according to this report.

Written by Robert

Respected Kenyan blogger, tech evangelist, and social justice activist. Robert is known for his hard-hitting articles and opinions disseminated through his Twitter handle @RobertAlai or Facebook page (www.fb.com/RobertAlai).

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