Dwi Bowo Raharjo and Yosea Arga Pramudita – The Civil Society Coalition is urging the police to arrest the perpetrators of terror threatening freedom of expression and opinion who have been attacking journalists and activists of late.
The Coalition is made up of the Legal Aid Institute for the Press (LBH Pers), the Southeast Asia Freedom of Expression Network (SafeNet), the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI), the Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH Jakarta), the Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras), the Riau Anti-Corruption Student Alliance (AMAR), Indonesian Corruption Watch (ICW), the Lokataru Legal and Human Rights Foundation, Asian Justice and Rights (AJAR), Amnesty International Indonesia, the Institute for Criminal Justice Reform (ICJR), Papua is Us (Papua Itu Kita) and the Association of Independent Journalists (AJI).
“[We] urge the police force to immediately investigate alleged criminal violations of doxing, social media account hacking and terror committed against the organisers and resource people of discussions [on Papua] and ask that all parties appreciate and respect differences of opinion channeled through legitimate public discussions”, wrote the Coalition in a press release on Thursday June 11.
There have been various kinds of digital attacks from impersonating accounts, releasing private information (doxing), persecution, using hoaxes as a weapon (the weaponisation of social media), hacking accounts to unlawful breach and illegal surveillance.
“The actors of these digital attacks could come from state hackers, dangerous groups or individuals”, the group said.
According to the Coalition’s records, terror and intimidation have been used during several social and political affairs such as the electronic ID card corruption scandal, the 2017 regional elections, the May 2019 riots in Jakarta following the presidential elections, the protests against revisions to the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) law in September 2019, opposition to the Draft Omnibus Law on Job Creation this year, the millennial special presidential staff scandal in April and Papua Lives Matter events.
They gave as an example today’s doxing attack against organisers and resource people related to the discussion “Racial discrimination against Papuans” #PapuanLivesMetter which was held at the Lampung University Teknokra Student Press Activities Unit (UKPM).
One of the discussion resource people, Tantowi Anwari, from the Journalists Union for Diversity (Sejuk) was doxed the day before the discussion at around 8 pm.
A mysterious WhatsApp number sent photos or screenshots of an electronic ID card in the name of Tantowi Anwari, which was followed by intimidation through voice and text messages. This intimidation continued until 9.01 pm.
“This method is known as doxing, namely efforts to find and disseminate an individual’s private information in the internet with the aim of attacking and weakening a person or online persecution. Doxing is one of the threats against the free press”, the group explained.
Aside from doxing, the perpetrators also carried out a digital attack by illegally accessing Anwari’s Grab ride hailing account then sending fictitious orders to Grab Food and Grab Bike.
And it was not just Grab. Anwari’s Gojek ride hailing account was also hacked and at the same time the entire balance of his Gopay account was transferred to a Dhuafa Wallet.
“The attack didn’t end there. Tantowi was again terrorised through three mysterious 021 numbers from 10.16 pm to 1.39 am [the next morning]”, they continued.
At 2 am, Anwari’s WhatsApp account was no longer accusable and attacks were also directed at his wife through WhatsApp from 1.51 am to 7.26 am. Anwari’s wife also discovered that her Gopay account had been completely depleted and found unidentified transactions using the Gojek PayLater feature.
Aside from Anwari, two Teknokra journalists suffered a similar experience and the Teknokra’s official social media account suddenly developed problems and was difficult to access.
“Before the terror and hacking, Teknokra’s management was also summoned by the campus authorities. The summons occurred after a person claiming to be from BIN [the State Intelligence Agency] raised questions about the discussion on Papua which was being organised. Teknokra was even asked to postpone the discussion”, said the group.
Prior to this there have also been digital attacks against several resource people and organisers of public discussions on Papua, including Amnesty International Indonesia Executive Director Usman Hamid who was terrorised from overseas numbers, Papua researcher George Saa who had his WhatsApp account hacked, attempts to hack a Facebook account belonging to lawyer and human rights advocate Veronica Koman and efforts to hack the WhatsApp accounts belonging to two Student Executive Council (BEM) members.
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was “Polisi Didesak Usut Pelaku Teror Jurnalis dan Aktivis Saat Diskusi Papua”.]