Indonesian news site attacked after reporting child abuse

An Indonesian public journalism initiative, Project Multatuli, has come under digital attack and its website was shut down hours after the publication of a report on alleged police inaction in a child sexual abuse case involving a child. civil servant and his three children.

The Alliance of Independent Journalists said in a statement on Oct. 8 that the attack on projectmultatuli.org, known to raise the voices of marginalized groups, occurred after the publication of an article reported by a southern mother. from Sulawesi accusing her ex-husband, an official in the East Luwu district government office, of sexually assaulting their three children, all under the age of 10.

According to the article, police investigators ignored the evidence presented by the mother and instead accused her of suffering from a mental disorder and even made her name public. Shortly after its publication, the website was no longer accessible.

The Mutatuli project allowed other media to republish the story so that it reached a wider audience.

“Initially, the Multatuli project team believed this was due to inadequate server capacity, but on the morning of October 7, it was confirmed that there was a DDoS. [distributed denial of service] attack, ”the Alliance said.

DDoS refers to a digital attack by flooding Internet network traffic on a server using the hosts of multiple attackers. “We apologize. Our site could not be fully accessible due to a DDoS attack launched last night after the publication of the article” All three of my children were raped “in the #PercumaLaporPolisi [reporting to the police is useless] series, ”Project Multatuli tweeted.

Report should remind them that they should take it seriously and view sexual violence as a major crime

The Alliance condemned the attack as “a form of silence on press freedom” and said “the seal of hoaxes or false information on confirmed information undermines public confidence in professional journalism”.

Evi Mariani, co-founder and editor-in-chief of projectmultatuli.org, said that “being labeled a hoax by those in power has become a risk for journalists today”.

But what was stifling, she said, was the police trying to get the name of the victims’ mother known. “Where is your ethics? She asked in a tweet.

Rusdi Hartono, the spokesperson for the national police, said there was a possibility that the case could be restated if there was new evidence.

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Azas Tigor Nainggolan, an attorney with the Indonesian Bishops’ Forum for Advocacy and Human Rights, said the attack on the media reflected the lack of engagement by law enforcement in cases of sexual abuse .

“The report should remind them that they must take it seriously and consider sexual violence a major crime,” he said.

He recalled that he too had experienced a lack of seriousness when in 2020 he took over a sexual abuse case involving an employee of the St. Herkulanus Parish Church in Depok. , in West Java.

“The slowness of the legal process has made other victims hesitant to seek justice,” he said.

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