University Lecturer Arrested for Spreading Fake News

Antara Photo/Reno Esnir


A temporary lecturer at a university in Yogyakarta is one of six suspects arrested this week for their alleged involvement in the so-called Muslim Cyber Army, which is believed to have been responsible for the dissemination of fake news in the country.

Tara Arsih Wijayana, 40, was arrested after allegedly posting false information on her Facebook account about the murder of a muezzin – a person who recites the call to prayer at a mosque – in Majalengka, West Java.

“The suspect said she was not the first to share the news … but based on investigations by the National Police’s cybercrime directorate, it was her,” Majalengka District Police chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Noviana Tursanurohmad said, as quoted by state-run news agency Antara.

Noviana said although the news about the murder was true, the victim was not a muezzin but an ordinary member of the community.

Tara is from Sleman in Yogyakarta and had been working as a temporary lecturer in English and general courses at the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) since 2005.

She has reportedly been a member of the Muslim Cyber Army for five years.

“She’s merely an adjunct instructor, not a permanent lecturer,” UII public relations director Karina Utami Dewi said, as reported by Suara Pembaruan on Thursday (01/03).

The mother of four was arrested along with Muhammad Luth, Riski Surya Darma, Ramdani Saputra, Yuspiadin and Ronny Sutrisno for violating the 2016 Electronic Information and Transactions Law, which carries a penalty of up to six years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rp 1 billion ($70,000).

Police believe they are core members of the Muslim Cyber Army.

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