Indonesian app allows citizens to report ‘misguided’ religious beliefs
Technology is often lauded as a democratizing force, but its dark side as a new component in oppression has become increasingly visible. In a recent example, a new app in Indonesia, launched by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, allows users to report “misguided” religious beliefs. The country has strict blasphemy laws and Muslim minority sects have often been targeted and persecuted by the mainstream Muslim majority. Some have even been outlawed. Google has been criticized by human rights groups for allowing the app on its Play store, arguing that the app could contribute to social disintegration as neighbors report neighbors, potentially using the app as a weapon to settle local conflicts and inflict difficulties on members of smaller sects or minority religious groups. The Constitutional Court affirmed the rights of religious groups beyond the official categories used to register citizens in the country (Muslim, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Confucian), but strict blasphemy laws has allowed for broad interpretations that target minority groups.