Greenpeace Indonesia activists reported to police over deforestation ‘fake news’

An aerial shot showing the impact of deforestation in Papua. Photo: Nasa Earth Observatory
An aerial shot showing the impact of deforestation in Papua. Photo: Nasa Earth Observatory

Update: The Jakarta Metro Police on Monday said the complaint against Greenpeace Indonesia has been withdrawn as the plaintiff did not wish for the issue to be politicized.

Original story follows.


Two Greenpeace activists in Indonesia were reported to the police over their supposedly unfounded criticism of deforestation happening under the government’s watch.

The activists, Greenpeace Indonesia Head Leonard Simanjuntak and Indonesia Forest Campaign Head Kiki Taufik, were accused of spreading fake news and violating Indonesia’s Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE) for debunking President Joko Widodo’s deforestation claim. 

At the COP26 summit in Glasgow earlier this month, Jokowi said deforestation in Indonesia has declined in recent years. Greenpeace Indonesia later challenged the president’s claim and called it “nonsense,” citing Forestry Ministry data that showed deforestation rising from 2.45 million hectares between 2003 and 2011 to 4.8 million hectares between 2011 and 2019.

The Committee for the Eradication of Mafia of Law Secretary General Husin Shahab took issue with Greenpeace’s criticism.

“Criticize if it’s based on truth. If not, then that’s fake news,” Husin said yesterday of his decision to file the police report against Leonard and Kiki.

The police have not issued any statements on whether or not they will process the complaint.

Husin reportedly registered to run for a legislative seat in East Java in 2019 with the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), which is now part of the government’s coalition of parties. Husin, however, was reportedly dismissed from the party in 2018 for being involved in a polygamous marriage.

Greenpeace Indonesia maintains that its criticism of Jokowi’s claim was based on factual data.

“We will face this complaint, even though we are in the middle of a climate crisis that requires real action from the government,” Greenpeace Indonesia campaigner Asep Komarudin said.

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