Indonesia’s Communications and Information Ministry (Kominfo) is not taking away your right to game, clarifying that an online announcement, supposedly from the ministry, saying that some of the most popular video games in the country would be banned, is a hoax.
As announced in the viral hoax poster above, Kominfo was supposedly going to ban 10 hugely popular online games, including Fortnite, PUBG, Mobile Legends and Grand Theft Auto V for containing “elements of violence” on January 31.
In a press release issued yesterday, Kominfo strongly denied the viral post, saying that it has no plans to ban the 10 games or any other games for that matter. Quite sensibly, the ministry said laws are already in place to put video games into certain age categories, and none of the 10 games mentioned violated their respective age category requirements.
Siaran Pers No. 11/HM/KOMINFO/01/2019 tentang Klarifikasi Atas Hoaks Permainan Elektronik Mengandung Kekerasan https://t.co/y7y4IuMUD5
— Kementerian Kominfo (@kemkominfo) January 10, 2019
That said, we’re not surprised that Indonesia’s hardcore gamers were alarmed upon first seeing the hoax. The government, after all, have previously toyed with the idea of video game censorship. In 2016, the Education Ministry recommended the banning of 15 video games (some of them completely ancient, as in from PlayStation 1 days) for being “dangerous for children”.
However, the ban never came to pass due to huge backlash from the public. Some of the reactions were admittedly over the top, most notably hackers defacing the official website of the Commission for the Protection of Indonesian Children (KPAI), which supported the video game ban plan.
The IT Ministry did ban one game last year, though, but on the grounds of possible religious blasphemy instead of protecting children from video game violence. That game was Fight of Gods, which features the world’s deities and prophets brawling it out Street Fighter-style to determine “who would lead us to enlightenment.”