As the third largest democracy in the world with a young, mobile-first population and low levels of digital literacy, Indonesia is highly susceptible to the spread of fake news and hoaxes. Government and media-led initiatives have sought to combat fake news, however with much of the misinformation spread via social media and WhatsApp, many fear the problem will only get worse in the lead up to national elections in April 2019. “Indonesia’s media landscape is quite diverse and there is enormous press freedom in the country compared to others in the region,” says Ross Tapsell, a media lecturer at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific. “However, it’s increasingly manipulated and influenced by media owners who are linked to political parties … push[ing] out a more partisan version of political news.”
Revolusi Reza, who is commonly known as Revo, is the secretary general of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) Indonesia. “Literacy among the public, the community, is very low,” he told VOA, noting that Indonesia was ranked 60 out of 61 countries included in a global study regarding literacy and literate behavior conducted by Central Connecticut State University in 2016.
The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer Global Report showed that Indonesians were second only to people in China in terms of their level of trust in the media. At the same time, almost 80 percent of Indonesians reported to be worried about fake news being used as weapon.
Full Article: Ahead of 2019 Election, Indonesia, Media Battle Fake News.