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Indonesia’s Strategies for Digital Literacy and Regulation

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A Cultural and Digital Communication Observer at the University of Indonesia (UI), Firman Kurniawan, warned the Ministry of Communication and Informatics that the methods of spreading hoaxes related to the 2024 General Election (Pemilu) are becoming more diverse. “The Ministry of Communication and Informatics has been working hard and systematically in handling election hoaxes. But if we look at the methods of spreading hoaxes, they are continuously evolving,” said Firman.

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Firman highlighted the complexity of the challenges in combating the spread of hoaxes, especially in the context of elections. He expresses concern about the negative impact that hoaxes can have, including damaging the reputation of candidates, triggering social conflicts, and undermining public trust in the democratic process.

Firman emphasised the importance of enhancing digital literacy among the public to address these issues. According to him, knowing how to identify valid and critical information in the digital world can serve as a strong defence against the spread of hoaxes. Firman also calls on mass media, government institutions, and online platforms to collaborate more closely in detecting and addressing hoaxes.

“Currently, we are not only dealing with openly spread hoaxes but also increasingly sophisticated tactics, utilising artificial intelligence,” Firman said. He underscored the need for investment in hoax detection technology to identify complex patterns and recognise media manipulation.

Firman argued that preventive measures need to be reinforced with stricter regulations on the spread of hoaxes. While acknowledging the importance of freedom of expression, he believed that certain limits must be imposed to protect the integrity of democracy. According to him, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics must work with others in handling such hoaxes. He emphasised the need for cooperation between the government, online platforms, and civil society in developing a balanced and effective regulatory framework.

Collaboration with various parties, such as hoax victims like legislative candidates, presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and political parties participating in the election, is necessary. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics also needs to collaborate with hoax consumers, who, in this case, are the general public.

Firman believed that the Ministry of Communication and Informatics could collectively map and examine the circulating hoaxes by involving those who have fallen victim to hoaxes. Additionally, hoax consumers must be engaged to understand how hoaxes operate and become more vigilant.

“Hoaxes are network-based material. Therefore, the approach to overcoming them should also be network-based. Collaboration needs to be built. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics cannot stand alone,” said Firman.

Firman emphasised that strengthening the public’s immunity to hoaxes is not solely the government’s responsibility but involves all layers of society. He suggested that education and awareness campaigns need to be intensified through conventional channels and social media so that the public has a better understanding of the threat of hoaxes and their impact on the democratic process.

Firman supported collaboration between the government, schools, media institutions, and civil society organisations to organise digital literacy training programmes in this context. He believed that increasing public understanding of identifying hoaxes would make people more vigilant and critical information consumers.

“The Ministry of Communication and Informatics can play a role as a facilitator in bridging various parties to collectively overcome the challenges of spreading hoaxes. However, active participation from the public in these efforts cannot be ignored,” Firman asserted. He added that educating the public about the risks of hoaxes is not just a preventive step but also a long-term investment in maintaining the health of democracy.

Firman is optimistic that the spread of hoaxes can be significantly reduced with awareness and strong immunity among the public. He calls on all parties to collaborate, support each other, and create an environment of truthful and honest information, ensuring that the 2024 General Election takes place with preserved integrity and trust.


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