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Fake news has become a major concern in Indonesia. But what can be done to address the problem? Is the proliferation of fake news an indication of the increasing polarisation of Indonesian society? Charlotte Setijadi discusses these issues and more with Ignatius Haryanto in the latest episode of Talking Indonesia.

Following the massive rallies against Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama over alleged blasphemy, one might assume that religion was the most important factor influencing the intended voting behaviour of Jakarta residents. But a study conducted by Nathanael Gratias Sumaktoyo demonstrates that it is not as dominant as the recent rallies suggest.

Since mid-2015, the government has banned the placement of Indonesian domestic workers in 21 mainly Middle Eastern countries. But Wahyu Susilo, from Migrant Care, writes that the desire to work in the Middle East remains high, and workers who flout the ban are much more vulnerable to human trafficking and abuse.

How much is the controversy around Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama related to his ethnicity and religion and how much is it about popular politics in Indonesia today? How has Ahok’s own political style played a part? Dr Jemma Purdey discusses these issues and more with Professor Ariel Heryanto in the latest Talking Indonesia podcast.

The exact details of what instigated the recent dispute between the Indonesian and Australian militaries remain unclear. But whatever the cause, Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the bilateral relationship is changing, and this kind of turbulence is likely to become more common.

Fake news and hoaxes are now a ubiquitous part of the public conversation online in Indonesia. Dr Airlangga Pribadi Kusman writes that when political engagement is based on lies or manipulated data, public participation in the political process may end up harming, rather than strengthening, democracy.

What role do political dynasties play in Indonesian politics? What motivates political families to attempt to establish themselves as dynasties, and how do they do so? Dr Dave McRae discusses these issues and more with Dr Jemma Purdey, in the first Talking Indonesia podcast for 2017.

In our final post for 2016, we send off this rather depressing year by taking a look back at some of the expert commentary and analysis published on Indonesia at Melbourne. Thanks again for your loyal readership and support, and we look forward to seeing you again in mid-January.

On 10 December, Indonesia lost one of its most passionate, outspoken and committed public intellectuals and activists: George Junus Aditjondro. Professor Ariel Heryanto reflects on the rich and colourful life of his friend and colleague, who died in Palu, Central Sulawesi, at the age of 70.

What are the most important online tools for pro-ISIS groups in Indonesia, and what do these groups use them for? How do their online activities differ to fellow Indonesian jihadis who oppose ISIS? How can the Indonesian government monitor and counter extremists’ activities online? Dr Dave McRae explores these questions and more with Nava Nuraniyah in the final Talking Indonesia podcast for 2016.

The bizarre arrest of Perth teenager Jamie Murphy in Bali last month prompted another round of tabloid reporting about Australians whose dream Bali holiday had turned into a nightmare. But Professor Tim Lindsey writes that the image of Bali as a dangerous “Yobbo Paradise” is inaccurate. In fact, of the more than one million Australians who travelled to Bali last year, only 60 had direct contact with police over issues or charges.

Apakah signifikansi “Aksi Bela Islam III” secara politik dan agama? Apakah besarnya demonstrasi tersebut adalah bukti lebih lanjut tentang penguatan konservatisme Islam di Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy menyajikan analisa mendalam tentang demo 2 Desember dan konsekuensinya bagi demokrasi Indonesia.

Police Chief Tito Karnavian has said that about AU$7.65 million was spent on security for the rallies to “defend Islam” on 4 November and 2 December. But as Ihsan Ali-Fauzi writes, these material costs are only part of the picture. Of far greater significance is that the protests have eroded the foundations of democracy and undermined the influence of “moderate” Muslim leaders.

What is the political and religious significance of the massive protest to “defend Islam” in Central Jakarta on 2 December? Does the huge turnout indicate a hardening of mainstream Muslim attitudes in Indonesia? Associate Professor Greg Fealy presents a comprehensive analysis of the events of 2 December and their consequences for Indonesian democracy.

Rising incomes and easy access to credit have resulted in huge growth in the number of motorcycles on Indonesian roads. But poor attention to and enforcement of road laws has also seen a spike in traffic fatalities. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 100 people die on Indonesian roads every day. Dr Tim Brickell examines this growing and largely preventable problem.

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