Fake news has become a big problem in Indonesia. A case in point is the circulation of inflammatory anti-Chinese hoaxes surrounding the hotly contested Jakarta gubernatorial election campaign and the ongoing blasphemy trial of the ethnic Chinese and Christian Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama. The problem has become so serious that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has vowed to fight it. But what can the government and other institutions do to curb the fake news problem? Is fake news evidence of public distrust of government and media institutions? Is the proliferation of fake news an indication of the increasing polarisation of Indonesian society?
I discuss these issues and more with Ignatius Haryanto, a longtime media practitioner, senior fellow at the Institute for Press and Development Studies (LSPP), and deputy director of the Indonesian Network for Investigative Journalism (Jaring).
In 2017, the Talking Indonesia podcast is co-hosted by Dr Dave McRae from the University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute, Dr Jemma Purdey from Monash University, Dr Charlotte Setijadi from the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore and Dr Dirk Tomsa from La Trobe University. Look out for a new Talking Indonesia podcast every fortnight. Catch up on previous episodes here, subscribe via iTunes or listen via your favourite podcasting app.