What does the 1965 violence have to do with Ratna Sarumpaet? Hellena Souisa examines two incidents that demonstrate how serious the problem of hoaxes has become for Indonesian politics.

Many Indonesians are concerned about the damage that hoaxes and so-called “fake news” are doing to social cohesion. Professor Ariel Heryanto writes that it is difficult to find a more powerful hoax than the story of the 30 September Movement, which has provided the basis for numerous other nonsensical and dangerous hoaxes.

Given the partisan nature of most mainstream media, many Indonesians are now turning to alternative online sources, many of which encourage sectarianism. Dr Ross Tapsell writes that Indonesia is in dire need of a strong, independent public media that could provide an alternative to privately owned conglomerates and the spread of hoax news and disinformation.

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.

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.