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The Importance of Countering Hoaxes to Create a Peaceful 2024 Election

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By: Puteri Manulang*

The implementation of the 2024 General Election will certainly result in a lot of hoax information developing among Indonesian society, especially through social media. Social media is one way to spread various kinds of information, true or false, false or honest. Hoax news is the spread of information that the public must anticipate or avoid. Because the impact could result in divisions between communities in Indonesia. 

The use of social media must of course be used wisely, considering that these applications are very easy to access by every gadget user. One of the most frequently appearing hoax news is hoaxes related to election preparations, considering that elections are a big national event involving all people who have registered as voters. 

During the 2019 election, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology managed to track down 3,356 election hoaxes. Of course, the data released by the Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information became a reference for anticipating the spread of hoaxes ahead of the 2024 election in order to prevent unwanted things from happening.

In this case, the Ministry of Communication and Information continues to campaign for the 2024 Peaceful Election. In communicating and building this narrative, the Minister of Communication and Information, Budi Arie Setiadi, stated that he had formed an Anti-Hoax Task Force.

Minister Budi Arie explained the direction to the Anti-Hoax Task Force so that any false information, whether categorized as hoax, disinformation or misinformation, should all be labeled with a hoax stamp.

The Minister of Communication and Information emphasized the neutrality of the Ministry of Communication and Information institutions in taking action against perpetrators of spreading hoaxes in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. According to him, this is in line with the strategic role of the Ministry of Communication and Information in maintaining the digital space during the 2024 elections.

Kominfo has taken several good handling steps from upstream to downstream levels.

At the upstream level, Kominfo is increasing people’s digital literacy and skills in responding to hoaxes through educational campaigns and anti-hoax outreach by the national digital literacy movement.

At the intermediate level, Kominfo publishes hoax clarifications or debunking together with digital platforms. Meanwhile, at the downstream level, Kominfo provides data support to Bareskrim Polri to carry out law enforcement efforts against those who create and spread hoaxes related to the election.

Hoaxes will not only cause chaos, but will also raise the political temperature to the point of political fragmentation. The public must also understand that fake news or hoaxes, as well as black campaigns, aim to attack political opponents.

Member of Commission II DPR RI Yanuar Prihatin also asked for special attention to the potential for spreading hoaxes on social media during the 2024 General Election.

This is necessary to regulate and take action against those who create hoax news and black campaigns who always violate ethics and order and cause chaos in the elections. Law enforcement officials in this case have a very important role in this process, especially in dealing with the circulation of hoax news and so on

Previously, the General Election Supervisory Agency (Bawaslu) released the 2024 Election Vulnerability Index with strategic campaign issues on social media. The launch of the campaign vulnerability index via social media was carried out as a form of mitigation and early detection of potential vulnerabilities in the upcoming elections.

As a result, the 2024 Election Vulnerability Index shows that campaigns via social media containing hate speech at the provincial level dominate by up to 50%. This percentage is followed by campaigns containing hoaxes or fake news (30%) and campaigns related to ethnic, religious, racial and inter-group or SARA issues (20%).

Meanwhile, at the district/city level, campaigns containing hoaxes or fake news are the highest indicator of potential vulnerability (40%). This ranking is followed by hate speech campaigns (33%) and campaigns containing SARA (27%).

Still from the results of this index, it is known that there are 15 provinces that are most prone to campaign issues via social media based on district/city aggregation. These provinces are South Papua, Southwest Papua, DKI Jakarta, Bangka Belitung Islands, Yogyakarta Special Region (DIY), West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Sulawesi, West Kalimantan, North Maluku, Central Java, Riau Islands, West Java, North Kalimantan and East Kalimantan.

High internet penetration is a challenge in efforts to mitigate and prevent the spread of information disruption. Overcoming information interference in elections must be a joint task for organizers, election participants (candidates and parties), the government, candidate/party supporters, technology platform companies, the public and media companies.

Social protection through networking and strengthening healthy, correct and rational information is a solid foundation in preventing the spread of hoaxes. Moreover, in the political year 2024, we must all play an active role in socializing stop hoaxes so as not to create social disparities based on existing political interests. 

The current and future spread of information disruption will pose a threat not only to the implementation of elections, but also affect public trust in government and state institutions, support for democracy, and national cohesiveness. For this reason, it is hoped that the public will increase their insight into the world of politics. Because if all parties understand matters related to elections, it will certainly be a good record for the implementation of the 2024 elections in determining the ideal leader in the future.

*Social Media Activist

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