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Beware of Hoaxes and Provocations Ahead of the 2024 Election

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The closeness of the 2024 elections brings new challenges for Indonesian people. The threat of hoaxes and Ethnic, Religious, Racial and Intergroup (SARA) issues is a threat that must be overcome so that the democratic process runs smoothly and is conducive. Digital literacy is the main weapon to combat the flow of false information that can damage social and political stability.

Dewi Sartika, West Java Champion MSME Companion, reminded us of the rapid spread of hoaxes in this digital era. In an online digital literacy activity on December 14 2023, he explained that technological advances have provided extraordinary speed for the dissemination of information, including hoaxes. In dealing with this phenomenon, Dewi Sartika emphasized the importance of critical thinking.

Awareness of the importance of not quickly believing any information received is significant. Prioritizing critical thinking is considered a very important first step.

In this view, the public is expected to develop skills not to impulsively accept news and prioritize the verification process. This process involves comparing information from various sources before disseminating it or assigning credence to it.

Dewi Sartika also provides practical guidance in identifying hoaxes, namely through titles that tend to be provocative, invitations to share them, and unstructured sentence structure. He emphasized that selectivity in choosing and sharing information is a reflection of the quality of a person’s personality. In this way, the public can play an active role in preventing the spread of false information that could be detrimental.

Rosalina Anggraeni, who serves as President of Indonesian Business Friends, identified the issue of Ethnicity, Religion, Race and Intergroup (SARA) as a risk zone that needs to be watched out for when approaching the 2024 Election. In her perspective, Rosalina sees that SARA carries significant potential in creating divisions in amidst society. According to him, to prevent this potential risk, it is very important to actively avoid SARA issues and refuse to provide space for discriminatory actions between different parties.

He realized that the impact of SARA issues could not only damage national unity but also endanger political stability. Therefore, Rosalina encouraged the handling of SARA issues to be carried out through discussions that focus on facts and policy arguments, along with the application of applicable morals and etiquette.

In an effort to overcome the problem of hoaxes and SARA issues, the Ministry of Communication and Information (Kemenkominfo) continues to strengthen society’s digital literacy. The Indonesia Increasingly Capable of Digital program is one of the concrete steps taken by the Ministry of Communication and Information to teach the public to be able to understand and criticize the information they receive, as well as avoid the spread of hoaxes.

According to data released by the Ministry of Communication and Information, from the period 17 July to 26 November 2023, there were 96 hoaxes related to the 2024 Election spread across 355 pieces of content on various social media. Facebook is the platform most used to spread hoax content, with 312 pieces of content found. The ministry has also taken preventive action by removing 290 contents, while 65 other contents are still in the process of being processed.

Acting Governor of Central Java Nana Sudjana also highlighted the enormous challenges faced by the community in dealing with false information. In a conference on December 14 2023, he emphasized that hoaxes, hate speech and provocations were increasingly rampant on social media ahead of the election.

Nana Sudjana also emphasized the important role of the media and society in providing clarification of incorrect information. He invited all parties to contribute to maintaining the integrity of information regarding the 2024 Election. The public is encouraged to report doubtful information to the relevant digital platforms or to Bawaslu via their official website.

In the midst of the challenges faced ahead of the 2024 Election, the digital literacy community is at the forefront of efforts to fight the spread of false information and Ethnic, Religious, Racial and Intergroup (SARA) issues. Sapunyere Digital Literacy Community, through the activities they held with the theme “Stop! Hoaxes and SARA Ahead of the 2024 Election,” have shown their determination and seriousness in raising public awareness regarding the dangers of hoaxes and the negative impact of the SARA issue.

During the event, Dadi Munardi, as Chair of the Sapunyere Community, gave a speech emphasizing the importance of digital literacy in preventing the spread of hoaxes and Ethnic, Religious, Racial and Intergroup (SARA) issues.

Dadi Munardi emphasized that these two problems can be overcome by having good digital literacy skills. This event was attended by 173 participants, including youth leaders and community leaders around Tamansari District, Bogor Regency.

With all the dynamics occurring ahead of the 2024 elections, the main key remains people’s vigilance and digital literacy skills. Strengthening digital literacy must be a shared priority so that people can be smarter in responding to information circulating in cyberspace.

In facing the risk of hoaxes and SARA issues, collaboration between the government, digital literacy institutions, media and society is a strong foundation for creating a safe, open and fair election atmosphere.

Ahead of the 2024 elections, the community’s active role in fighting hoaxes and SARA issues is very necessary. With strong digital literacy skills, the public can become a good information filter and help maintain the integrity of the democratic process.

Strengthening digital literacy, productive discussions, and active participation in reporting false information will be milestones of success in maintaining the conduciveness and integrity of the 2024 Election. Let’s together be guardians of the truth and make the 2024 Election an example of mature and dignified democracy.

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