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By : Shenna Aprilya Zahra )*

In a few months, the public will take part in the 2024 elections. This once every 5 year program is very important for Indonesia’s future. However, unfortunately during the election, especially during the campaign period, hate speech became widespread. The public is advised to avoid  hate speech  and make the elections peaceful so that this program is successful and runs smoothly.

In recent years, social media (medsos) has been very busy and Indonesian citizens have become the top 5 social media users in the world. However, unfortunately there are a handful of individuals who abuse social media, and make it a place for swearing,  hate speech , and even spreading intolerance in Indonesia.

Hate speech is rife in circulation ahead of election day, especially during the campaign period. When there is an individual who swears, accuses, slanders, and provocations, then it is included in the category of hate speech. The public must avoid it so that the 2024 elections can run smoothly and peacefully.

To prevent the circulation of hate speech, a high-level meeting was held by the Peace Coalition. The event was attended by Bawaslu (the Election Supervisory Body) and other parties who wanted peaceful elections without hostility and hate speech.

Daily Chair of the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO, Itje Chodijah stated that the aim of this meeting was to foster cooperation towards healthy elections, through preventing hate speech and misinformation. The Peace Coalition wants to promote peace and achieve true democratic goals. Elections are a means of achieving the democracy desired by all Indonesian society.

Itje continued, hate speech is usually carried out by groups with interests. Namely those who side with someone, but actually provide temporary benefits. The victims are the general public, the perpetrators are also the general public and of course there are far more people who suffer losses.

The appeal to avoid hate speech must be heeded and carried out by the public. Don’t let the 2024 election be like the 2019 election, where there were many hoaxes and hate speeches circulating in cyberspace. 

Since Indonesia entered the era of information technology, many people like surfing on the internet. But unfortunately the virtual world is tainted by hate speech and hoaxes. This all happened after the gates of reform were opened and people could express their opinions freely. But they forget to brake and then express their thoughts with bad words and incitement to hatred.

The violence of netizens (internet users) is increasing on social media because they forget that Indonesia is a democratic country, not a liberal one. Therefore, people need to be made aware that freedom has limits. Don’t let them commit hate speech because they can be punished.

Article 28A paragraph 1 of the ITE Law states that those who make hate speech can be sentenced to 6 years in prison. Meanwhile, those who spread hate speech are subject to 4 years in prison. Don’t let those who are too direct on social media feel the cold of the penitentiary due to their mistake.

The public must be reminded of the function of the ITE Law, which can ensnare perpetrators and makers of hate speech. This law was made to create a peaceful atmosphere, especially ahead of elections. Don’t let the election end in chaos because of provocation from individuals who spread hate speech.

Meanwhile, Bawaslu Chairman Rahmat Bagja stated that hate speech and hoaxes were obstacles during the elections. Therefore, his party is collaborating with UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) to carry out a program to eradicate hoaxes and hate speech.

Rahmat Bagja added that Bawaslu has been holding an anti-hate speech program since 2017, when there was an election for the Governor of DKI Jakarta. This program will continue in the 2019 elections, and will be further refined in the 2024 elections.

In that sense, Bawaslu is not playing around in preventing hate speech by collaborating with international organizations such as UNESCO. It is hoped that with this collaboration, the presence of hate speech will be greatly reduced and the 2024 elections will take place peacefully.

The community plays a major role in creating peaceful elections and supports the government, KPU, Bawaslu, and all other parties. Peace must be maintained so that elections can take place smoothly without any riots or even bloodshed. Therefore, peace must be maintained by eradicating hate speech which can mislead and inflame people’s hearts, because they are deceived by provocateurs who create fake news.

Incitement of hatred in society must be monitored and reported so that it does not spread further. Do not let peace be eroded because of differences in political views. If differences make some groups carry out hate speech, it will become chaotic because it will fuel hostility, not only in cyberspace but also in the real world. Hostility can spread to brawls which result in many losses.

The 2024 election must take place in peace and security. One of the ways to achieve peaceful elections is to dispel hate speech. The public is advised to avoid hate speech because it can divide unity and have the potential to thwart peaceful elections.

)* The author is a contributor to Nusantara Reading Room

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