Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Fake News: The Case Study of Anti-Chinese Discourses in the 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Gulmohar, First Floor

The lead up to the Jakarta Gubernatorial election has been marred by race and religious issues, particularly following allegations of blasphemy committed by incumbent Governor and re-election candidate Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (Ahok). Since the allegation came to light in early October 2016, there have been large-scale protests against the ethnic Chinese and Christian Governor, and race and religion became the main issues surrounding the election, rather than policies or the candidates’ merits.

At the same time, fake news has become a big problem in Indonesia. Taking various forms from fake mirror news sites, to hoax messages and pictures circulated on social media and messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. These fake news and hoaxes play upon long-standing prejudices, and are intended to incite confusion, fear, anger, or worse, violence. Putting the fake news problem in context of the hotly contested Jakarta gubernatorial election campaign, mass protests, and Ahok’s on-going blasphemy trial, the number of hoaxes going around alleging various political, religious and Chinese conspiracies behind Ahok’s leadership are troubling because, considering the long and bloody history of anti-communist, anti-Christian and anti-Chinese sentiments in Indonesia, inflaming ethnic and political tensions is dangerous, particularly for Chinese Indonesians. In this paper, I discuss anti-Ahok, anti-Chinese and anti-China narratives that circulate as fake news and hoax on Indonesian social media. I critically analyze the use of such fake news as political tools and discuss why anti-Chinese hoaxes gain much traction on social media.

Charlotte Setijadi

ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

Presentation(s):

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1 - Fake News: The Case Study of Anti-Chinese Discourses in the 2017 Jakarta Gubernatorial Election



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