Hoax and Electoral Democracy

Categories Featured, Student Article

General election is a political contestation in order to elect people to occupy national leadership positions in the government. This is a national ritual carried out routinely for the sake of Indonesian sustainable democracy. It aims at achieving victory and power. For sure, there will be varying dynamics happen greatly. Sometimes, there is violence against political opponents both verbally and non-verbally, including the dissemination of negative issues and black campaign in order to bring down the opponents. One example of these kind of electoral violation is hoax, it is a phenomenon of dissemination of lies and non-existence issues. It has, and it will happen massively in the midst of a political frenzy ahead of the upcoming Presidential Election and Legislative Candidates in 2019. Public generally tend to be easily influenced by sensitive issues which are played by irresponsible people. Moreover, their mindsets are so vulnerable since they are lazy to cultivate reading habits. It certainly makes the hoax phenomenon spread even more without difficulty.

To be more precise, hoax is an attempt made for manipulating public opinion in order to ridicule the opponents. Its products can be an action, document or artifact. It is highly needed to be anticipated in the election, because it effectively triggers hostility and mistrust within society. This phenomenon has been starting quite sometimes and has been a big problem since first identified in the 2014 general election.

The emergence of hoax itself is inseparable from information and technology development. Based on Association of Internet Service Providers (APJII) data, today there are about 132.7 million internet users in Indonesia. Regional character with high smartphone users determines the impact of hoax dissemination. The campaign method by using social media, reporting, and broadcasting can make hoax spread effortlessly. Even since general election in 2014, 2017 and 2018, hoax news have broad impact toward election and it is predicted that, general election in 2019, hoax will be vastly circulated among the public. Indonesia itself is a country with the fifth highest social media users in the world. Accompanied by low reading rate and enthusiasm, and the high use of information technology, the imbalance of information, thus the emergence of hoax become increasingly difficult to be controlled.

Hoax builds from social media and other mass media. According to Ministry of Communication and Information data in 2017, hoax spreads from various media channels. The details are as follows: 92.4 percent of social media, 62.8 percent of chat applications, 8.7 percent of websites, then 5 percent of television, 3.1 percent of print media, email and radio with 1.2 percent. Therefore, the organizers of the General Election also attempted to prevent the development of hoax with various methods. One of them is stated in article 310 and 311 of the Indonesian Criminal Code and ITE Law. Here it is explained that “anyone who disseminates or provides bad information on the internet can be threatened with criminal code”. In addition, other various legal regulations continue to be addressed for fake news disseminators and ghost account managers.

On the other hand, the public are expected to know and avoid hoax in general election in various ways. First, the public should check the source of information clearly. If there is no clarity of the source of information, the news can be considered as hoax. Second, public should anticipate provocative news headlines. Avoid provocative news headlines by reading other news from other sources. Provocative headlines are deliberately made to increase readers’ visits even though the context is not necessarily true. Third, read the full news. All news must be read thoroughly, people tend to only read the headlines, which may be deliberately exaggerated to attract readers’ attention. Fourth, be really careful with photos or videos which are shared on social media because original and edited photos are very difficult to be distinguished. Fifth, share news wisely. Public have to check the truth first before sharing the news. Sixth, public should be critical and indifferent toward provocative news. Critical in choosing information, which is right and which is wrong and indifferent in responding to provocative news.

The government plays important role to prevent hoax in election and prevent unwanted things happen. There are several efforts prepared by the government to prevent hoax in the election, namely in the regulation election campaign in 2019 in which it requires election participants to register their official social media accounts so that if it is found a black campaign posted in their social media, they will be punished. Then, commitment affirmation with election participants not to do black campaign. Further, election organizers shall strengthen partnerships with cyber-crime police. Next, election organizers should strengthen relations with Ministry of Communication and Information to provide socialization to raise public awareness on hoax. Also, giving punishment toward media which spread hoaxes and issues of SARA (tribe, religion, racial issues), cooperating with social media to spread positive contents in election, and ensuring election participants to use it are among strategies that can be done in preventing hoax in the election campaign round up.


-Elizawati dan Toni Ruswandi*-

Mahasiswa FISIP UIN Ar-Raniry


This translation is a joint collaboration with Department of English Language Education, UIN Ar-Raniry.

Translated by : Adinda Audia Devita S.Pd.
Dated : 9th April, 2019
Original article link : http://padebooks.com/demokrasi-elektoral-dan-hoax/

Name                                       : Adinda Audia Devita

Email                                       : Adindaaudiaten2014@gmail.com

Instagram                               : adindaaudia

Educational Qualifications     :

  • SDN 3 Keude Siblah
  • MTsN Unggul Susoh
  • SMAN Unggul Tunas Bangsa
  • S1 Pend. Bahasa Inggris

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