The Jakarta Post
Workshops to help the public identify hoaxes and disinformation are scheduled to be held at schools and campuses from August to November. (Shutterstock/Kunst Bilder)
The Indonesian Anti-Slander Society (Mafindo), Google News Initiative and the Communications and Information Ministry are running a comprehensive media literacy program to train the public to spot disinformation or hoaxes on the internet.
Particularly targeting youths and housewives, the Stop Hoax Indonesia program aims to increase the public's ability to verify information shared on social media through workshops held in 17 cities.
"Housewives are among the elements in the ecosystem of information-spreading, while youths can identify hoaxes [by themselves], but many are still apathetic. These are the agents of change," said Mafindo chairman Septaji Eko Nugroho in Jakarta on Wednesday, as quoted by tempo.co.
The workshops are to be held at schools and campuses from August to November. The program was released alongside the Fact-checking Contest initiated by Mafindo to encourage the young generation to fight hoaxes and inspire fact-checking.
The government through the ministry has also conducted efforts to rein in hoaxes, such as by establishing a hoax-detection chatbot connected to messaging platform Telegram.
"Following the general election, hoaxes related to politics continue to decrease. However, then there will be hoaxes on natural disasters, health and other social issues," said the ministry's director of information application administration, Riki Arif Gunawan.
"Disinformation is a global phenomenon that has become an issue in any country in the world. Each country has its own way to prevent the spread of hoaxes," said Masato Kajimoto, an academic from Hong Kong University's Journalism & Media Studies department.
Kajimoto said that, in addition to literacy, a lack of critical thinking was also an issue in the spread of disinformation. "Cooperation between academics and journalists is needed to maximize the process of filtering news that is worthy of spreading among the public." (sal/kes)