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Make most of digital space to improve democracy: Minister Plate

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Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Communication and Informatics Minister Johnny G. Plate urged people, press, and political parties’ leaders to be democratic and keep the digital space free from irresponsible information to prevent disunity following the political year leading to 2024 simultaneous elections.

“Now is the time for us to take advantage of the digital space to improve Indonesia’s democracy, the quality of expression of freedom of speech, and to improve the quality of our general elections or democratic parties responsibly,” the minister noted in an official statement here on Tuesday.

The minister admitted to the election having opened a gap for polarization in society. Concurrently, the government must ensure serious steps are taken to expedite digital transformation and in favor of the community.

Furthermore, Plate emphasized that the government continues to guarantee freedom of opinion, freedom of press, and freedom of association in the public sphere, including the digital space, in accordance with the laws in force in Indonesia.

“However, once again, I emphasize that freedom is freedom that is responsible and provides benefits to society. It is not even divisive,” he stated.

With Indonesia’s large number of internet users and wide coverage of telecommunications infrastructure and digitalization, freedom of expression in the digital space must be maintained, he emphasized.

Although the ministry continues to focus on the healthy use of the digital space, the minister has consistently encouraged to raise awareness of each individual to use the digital space responsibly.

“Leaders, including in political parties, must guard this. Do not let polarization to occur. The public must also be aware that they do not spread misinformation, are wrong, and have the potential to divide the nation,” the minister stated.

Plate also admitted to the still very high potential for polarization. This can occur since the direct presidential election is conducted simultaneously with the election of members of the House of Representatives (DPR) and Regional Representative Council (DPD), which form the People’s Consultative Assembly of the Republic of Indonesia (MPR RI), the Provincial People’s Representative Council (DPRD), as well as DPRD for districts and cities to regional heads.

“We certainly do not want the digital space to be filled with negative and problematic content with post truth nuances because we do not want our society to be divided,” Plate stressed.

Hence, he urged all elements of the nation to jointly maintain national political conditions and not affect the nation’s economic growth, which was good when several countries were in recession, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic that still persisted as well as war in several countries.

“However, inflation in Indonesia is still below six percent. It is quite controlled and good. At a time when the world’s economic growth was slowing, Indonesia was still growing at five percent. This is very nice. We must guard this together, although at the same time, we must maintain our national solidity as a nation,” the minister stated.

In addition, the minister reminded the public about several regulations governing the digital space, specifically regulations that prohibit people from uploading content that violates statutory provisions and is disturbing as well as has the potential to disrupt public order.

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