‘Fake news’ at the heart of hate-fuelled politics
The revelation by police that an online syndicate known as Saracen has been fuelling Indonesia’s increasingly vicious political climate through a “fake news factory” designed to spread hate speech and misinformation has raised uneasy questions about the archipelago’s growing sectarian divide. Saracen, which takes its name from a historical term for Muslims widely used throughout the Crusades, has allegedly been paid thousands by several supporters of establishment politician Prabowo Subianto to run smear campaigns against incumbent President Joko Widodo and his former deputy Basuki ‘Ahok’ Purnama. Last month, misinformation broadcast on social media was blamed by police for sparking a fierce anti-communist riot in response to a historical seminar at the Legal Aid Institute in central Jakarta.
Hardliners after the jailing of former Jakarta governor Ahok