The development of information technology and social media platforms has brought about significant changes in the information landscape.
Indonesia, with its large population and growing internet access, faces severe threats from disinformation that can distort the mindset and perspectives of society.
Digital media technology advancements allow anyone to participate in the production and virality of information and content.
Vulnerable groups, such as the youth, who are more active digitally, are not immune to disinformation.
Additionally, rural communities with limited access to credible information often become the primary targets of disinformation, posing a potential threat to social cohesion and national security stability.
These vulnerable groups not only become the subjects of discriminatory media content but are also vulnerable and harmed by disinformation.
“Hence, the massive risk of digital transformation needs to be addressed, especially for vulnerable groups,” said the Deputy Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Nezar Patria, on Thursday (November 16) at a National Seminar on Disinformation and Vulnerable Groups in the Era of Digital Media Manipulation.
In this seminar, a collaboration between the Cultural and Media Studies Program of the UGM Graduate School and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) through Safer Internet Lab (SAIL), Deputy Minister Patria stated that digital transformation needs to favor groups of people who are vulnerable to economic and social obstacles, placing them in unfavorable conditions.
Vulnerable groups include not only the youth, women, older people, rural communities, and people with disabilities but also those who have not comprehensively gained digital knowledge.
Disparities manifest in infrastructure access and ICT understanding gaps, hindering groups or individuals from experiencing digital transformation.
He mentioned that this discourse needs attention, given that a quarter of the world’s population is still not connected to the internet, with the majority residing in rural areas. Lack of access creates deepfakes and disparities between urban and rural populations.
“Vulnerable groups have a higher risk because they become victims of technology misuse,” Deputy Minister Patria stated.
He gave an example of the victimization process, especially in AI algorithm profiling, which tends to be used to marginalize vulnerable groups.
For instance, in the case of Amazon’s recruitment using AI, there was still a high level of discrimination and gender bias because only white males were accepted. This situation sparked significant protests from the public at that time.
Considering the threats and proliferation of disinformation for vulnerable groups, Deputy Minister Patria sees the need for collaboration in the positive use of digital technology to protect these groups.
Therefore, digital transformation needs to adopt an inclusive digital transformation approach. This step is expected to address the problems faced by vulnerable groups.
Efforts to mitigate digital transformation and existing gaps can be carried out by providing adequate access so the community can actively participate in the ongoing digital transformation.
The Ministry of Communication has taken several strategic measures to respond to this. One of them is to cut off access and take down content that violates regulations.
From July 17 to November 14, 2023, the ministry cut off access and took down 962,719 content, especially related to online gambling. In addition, it is actively involved in international forums to strengthen global internet governance.
The deputy minister stated that the ministry also plans to strengthen digital governance policies. One is the revision of Law No. 11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions.
Besides that, there are plans for a presidential regulation on the personal data supervisory institution, a government regulation on the implementation of Law No. 27 of 2022 on Personal Data Protection, a revision plan for government regulation No. 71 of 2019 on the organization of electronic systems and transactions, and a revision plan for the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Regulation No. 5 of 2020 on the organization of private scope electronic systems.
In addition to Deputy Minister Patria, the national seminar also featured three panelists: Dr. Vidhyandika Djati Perkasa (senior researcher in the Department of Politics and Social Change, CSIS), Tarlen Handayani (researcher in the Women’s Archive and History Space), and Professor Heru Nugroho (professor of sociology at UGM and lecturer in the Cultural and Media Studies Program at UGM).