Pojok Bulaksumur once again facilitated the discussion with journalists from Universitas Gadjah Mada. Being held on Friday (21/7), Pojok Bulaksumur spoke on “Digital Literacy for First-Time Voters Ahead of the 2024 Elections.”
Pojok Bulaksumur brought in speakers Arga Pribadi Imawan, a lecturer from the Department of Politics and Government at the UGM Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, and Agung Nugraha, a research manager at the faculty’s Center for Digital Society (CfDS).
The General Election Commission of Indonesia (KPU) has set 204,807,222 citizens as voters for the 2024 elections. Interestingly, more than half of the voters are young, specifically Generation Z and Millennials (Republika 3/7), implying that information through social media is crucial to equip them with political insights.
For Agung Nugraha, the demographic bonus that Indonesia will experience in the 2024 elections is an excellent opportunity for digital development and a concern for many Millennials and Generation Z who have become victims of harmful content and cybercrimes.
Furthermore, many are still pursuing their education in higher education institutions. The lack of digital literacy is believed to cause this issue.
Therefore, CfDS proposes collaborating with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology to conduct training programs to address various problems, including how to combat hoaxes.
“I believe the government cannot handle it alone because hundreds of hoaxes emerge monthly,” he said.
He predicts that the spread of hoaxes will increase and be perpetuated by those with specific interests as the election approaches. Hence, initiatives must be developed from the grassroots level to tackle this issue.
Based on data from Litbang Kompas, when asked about their preferences for Prabowo, Ganjar, and Anis, around 32 percent of Gen Z aged between 16 and 26 chose Prabowo. The persona of Prabowo, according to them, has changed. He is seen as someone with firmness but still relatable to them.
Agung Nugraha believes that this reason is understandable. Generation Z and Millennials did not experience the 1998 reformation era, which makes their political preferences not consider the past much.
For Millennials and Gen Z, human rights issues are no longer crucial. They prioritize problems like digital matters, the environment, climate change, and the economy.
“It also depends on the level of literacy they possess. It is crucial to navigate the digital space to counter hoaxes and misinformation, which are increasingly prevalent, and it can start with educating their families,” he explained.
Arga Pribadi Imawan points out that looking at political behavior, the calculation of candidates still revolves around identity politics. Issues like that will continue to be discussed, while issues related to politics focusing on work programs are sidelined.
According to him, this condition leads to an open debate. Polarization, as a form of democratic development, naturally brings opposition. Without opposition or counterbalance to the government, democracy cannot function properly.
“Quoting a scientist from the United States, polarization in Indonesia is a healthy momentum for democracy in the future. In the era of the New Order, freedom of expression and freedom, in general, were suppressed, and everyone became politically monolithic,” Imawan said.
Therefore, it is essential to foster intelligent politics in society. Politics are not driven by money politics, ethnicity, and other divisive issues but based on rationality and sociology, and voters can choose with their rationality.
“Although, so far, there is no official definition of what constitutes a smart voter,” said Imawan.
Author: Agung Nugroho