Thesis Defense: “Information Smearing on Social Media and Its Impact to Public Information Openness Policy”

Ms. Marieska Ramiarto, student id. 24015308 undertook thesis defense on 11 January 2018, with thesis title Information Smearing on Social Media and Its Impact to Public Information Openness Policy”. The Thesis defense session was attended by Dr. Ir. Muhammad Tasrif and Dr. Munadjat as examiners and Dr. Ir. Sonny Yuliar as Supervisor. Passing the thesis defense is the ultimate academic requirement to earn a master degree from ITB. Ms. Ramiarto will be graduated on 6 April2018.




Marieska Ramiarto

Student id. 24015308

Master Program in Development Studies


Since the beginning of Reform Era in 1998/1999, freedom has become a central issue to Indonesia’s society. In public life, freedom of speech and freedom of media has been ardently promoted by numerous activists on human rights, media and democracy. On the other hand, the demand to observe good governance principle has compelled the Indonesian government to adopt transparency and public information openness policy, which was then followed by the formulation of legislation UU/14/ 2008.  For many people, social media is believed as an important means for freedom of expression and public information openness, and therefore this freedom should be protected. Nevertheless, at the same time free use of social media has also introduced new phenomena such as the widespread use of hate speech and the misuse of public information. Within this context, the following research questions are formulated: (i) what is the modus operandi undertaken by these actors to proliferate  hate speech and misuse of public information; (ii) how does the current public discourse respond to the aforementioned social media phenomena. This thesis employs case study method, discourse analysis and framing analysis to answers the research questions. These answers are then used as a basis to formulate relevant public information policy. From the findings of the research the following conclusions are drawn. First, actors that proliferate hate speech and  misuse of public information have undertaken modus operandi that mainly consist of: unveiling identities, performing large-scale repetitions and information smearing. Such modus operandi have been made practical and easy due to the presence of uncertainties in social media. Secondly, the current public discourse seems to ignore the presence of uncertainties in social media that renders them vulnerable to large-scale information manipulation practices.  Based on the aforementioned conclusions, the following policy measures are recommended: (i) clearly define the identities of public information; (ii) clearly define identities of potential users of public information; (iii) intensify public education on various modus operandi of information manipulation practices; (iv) perform early detection on the emergence information manipulation practices by involving various elements of society such as pesantren-pesantren (Islamic religious schools), religious organizations, genuine representatives of ethnic groups, universities and NGOs. 

Key Words: Information Freedom, Public Information Openness, Social Media, Information Smearing, Framing Analysis 

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