Political polarization threatens national unity: activist

Political polarization threatens national unity: activist

Activists from the Anti-Defamation Society of Indonesia (Mafindo) unfurled posters to stop the spread of hoaxes in Jakarta on Sunday (22 January, 2017). (ANTARA Photo / Yudhi Mahatma)

Jakarta (ANTARA) - Polarization due to political, religious, and ethnic fanaticism has the potential to threaten the nation’s unity if it is not immediately stopped, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Society of Indonesia (Mafindo) Presidium Septiaji Eko Nugroho said.

He added that such polarization continued to be promoted through the proliferation of hoaxes, hate speech and slander delivered via social media.

Septiaji noted that the digital civilization has changed the pattern of society in interacting and consuming information. Digital civilization makes social interaction more homogeneous, in terms of consuming information.

The problem, however, is that not all information received is true, whereas the ability to filter and verify information is  low. Even having higher education does not mean a person is able to tackle hoaxes.

Therefore, he added, gathering events that bring together community leaders, religious leaders, political elites, youth leaders, and civil society should be intensified as it becomes increasingly important.

"People needs to improve its unity and increase interactions with the real world to avoid the illusion of ‘my group is right, your group is wrong’," he said.

Simultaneously, the literacy movement should be encouraged to increase people's awareness of hoax.

"It is very important to embrace as many figures as possible together to be agents against hoaxes and lies," Septiaji said.

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