Indonesia’s digital revolution

September 30, 2016

How is social media and digital technology changing the political and social landscape in Indonesia?Nicole Andres 1

Up to 100 speakers and guests gathered at Murdoch University to discuss the impact that digital technologies are having on one of Australia’s closest neighbours in the region.

The conference, Digital Indonesia: Challenges and Opportunities in The Digital Revolution, was held in collaboration between the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra and Murdoch’s Indonesia Research Program.

ANU Indonesia Update has been held in Canberra since 1983 and this was the first time a mini Update has been presented to an audience on the west coast.

Four speakers came to Murdoch from the Canberra event, held a few days earlier on September 17, to present alongside three Murdoch based speakers.

Dr Jacqui Baker is Lecturer in Southeast Asian Studies at Murdoch’s School of Business and Governance.

She said: “Digital disruption is not just transforming Australia, new digital technologies are radically changing the region.

“We know Indonesia as the world’s Twitter capital and it’s also a voracious consumer of Facebook.

“Social media represents only one of the ways in which digital devices and infrastructure are radically reforming the political and economic landscape.”

Co-convenor of the Update, ANU’s Dr Ross Tapsell, opened with a revealing presentation on how digital convergence has greatly amplified the power of Indonesia’s already powerful media barons.

The 2014 elections saw a number of media oligarchs either competing for government outright or playing politically-laden but decisive roles in broadcasting the election results.

Murdoch PhD candidate Nicole Andres charted the ways in which the media in Indonesia has become implicated in political feuds.

Academic Atma Jaya and novelist Dr Andina Dwifatma explored citizen blogs hosted on major national news sites, which file up to 1,000 stories per day.

Dr Baker added: “Although the collaboration with ANU was a first for Murdoch, it comes off the back of a decade of conversation through publications and debate between ANU and Murdoch on how best to approach the study of Indonesian politics.

“That debate continues to shape our understanding of Indonesia immeasurably.”

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