[PRESS RELEASE] Digital Multiculturalism in Social Media Era: Is it Really Happening? Digitalk #18
Thu, 02 Aug 2018 || By Admin CfDS

Yogyakarta, July 31st, 2018 – In this digital era, contents bearing political interest, hatred or racism are widely spread through social media. These contents trigger certain stereotype towards a specific community. Several groups have been through severe persecution caused by incomplete and tendentious news spread out in the society. Then, there comes a notion that social media disturbs multiculturalism value in Indonesia. In Digitalk #18, Center for Digital Society UGM, with Gutomo Priyatmono the head of IMPULSE (Institute of Multiculturalism and Pluralism) are discussing the matter of multiculturalism in social media in Anomie Café, July 31, 2018.

Gutomo thought that Yogyakarta was a perfect place to practice multiculturalism, but now it is starting to fall. Students from outside Yogyakarta might live side by side with locals but they never really know each other.

“Multiculturalism is about learning different paradigms and how to live together. Pluralism is about living together not merely living side by side. Living together implicate building relationship, dialogue, and respect towards one another,” said Gutomo.

Digitalism distorted multiculturalism through social media. Whereby, the interest to read the information thoroughly is not yet well developed in Indonesia. This situation enabled hoax to spread out quickly. Gutomo encouraged audiences to see social media from constructivism perspective. Social media disseminated various truth, but people tend to believe only one truth, which most of the time was what they first see, without looking for the source. Social construction in social media created single truth, or commonly termed as post-truth.

Taradhinta, one of the audiences, asked if education about news framing will predominate sensitive reaction towards tendentious contents. Gutomo sees that education process in Indonesia is not designed to develop a critical thinking ability. Then, Vania asked about the role of different actors to distort the truth in social media. “Bad news is good news,” Gutomo began. “When someone posts a seemingly-substantial opinion, people will read and share. It goes viral, even if their thought is flawed.”

Gutomo reminded audiences always to utilize smartphone in a smart way to avoid distortion in social media. Everyone must understand the underlying message when reading the news. Research center such as CfDS shall help the society here. The user should be more critical toward information circulated in social media. It is very dangerous if people fail to understand context and news framing.

As a conclusion, Gutomo closed the discussion with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. “Living together is a challenge.” Practicing Bhinneka Tunggal Ika is a challenge, but Indonesia should see it as a gate to opportunities. This will enrich us as a nation if Indonesia succeeds to live together harmoniously.

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Reporter: Nabiila Nurfitri

Editor: Fahreza Daniswara