VOINews, Jakarta - Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs Mahfud MD emphasized the importance of improving media and political literacy in welcoming the 2024 elections.
"What is literacy anyway? Literacy is reading, writing, explaining, living, and solving problems," Mahfud said in Jakarta on Tuesday. Mahfud said this when he was the keynote speaker at the seminar "Media and Political Literacy Ahead of Election 2024: Mitigating SARA Conflict and Strengthening Citizen Participation" at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University Jakarta on Tuesday.
According to Mahfud, the problem today is that most people do not read the news thoroughly. Often people just read the title and immediately react, for example by cursing. Ironically, Mahfud continued, the mass media is currently trapped in making news with clickbait or exaggerated titles merely to attract readers instead of reflecting the original content of the news.
"The media now make a lot of clickbait between the content and the title (not the same). This is already unhealthy and it might disrupt the course of our elections," he said. According to Mahfud, this condition cannot be separated from the post-reform media climate, which despite gaining freedom, has encountered problems in the form of economic or capital weakness. This often forces the media to increase readership by putting sensational headlines that often deviate from the truth.
Mahfud recounted how his statements were often reported incorrectly by the mass media, as happened yesterday when he gave a press statement as Acting Minister of Communication and Information.
Mahfud said that the plan to inaugurate new echelon 1 officials in the ministry was based on a Presidential Decree (Keppres) that had been issued and proposed by the previous Minister of Communication and Information, Johnny G. Plate.
"Then the title of a well-known media 'Mahfud cleared all echelon 1 officials'. Where is the dismissal? Wong, the decree already exists, and it was Mr. Plate who proposed it too, why then Mahfud dismissed it," he said, while calling the title provocative.
The same thing happened when Mahfud was a speaker at the 2023 National Work Meeting of the Islamic Student Association Alumni Corps and explained that the new Criminal Code did not contain a ban on LGBT because according to the legislator or DPR, it was a natural so it was not included.
"But now what is developing is 'Mahfud MD: LGBT is the nature of God's creation, it should not be prohibited'. No, I didn't say that," he said.
Such news, Mahfud continued, dominates media life today, partly because mainstream media are experiencing capital weakness and a lack of readers. This condition is also accompanied by many mass media that have openly become oligarchically oriented.
"Nowadays, a year before the election, we can even see that media A must even openly support candidate A, while B supports B," he said.
In addition to the issue of mass media that are clearly affiliated with political parties, Mahfud assessed that conditions are increasingly complicated due to the development of various social media channels, which have become fertile ground for the emergence of buzzers which can be paid by anyone to form opinions, including political opinions.
"Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to invite all of us, let us protect our elections through correct political and media literacy," he said.