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The Politics of Fact-checking in Indonesia

Fact-checking has never been an objective straightforward process. This EngageMedia project seeks to investigate the practice of fact-checking in Indonesia, particularly in light of the recent “disinformation panic.” Rather than naturalising facts as immutable truths existing independently in the external world, our research focuses on how the process of identifying facts is shaped by a social consensus involving funding, platform politics, experts, and organizational policies.

Our objective is to understand how “facts” are produced through the practise of fact-checking, revealing how certain “facts” become accepted as common-sense “truths” while others do not. We critically examine how the concepts of “hoax” and “fake news” are defined and problematised by “fact experts,” and how “facts” are presented as the solution to these issues. This project is historically informed by Indonesia’s extensive experience with authoritarianism. We take that the process of fact-checking and the current information muddle in Indonesia are not new phenomena; instead, they are shaped by this historical context.

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