November 2, 2022

Disinformation Risk Assessment: The Online News Market in Indonesia

Key Takeaways1/3

Of the 38 sites assessed, more than 50% demonstrated a minimum or low level of disinformation risk.

The Global Disinformation Index (GDI) has released a new report on disinformation risks within Indonesia’s media market. This research was led by GDI alongside the Asia Research Centre at Universitas Indonesia from March through June of 2022.

The need for a trustworthy, independent rating of disinformation risk is pressing. This risk-rating framework for Indonesia provides crucial information to policymakers, news websites and civil society, enabling key decision makers to stem the tide of money that incentivises and sustains disinformation. This report outlines the findings pertaining to the disinformation risks for 38 news websites in Bahasa Indonesia. The sample was defined based on the sites’ reach (using each site’s Alexa rankings, Facebook followers, and Twitter followers), relevance and the ability to gather complete data for the site.

This chart lists (in alphabetical order) the sites assessed in this study. This list is available in the full report.

Overview

Indonesia’s media landscape is heavily anchored in the experience and history of democracy and freedom of speech prior to the New Order regime. The media landscape’s governance during the New Order reflects the state’s media policy as the government’s means of controlling society, and thus limiting democracy and freedom of speech. Following the end of the New Order regime, the Indonesian government has shifted towards an era of reform.

Within this distinctly new and reformed media landscape, Indonesia currently has an abundance of media companies supplying information for audiences across the archipelago. Other important characteristics of this move include a smaller number of nationwide outlets, and an increase in private ownership of media conglomerates. 

Similar to many other global trends, advances in online media outlets have rapidly enabled information consumption as well as production and dissemination.In 2012, there was a marked spread of disinformation within the country according to experts. And starting in 2016, the Indonesian government implemented a number of initiatives to govern disinformation as well as to deter online media outlets responsible for producing provocative fake news.

Findings

The study found good average overall scores for the Indonesian media market (63 out of 100).

This chart shows the scope of the risk ratings designated through this study. The results are detailed in the key findings.

Eight sites were assessed with a minimum-risk rating. While these sites generally performed well on providing straight, reliable and unbiased content, a few provided insufficient information about attribution policies regarding elements like statistics, quotations, and external media, which have the potential of disinforming readers.

Eighteen sites were assessed with a low-risk rating. While these sites generally performed well on providing reliable and unbiased content, they often lacked key operational policies associated with strong universal journalistic standards, such as fact-checking and correction policies, attribution policies and practices to ensure accuracy. This indicated that online journalism remains new territory for pre-digital news outlets, which needs to be explored and adapted. 

There are seven sites in Indonesia that were rated as medium-risk sites, and the five remaining sites received a high-risk rating. They showed poor overall scores with respect to both the credibility of their content as well as the journalistic standards for editorial and operational policies. Two of the five domains that scored as high-risk are an international radio broadcasting company and a national radio broadcaster collaborating with an international radio broadcasting company. As international news agencies, these outlets are not well regulated under Indonesia’s Press Law no. 40/1999.

Conclusion

In this Global Disinformation Index study on Indonesia’s media market, 87% of the sampled domains were rated as presenting a minimum, low or medium risk of disinformation.

News sites could address shortcomings by taking actions such as:

  • Adopting and publishing journalistic and operational standards (like those set by the Journalism Trust Initiative) that provide transparent information about the site’s overall policies.
  • Supporting the establishment of national regulations which are attuned to the characteristics of new media outlets.
  • Clearly publishing sources of funding and media outlet ownership information.
  • Ensuring that all media properly attribute information and news, in alignment with journalistic best practices.

Read the report for GDI’s full analysis — and to learn more about what newsrooms in Indonesia can do to diminish risks of disinforming their readers.

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