Legal expert warns of “democratic brutality”

Legal expert warns of “democratic brutality”
Legal expert Bambang Widjojanto. Photo: NET

IO – The successful verdict of the Democratic Party (Partai Demokrat) in the Indonesian Supreme Court should be celebrated as the victory of democracy. Yet, the Democratic Party and civil society should beware of a looming threat called “democratic brutality” in both the real world and cyberspace.

This warning was given by legal expert and human rights and democracy activist Bambang Widjojanto. Bambang opined that the victory in the Supreme Court is not a ‘gift’ from the Government to the Democratic Party. “This triumph cannot be separated from how the party has kept a close watch on every trial. The term is man-to-man marking,” Bambang said in his statement, Monday (11/22/2021).

On the other hand, the Democratic Party has built active and massive communication with the public to gain their support. Bambang said the coup attempt against the Democratic Party is not only the party’s problem but also civil society. “I call it the “brutality of democracy,” because the methods are utterly brutal,” said Bambang. Moving forward, Bambang advised the Democratic Party to involve activists, academics, and youth who own the voice of the future to have the knowledge and the courage to speak their minds.

Bambang said this is the time to show partiality. He underlined that some recent surveys show the rising trend of the Democratic Party and its chairman’s, Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono (AHY), electability. “It’s a good opportunity to warm up the party machine and, at the same time, involve various elements of civil society by practicing coordination and moving in command while maintaining flexibility in considering the problems. Don’t be reactive. Try to lead by carefully considering the various problems as they develop,” explained Bambang.

Not only in the real world, but the pressure on the Democratic Party also occurs in cyberspace. Australian journal ‘Inside Indonesia’ edition 146 (October-December 2021) published a series of research results on cyber forces in Indonesia, one of which was entitled “A Digital Coup Inside the Democratic Party.” The joint research was conducted by Diponegoro University (UNDIP), University of Amsterdam, LP3ES and Drone Emprit.

One of the main researchers, an UNDIP Lecturer, Dr. Wijayanto said that correct information is like oxygen in democracy because people use the information to make decisions. “Therefore, disinformation and hoaxes (spread by cyber forces) have become poison gas in democracy,” said Wijayanto, who is also the Director of the Center for Media and Democracy at LP3ES.

For Wijayanto, what happened to the Democratic Party was a systematic debilitation of the opposition. The rulers in power tried to buy legitimacy using cyber armies.

“This may work in the short term, but in the long run, the public will realize it and then it will backfire,” he said.

Inspired by the joint research, the Head of R&D of the Democratic Party DPP Tomi Satryatomo conducted a social network analysis comparing two non-government parties and six government coalition parties.

This analysis used big data for over six months, from May 15 to Nov. 15, 2021. The study found indications that both the Democratic Party and the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) were shadowed by paid buzzers, usually the same players for both parties, and similar negative narratives against the two non-government parties. (des)