REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, BOGOR -- President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) urged students across Indonesia to play an active role in combating fake news. He called on students to not get involved in hoax creation and spread, as it has endangered the nation's unity and social cohesiveness.
Speaking at a leadership training program titled the "Appreciation for Indonesian Students' Nationhood" here on Wednesday, the head of state stated that fake news should be corrected, and the students could contribute to the fact-checking efforts.
"Hence, if you come across fake or groundless news or malicious statement, please correct it," the president, commonly known as Jokowi, noted while reminding teachers and 510 senior high and vocational school students joining the upgrading program.
The students, particularly leaders at their schools, should be aware of the dangers of the spread of fake news, so that they are not misled by those trying to cause disunity in society, he cautioned.
"We must be aware. Do not let ourselves be dragged into a conflict of interests. This is very dangerous if, as student leaders, you cannot call on your peers to see Indonesia as a pluralistic nation," President Jokowi noted.
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The proliferation of fake news was closely related to political interests, such as regional and presidential elections routinely held once in five years.
"The elections are held once in five years, but we are divided. This is very dangerous," he stated.
Thus, students should understand that having different political preferences during the regional, parliamentary, and presidential elections was common and natural in the realm of democracy, he noted.
The importance of maintaining national unity could be observed from the recent Asian Games during which Indonesia emerged among the top four in the medal tally after its athletes successfully won 31 gold medals, 24 silver medals, and 43 bronze medals.
"Once we were united, we could bag 31 gold medals. In the past, we could only grab four or five gold medals and were ranked 22nd, 15th, and 17th in the medal tally," President Jokowi remarked.
Indonesia's great achievements in the recent Asian Games has demonstrated that unity is the nation's most important capital for enabling it to compete with other nations, he stated.
"Our biggest asset is our brotherhood, unity, and peaceful co-existence! There is no other more valuable asset than this. If we are united and live in peaceful co-existence, we have an immense potential to win in our competition with other nations," he emphasized.
However, hard work should be adopted as part of the nation's character by all Indonesians spreading from Papua to Sumatra. Without it, Indonesians cannot make their country the world's strongest economy.
"In this context, the future of Indonesia lies in your hands. Thus, do not ever stop loving our country for the sake of well-developed Indonesia," President Jokowi informed the students.