User:Tash/grad interviews

From XPUB & Lens-Based wiki

Anonymous Testimonials: on Self-censorship

Format: Etherpad! Link here
Notable points:

"Sometimes I wanted to react on certain tweets, but decided not to because I didn't want to get attacked by a twitter mob."

"I'm pretty sure there were many occasions where I would try to think of a clever reply to a comment and be on it for minutes at a time, writing and rewriting, eventually not replying anything."

"I changed my name for a while on Facebook. I was very thoughtful to not post things that would create any kind of conflict."

"I don’t like engaging in online discussions cause it never ever goes anywhere, but 99% of the time when I am unsure about posting something it’s about controversial topics like environmentalism or social inequality. One time I posted something on my story on Insta about how annoying something in Indo was – I can’t remember what – but then I got an anonymous DM like “anjing kalo lo ga suka ngapain masih disini ini negara tuhan” or some shit like that. Especially with LGBT issues they are sooo hateful."

"I try to avoid this kind of confrontation since it can get very personal, and to be honest, I got some bad experiences growing up as a lesbian kid and I somehow want to avoid this kind of situation as much as I can. Sometimes by not posting certain things, or just not confronting, even they are saying something very wrong and full of hatred."

"I think most of the time it comes down to not wanting the attention, and then I mean more that I don't want to take the attention/seem like I want the attention. And not wanting to be too vulnerable. Better not say/contribute then. Better keep it to myself. Even online it sometimes feels uncomfortable to take up space. For me this mostly happens on Facebook or Instagram, since these are pretty much the only platforms I use where interaction happens with people I know and where my actual identity is so interwoven with my online identity."

Interview: Devi Asmarani

Devi interview01.png

Date: 16-10-2018
Format: Skype interview

Devi Asmarani is the editor in chief of Magdalene, one of the first progressive feminist online magazines in Indonesia. Devi's practice as a journalist is relevant to my research because she works in the alternative publishing sector, using online & social media platforms to reach her predominantly urban audience.

In their own words: "We channel the voices of feminists, pluralists and progressives, or just those who are not afraid to be different, regardless of their genders, colors, or sexual preferences. We aim to engage, not alienate."

N: Tell me a little bit about how Magdalene started.

D: We started in 2013. It was co-founded by me and a couple of journalist friends. We all came from a mainstream journalistic background, mainly news. I used to work for the Jakarta Post, for the Straits times, for many years – a total of fourteen years.

When I quit journalism, it was because I was tired – not of doing the news, but I was tired of the fact that it didn’t seem as if the things I was writing was making any impact. I was covering Indonesian news, so a lot of corruption cases, a lot of political stories. But nothing ever changed, it was just business as usual. So I quit.

A few years later my friend Hera and I, who was also a freelancing at the time, started talking about returning to journalism, but this time we wanted to do something different. So that’s how we pretty much started Magdalene. We decided that it should be a women-focused publication, and that it should be substantive. So we are not going to cover the things that the usual women-focused publications do. We are going to be issue-based, hard-hitting and progressive. And we are not going to be shy of issues that are considered taboo. So that’s how we started.

So when we first came out, in September 2013, people were pretty shocked by our content. We talked freely about things that are not covered in the usual, not just women’s publications, but mainstream publications. We covered LGBT issues. We covered issues like menstruation very frankly… sex, religion. You know, and [we talked about] all of the norms [in Indonesian society] that have been taken for granted but that have created a lot of restrictions for women, impacting women’s lives.

That’s where we started. It’s been five years now. We are very small, and everything’s been mainly self-funded. Since last year, we have had a little bit of income, but we survive mainly because we don’t have an office yet and are still working remotely. We have a small team. But we’re going to receive some grants and investments soon so hopefully we can keep growing.

N: Would you say that when you started, yours was one of the first publications of this kind in Indonesia?

D: Yes, I would definitely say so. I didn’t see any platform that was similar to ours until a few years after we came out. And even then, they didn’t really catch up. There was one or two that came out, and then disappeared. I think it’s partly because as alternative media organisations, we require – in one way or another – endurance, and journalistic capacity. And the platforms which came after us often didn’t have that journalistic background. And probably, just like us, they had their own day jobs to take care of. So it takes some sacrifice.

N: How has being online helped you when it comes to endurance? I see for example that Magdalene now has a podcast series. Can you talk a bit about that?

D: The reason we started that is a bit personal, because Hera and I love podcasts. We think it’s a different way of telling stories, a different way of getting your perspective out there. And it’s very personal in a way, because most people listen to podcasts alone in their car, or with their headphones… You don’t usually listen with others. So I think it’s very effective in getting your message across. And our podcasts are mostly interviews.

N: And how do you use social media?

D: Well social media is the main channel through which we distribute our content. Within the first year of our existence, we decided to hire someone to do social media exclusively. This showed that we really saw social media as an important tool to get our content out there; because people no longer go to a website on their own these days, they are always being pushed content through social media.

And also social media is a way to engage our readers. We can gauge their interest in us, through whether they share our content, and how they comment on it. So we can gauge our readers’ interests and passion in an issue through social media. Also, we can get to know them. Sometimes I see somebody who comments on our stories, and I’ll go click on their profile, just to see, who is this person? Why is this person saying this?

N: The immediacy of social media is definitely interesting. Have there also been challenges when it comes to using social media? How do you handle discussions that turn sour?

D: Yeah, of course, that happens. But it’s not so bad. We don’t have as many haters as we would think. Maybe that’s because we’re still quite small. I mean on Twitter we have something like 24.000 followers, and on Facebook not as many. We’ve been doing it very organically, we don’t spend money on ads or promotion. So a lot of the time we really rely on celebrity endorsement. Some actor or comedian will start following us and tweeting our posts and within days we’ll get thousands of new followers, from outside our traditional base of readers. So that’s very interesting.

In a sense, I think that this slow, organic growth is the reason why we don’t have so many haters yet. I think once we really get out there, once we have an investor and really expand, that’ll be a different story.

But you know what, I’m also very pleased that a lot of our content gets people to talk. It doesn’t always have to be positive, or praises. We get a lot of criticism on our stories on religion, for example. Surprisingly, one of our most negatively commented stories that have gone viral, is a story about Agnez Monica. She’s one of the most famous people in Indonesia, and she has this ambition to go international. And we did a critical story on her, basically looking at how she uses orientalism to do that. And there were a lot of people who hated that story, who said that we didn’t do her justice.

And I think it shows that our negative commenters don’t just come from where we would assume they would (people from the right, maybe religious or conservative people). We also get criticism from the left, from the extreme left, or even from the LGBT community, as was in the case of Agnez Monica. Many of her fans came from the LGBT community. But I think this is great. I really don’t see this as an obstacle to our mission as an organisation.

N: Yeah, and from my research so far it definitely feels like the question is not whether social media itself is good or bad, it’s about what discussions are being had under the post.

D: Yeah. We had this thing recently, a Tweet-talk, where we invite people to ask questions about an issue. The first one was on sex toys, and it was quite a success, because there are not that many platforms in the Indonesian context who would cover this issue. And we had somebody who was very knowledgeable and insightful on this issue to talk about it. So we also use social media to really engage our audience. Bringing them issues that they would usually not be able to engage actively or interactively with.

N: Is there one issue that you think is most difficult to talk about right now?

D: I don’t think so… At Magdalene we are quite happy to talk about anything. The more controversial the better. What I do find hard, or something that personally, I’m becoming more restrictive of myself, and more reluctant to talk about, are issues that divide feminists. It’s within the movement itself that I see a lot of friction. And often these are based on some fundamental differences, which I think should not be a challenge to working together and bringing positive impact to society at large… but I think there’s still a lot of this stuff that is not being resolved withint the movement. And it’s kind of giving a bad name to the movement. People say things like that feminists are fighting amongst themselves. That’s not good.

So when we are covering issues like that, sometimes we need to think twice. One example is when we covered the badminton player Jojo at the Asian Games, the guy who took his shirt off during a game and got all the women in Indonesia all ‘hot and bothered’… [Magdalene challenged the way Indonesian media objectified Jojo, instead of focusing on his sporting achievements] So we had opinions from both sides on that case. And we like that, but of course, on social media there are people who just cannot see beyond a difference in opinion. And I don’t think that helps.

N: I agree. I think it’s really hard on these big platforms, you see that people are just passing each other by in the comment section, and sort of yelling into the void. They’re not actually talking to each other. That’s something that I wish I could change about social media. I wish there was a platform that was designed to do that better.

D: It’s tough. But yeah, maybe some day!

N: Maybe as a last question, could you talk a bit about the state of politics and censorship in general in Indonesia? How do you see the media landscape now? Do you see it opening up in the near future? Or is it something you worry about?

D: Well I entered journalism in 1996. So to me that was the heyday of journalism in Indonesia. It was a time that was very turbulent, but also very hopeful. It was a transformative period. And as a journalist I learnt a lot, and I saw how media and journalism can really impact society. And I can say this because I grew up under Soeharto, where the media was basically just doing what was dictated. And if they so much as strayed from what the government wanted them to be, it was the end for them. I saw many media organisations being banned by the Soeharto regime. So the end of the 90s, twenty years ago, it was such a wonderful time – it was the Reformation Era.

But I think slowly it has been going downhill in terms of freedom of the press, and freedom of expression. And it’s not so much because of government intervention, or an increasingly restrictive government, it’s more to do with identity politics and also with the creeping conservatism in the country. I have seen clearly that this society has become so much more conservative in the last ten years. This influence can be felt everywhere. In education, in bureaucracy, in politics of course (although here a lot of it is very opportunistic). But basically it’s everywhere, and you can see this in the way religion is being practiced, in the talk and the discourse on religion. And social and digital media contributes to this. On the one hand it really spreads information fast and indiscriminately, and on the other hand it really groups people and lets people exist within their own echo chambers.

I think all of this affects freedom of press a lot. What happens is, I think a lot of the time the media censor themselves – they’re engaging in self-censorship – in order to prevent being accused of things like insulting religion, or any other thing that people often use to attack others.

And I think these conservative values have also creeped into some of the media organisations. I’m not saying all, but some are getting there. I know for a fact that some news rooms, the leadership in the news rooms have adopted a more conservative stance, and it shows in the way they cover and frame the news.

But there’s also a commercial aspect to it. Nowadays there are hundreds of digital media organisations in Indonesia. And this doesn’t always bring better quality content. One of the reasons is that they are all owned by just a few media companies. I think most of them are owned by the same 13 media groups. So of course they are dictated; they don’t have a lot of freedoms in terms of the content. A lot of the owners are also politicians or political players. But they also have these high demands; they cannot really stray from this path that has been created by the likes of – this low quality content, that is assumed to be what the Indonesian readers want out of their digital media. So there are not that many publications who can step out of that, and say: ‘we don’t care about being the fastest or giving the most, but we care about giving the best’. I still see some like that, like Tirto ID, Katadata, and a few more. They’re out there creating content that is not necessarily always popular, but at least they are thoughtful.

So if you ask me how things are going [for Indonesian journalism], it’s not really that great at the moment. There’s the society aspect, the conservatism, there’s the political factor, and then there’s the commercial factor. I’m sure it’s gonna get better again, but I think right now, the Indonesian readers are not being served the best for their own good, basically.

N: Yes, I really feel like it’s a weird, but exciting time. I’m seeing more alternative media than ever before, and I’m meeting like-minded people through these platforms, like I met you. But at the same time I feel more restricted or even uncomfortable talking about certain things.

D: Yeah… I think because of the situation, people who want better content are really turning more and more to alternative media. That creates space for alternative media to exist, basically. But on the other hand, we cannot exist as alternative media forever. Magdalene is not a non-profit. I don’t come from an activist background; I cannot spend my time looking for grants, writing proposals and justifying my spending to my donor. So for us to be sustainable, we have to make profit. So that is one thing that we really need to work on, to find the point where we can exist and grow, but at the same time we don’t turn back on our traditional readers and our mission and vision.

Interview: Geger Agung

Date: 25-10-2018
Format: Email interview

Geger Agung is a member of Lifepatch, a community-based organization focused on the arts, technology and science. Founded by a group of Indonesian artists and scientists in 2012, the so-called 'citizen initiative' is a collaborative space which invites members and like-minded individuals to research, explore and develop the relationship between technology, art, and natural and human resources. Members of Lifepatch are domiciled in various cities such as Yogyakarta, Pekanbaru and Bogor. This is the main reason that lifepatch relies on most of its communication via the internet, and especially its Wiki page.

On social media & politics

1. What kinds of news sources do you follow and why? Are these mainstream or alternative media?

Kalau saya perhatikan Lifepatch lebih banyak mengikuti sumber terkait sins dan tenologi, seni budaya, baik itu yang berjejaring dengan lifepatch atau lingkaran teman-teman, atau yang sering bekerja bersama dengan Lifepatch. Ada yang mainstream adapula yang media alternative.

2. How important is social media in your daily life / at work? When and why do you use it?

Sosial media digunakan untuk menyampaikan informasi terkait kegiatan, agenda atau workshop yang dilaksanakan/diikuti oleh Lifepatch karena sejauh ini media sosial menjadi media paling mudah untuk menjangkau para teman Lifepatch atau "followers" - bisa diakses oleh semua anggota Lifepatch juga (semua jadi admin) - mudah digunakan namun tetap terpantau oleh semua anggota.

3. What do you think about the impact of social media and meme culture in Indonesian politics?

Sejauh ini Lifepatch menggunakan sosial media untuk kepentingan seperti yang disampaikan di nomer dua, untuk sebar info agenda, kegiatan, atau akhir-akhir ini terkait galang donasi untuk bencana di Sulawesi. Lifepatch secara organisasi tidak pernah tertarik dengan issue politik atau meme culture. Kecuali mungkin menjadi "bahan canda" sebagian anggota secara pribadi di sosial media masing-masing tanpa melibatkan Lifepatch.

4. What platforms or tools do you think are needed to encourage more young people to become socially engaged?

Pemanfaatan internet dan sosial media dengan "gajet" masing-masing rasanya bisa menjadi media yang sekarang ini sangat tinggi pengaruhnya. Bisa untuk pengaruh baik dan buruk, untuk berbagai kepentingan pula (politik, ekonomi, media kampanye sosial, kampanye lingkungan, promosi, dll) - pilihan lifepatch, sosial media sebagai media berjejaring dan mengajak para pembaca (termasuk orang muda) untuk terlibat dengan kegiatan terkait lifepatch (biasanya termasuk kerja-kerja DIY (do it yourself), DIWO (do it with others) DITO (do it together) yang biasa dipromosikan dan didorong oleh lifepatch dalam workshop2nya.)

On censorship in Indonesia

1. What are your experiences with censorship in Indonesia? How has this changed over the years?

Selama lifepatch berdiri belum pernah mengalami "penyensoran" secara langsung. Rasanya sekarang semakin terbuka dan semakin banyak orang yang bisa secara bebas menyampaikan pendapat dengan banyak cara di Media. Namun demikian benar, dari pengamatan pribadi kalau berita atau kejadian yang khususnya terkait Papua ada sedikit sekali keterbukaan. Sangat sedikit media mainstream yang meliputnya. Justru media alternative yang lebih "berani". Sensorship akan merepotkan kalau pukul rata, semacam ketika Kominfo memblokir Vimeo, Tumblr, dll termasuk Netflix :) ... karena ada banyak kontent positif juga di sana.

2. Do you think the internet has a positive impact on freedom of speech / expression in Indonesia?
Saya sepakat internet mendukung peningkatan "kebebasan berbicara / menyampaikan pendapat" di Indonesia - namun bisa jadi banyak jga yang "kebablasan" atau malah "bebas tapi ngawur" sampai menjadi hatespeech / ujaran kebencian atau hal yang memunculkan perseteruan yang lain. Ada banyak internet yang posotif ada pula yang berakibat negatif.

3. What tactics do you use to resist censorship or talk about sensitive subjects?
Lifepatch jarang terkoneksi dengan politik secara langsung, artinya tidak ada kontent yang perlu disensor dalam media yang dipakai oleh Lifepatch. Terkait hal yang sensitive ada cara-cara personal atau berbicara secara langsung yang lebih biasa untuk masyarakat Indonesia.

4. If you could change one thing about the media landscape in Indonesia, what would it be?
Mengubah satu hal bisa jadi adalah bentuk sensorship, pemblokiran atau pelarangan pada hal yang lain - tetapi kalau bisa ya mengurangi hatespeech / hoax karena itu cukup riskan - ada lebih banyak internet posotif yang bisa lebih membangun kemanusiaan, lingkungan, kemasyarakatan dan perdamaian dunia yang nyata.

Interview: Reinaart Vanhoe

Date: 09-11-2018
Format: In person meeting, informal talk

Reinaart is an artist and researcher whose practice takes place in and between the Netherlands and Indonesia. He is the author of 'Also-Space: From Hot to Something Else: How Indonesian Art Initiatives Have Reinvented Networking', and is regular participant in the Indonesian art scene. He works mostly with art collectives Ruangrupa, Jatiwangi Art Factory, Kunci Centre for Cultural Studies, and Forum Lenteng.

Some notable points from our talk:

"The last time I went to Indonesia, I worked on a project with JAF (Jatiwangi Art Factory). I have to say, it was the first time I ever heard the word 'Intel' being thrown around. The artists were talking about the possibility of people from the local police or government spying on our activities. That made things very intense for me."

"Other than that, I've never experienced any censorship as an artist in Indonesia. Not by the government. Though in the last few years, especially in our work in Majalengka with JAF, we've had to deal with some extremely conservative Islam communities. One project was an initiative which ended up involving quite a radical book shop / library. We were supposed to provide a printer for them. I tried really hard to get out of it. Because I didn't want our project to be used for printing books about syariah. But in the end they disagreed, we had to do it."

"There are a lot of artist collectives in Indonesia, and they are connected to each other. They used to work more closely with each other, but lately there have been some falling outs between them."

"I met Ade, the co-founder of Ruangrupa, at the Royal Academy of Arts here in the Netherlands. She went back to Indonesia right after the whole thing happened in 1998 to start the collective."

"Other collectives / figures you should look at are: Acehouse, Akumassa, C20 Surabaya, Grafis Huru Hara, Kata Kerja, Hyphen Publishing house, Marjin Kiri."

Interview: Ade Paramadita

Date: 05-11-2018
Format: whatsapp interview

Ade is a culinary storyteller and journalist based in Jakarta, Indonesia. She has written for a variety of publications, including more alternative digital platforms like Vice Indonesia. She also blogs regularly via her instagram account, which is followed by 24,000+ people. She is known for her love of food and travel, as well as her passion for beer brewing, bodybuilding and tattoos. I admire her as a unique figure in Indonesian pop culture / journalism.

1. Where and how do you get your news? Do you follow more mainstream or alternative sources?

I still read newspapers, but in the form of e-papers. I also get some of my information from Twitter. Why? Because newspapers serve deeper, more well-written content. But Twitter, as an internet portal, is so much faster in giving you the latest updates. So it's a mix of both mainstream and alternative media.

2. How important is social media in your daily life / at work? How has this changed through the years?

Social media plays a very big role in my daily life. As a culinary storyteller, I serve my stories to my audience primarily through social media. I use Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I use these platforms to amplify my work – to take the activities that I do offline (which are many) and bring them to a wider audience.

3. Who is your main audience and how do you reach them? Do you find it hard to find like-minded people in Indonesia?

Actually I don't find it so hard. For example on Instagram, I feel like 80% of the people who follow me are people who have a similar vision to me. They understand the way I communicate and know what to expect from me, whether it's about Indonesian food or beer. And my audience, they're mostly Indonesian people, somewhere between the ages of 18 and 50. And how I reach them, besides social media, is through my work on webseries like Vice Indonesia or Cubicle, or offline through the events I participate in. These allow me to interact directly with my audience.

4. How do you experience the state of censorship in Indonesia at the moment?

Ok, so I think this is really a question of medium. For example, when you're talking about TV, of course there's still a lot censorship. And the censorship often doesn't make sense. I was once appearing as judge on the Indonesian version of Iron Chef, and they told me I should cover up my tattoos as much as possible. They also asked me not to talk about things like alcohol, or any dish made with pork (which is not halal). So not only do they censor the food, they censor the conversation. I think this kind of censorship comes from the unwritten rules in wider society. Lately, religion has become a very sensitive issue. So something as simple as the presence of alcohol or pork can make audiences stop watching, or even stage protests.

5. What tools do you think would help empower more youth in Indonesia to become more socially engaged?

Actually I think the platforms we have today, like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, should already be enough to help young people in Indonesia. They're so internet savvy these days. So the problem is more about how we make sure the information they get via these channels are digested properly, and in a way which involves them and allows them to create change. So, the platforms we have now are enough. It's just that we don't use them to their maximum potential. Social media for Indonesians is still primarily used for self-actualization, for showing off. It hasn't yet reached the level of creating any positive social or environmental impact.

6. How do you think censorship affects women in Indonesia specifically?

I think that maybe because censorship on certain subjects has gone on for so long, there is a certain understanding in society that these things shouldn't be talked about or said out loud. There are also certain things that we shouldn't show or present to others. So I think in general, people think it's right, it's correct, that these things should be censored. But I think we have to make it clear, that censorship has an agenda – and we should question that agenda.

Interview: Annissa Waworuntu

Date: 09-11-2018
Format: email interview

Annissa is a personal friend. She is Indonesian, born and raised in Bali, and living in Jakarta for the past 4-5 years. She recently graduated with a bachelor in International Relations and is an active citizen and netizen.

On social media and politics in Indonesia

1. Where and how do you get your news? Do you follow more mainstream or alternative sources?

I get my news mostly from online resources, i.e. websites of news medias and some reliable pages on social media as well. During my uni days, I had the daily headlines delivered into my mailbox from the mainstream medias, eg. Kompas, Guardian, Jkt Post, CNN, Foreign Policy, etc. Though I dont check them as much anymore, but still read the online sources for articles. For a much less mainstream source, social media is super useful to access those perspectives on demand. Eg. Tempo, PinterPolitik, VICE, NowThisnews, Politico, Broadly, Huffington post, MotherBoard which I access from Instagram, and also some youtube sources such as NARASI, and CNN Indonesia. For my studies, it was important go through both mainstream and alternative medias to give a more complete perspective.

2. How important is social media in your daily life / at work? How has this changed through the years?

I think social media has taken a larger part of my daily life more than I’d like. With it being the communication tool most relied upon, its hard to not let it. More than that, it has also grown to be the source of entertainment as well as medium for resources, just like how I needed to access those news outlets above. Even most of the work and projects, within or outside of my uni’s student body, social media have became the most used tool for promotion, communication, and research, so it has certainly became an important part of most organisations and institutions.

Before, social media had just been a form to connect and maintain relationships with people, like back in the days where we would just check Facebook to follow ups for pics of the friday night house parties. But as social media itself evolved, my perspective (and probably everyone else’s too) about it has also evolved. It has impacted so much on society, lifestyle and mentalities that its really hard to detach from it nowadays. That’s why I think its important for me to always have an instagram hiatus every once in a while. Now at least Im trying to make it have a lesser impact on myself.

3. What do you think about the impact of social media in Indonesian politics? I think that social media has made such a big impact on Indonesian politics. No longer traditional media dominating the information canals, social media is able to break open the initial gatekeepers. It is often used as a tool for political interests by political actors, to shape perspectives, to promote/share values, etc. It is way harder to control the information that flows through social media, thus, easier for political actors to frame the reputation it wants. Political discourse/debates/attacs (or should i say ranting?) that often happens facebook’s timeline or instagram's the comment section have become my parent’s generation’s favourite pre-bed reading material. The people’s participation can be seen through these platforms, the rapidly moving of information through reposts, usage of memes, and blowing ups of issues that may or may not cause concern towards the people, making social media such an influential platform that both help shape and mess up Indonesian politics.

4. What do you think is the biggest challenge in getting young Indonesians to be more engaged in politics?

Indonesian youth’s disengagement towards politics may be mostly challenged by the rise of other topics that dominate the generation. For instance, it may be more important for the individual to take a proper selfie and creating their social media persona, than the discussions of politics. Furthermore, with the rise of social media’s influence, youth’s attention is strongly dominated by “whats trending” topics, if its not the hype, then it would be most likely not be important to them. Indonesian youth is the perfect example of being the victims of trends.

However, often the topics of politics became “trending” because of how easy information about it is flows and accessed nowadays, being helped by social media to become “ hype". For instance, pictures of Ratna Sarumpaet having allegedly been beaten up by “strangers” had become viral on social media, causing anger to many parties while presidential candidate, Prabowo, had backed her on the declaration. Sarumpaet later admitted to lying, not wanting to complicate the situation and putting the opposition, that is Jokowi’s coalition, as the bad guy. Prabowo and everyone involved were later accused of being responsible on spreading a hoax to the people of Indonesia. The issue of Sarumpaet and the attempt to tackle HOAXES had become viral and gravitated so much attention from youth or non youth, pulling them into the discussions of politics. Therefore, social media has made a so much easier medium for engaging in politics. I must say though, the millennial generation are rarely interested in taking part in becoming members of political parties, despite the emergence of Partai Solidaritas Indonesia, which is the country’s party for milennials.

Moreover, i think that the youth generation are becoming more concerned and aware of the disatisfaction/satisfaction that they feel in relation to politics. Often, the youth are participating in discussions and talks about the politics that is happening, becoming opinionated and smarter in choosing the representatives or leaders of the country.

On censorship in Indonesia

1. How do you experience censorship in Indonesia? Has this changed over the years? What about self-censorship?

I think that in my opinion, since the anti-pornography laws, censorship has increased in Indonesian media. Particularly in online content, as websites such as Vimeo and Tumblr have been blocked, limiting access for creativity. The government’s argument is that the websites have pornographic content but really thats not all tumblr is for. On top of that, I think that Indonesian TV and theatres have sadly been limited. Which sucks cause i remember the old Warkop DKI being lowkey inserting sexual innuendos, which was so awesome, while recent TV is mostly on “love” or “ religious” topics. While in recent times, they blocked Noah from playing in Indonesian theatres because the depiction of the story were not the same as the Quran.

So I guess in this case, the government kinda tries to stand clear off anything that may offend religious Eastern values, considering the country’s majority of people. Regarding self-censorship, there is a degree of that in freedom of speech, especially regarding SARA (suku, agama, ras, antar golongan) as was the issue with Ahok’s prosecution, (which was really unnecessary and heavily politicised in my opinion). Sebenernya itu pun karena kebawa BAPER doang dan dilaporin.

I feel I can freely and openly criticize the government if i wanted to, in any medium i think would be appropriate, but i guess i do feel to a certain extent i feel like i just have to be careful about offending a group of people. certain topics i am passionate about, lets say communism and socialism, or LGBT rights are also sensitive dan sebenernya bisa2 aja sih kalo aku mau bahas, tapi ya harus understanding the risks aja that I might be faced with intimidation and the likes of it should it get that far. Pilihan aja, mau suarakan pendapat dan dihadapi intimidasi atau cemoohan orang, atau ngga gituu.

2. Do you feel safe engaging in debate or talking about sensitive subjects online?

Well yes and no, cause i don’t think I feel i need to target a certain group of people. But you’re always prone to not-being-safe, one way or another, I guess. Apalagi tentang religion, i do feel its easy to trigger the society if its that particular topic. I often participate in the debates online and/or participate in the comment section, seringnya ngebahas feminism, LGBT, religion, communism/socialism, etc. It is sensitive but I think as long as I engage with it in ethical methods, akan baik2 aja sih.

Belum lagi tentang isu hoax yang akhir2 ini make the government anxious, that they may be able to prosecute just anyone (super hard to prove someone is responsible for sharing hoax, anyone can be prosecuted).

3. What subjects do you feel we should talk about more (as a nation), that we currently don’t?

Banyak sih, the thing is with the indonesian people, you’re no longer talking about simply differences in opinion gitu, but mainly about the mentalitynya orang2 indonesia that have been highly influenced by the culture, norms and religion, making it extra hard to penetrate. But mainly taboo topics sih yang menurutku important. Like lets say, sexual education, child marriages, mental health, feminism, LGBT, left-leaning topics such as communism and socialism seharusnya di embrace as not so much a bad thing. Mass killing that occurred di jaman orde baru, by Soeharto and his friends, the powers of the elite.

Interview: Dea Basori

Date: 19-11-2018
Format: email interview

Dea is an Indonesian writer, self proclaimed "Javanese feminist" and cofounder of the platforms Indonesia Feminis (Instagram) and The Asian Feminist (Facebook). She is also a contributor to Sisterhood magazine, a digital publication which "spotlights the diverse voices of women of Muslim heritage."

In 2016, Dea's personal Facebook account was suspended for posting an album of historical photos of topless Indonesian women. The album, which she titled 'The Culture of Real Indonesian Women', was her attempt to dispute the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission’s censorship of the Miss Indonesia 2016 pageant. The pictures were mostly black and white images of Indonesian women throughout history, dressed in traditional attire. Many of the women in the photos were topless or bared their nipples. In an interview to the Asian Correspondent she explains that, “I did this to counter the censors and ask, ‘whose culture are you protecting?’ Is their definition of Indonesian culture a true reflection of it?”

The album received almost 3,000 shares within 24 hours of uploading, but was flagged for 'explicit nudity'. She wrote a written appeal to Facebook, explaining that the images were educational and historical. Facebook denied her appeal, and only reinstated her account after the album was taken down.

1. As a writer and as a woman, how do you experience the state of censorship in Indonesia at the moment? Are there certain subjects you hesitate to talk about?

I prefer to write about things that are more relatable. I write about pluralism and the how feminism is still related to women's rights today. I try not to talk much about sexuality and only open up to people I know would be very open to accept liberating ideas.

2. How do you think social media has impacted freedom of speech in Indonesia? Do you feel safe and free to talk about anything online?

Lately I have been very reluctant to talk publicly because I fear of persecution and censorship. I have also preferred to be private as I fear people would come to me and dig out my past. But it is important to provide safe spaces as much as we can. Today, women are much more vulnerable to be accused of defamation and IT law (UU ITE) a lot of the UU ITE cases are women who are being victimized as suspects.

3. Personally, I feel that today the definition of an Indonesian woman, and Indonesian culture, is becoming narrower and narrower. Do you also feel this social pressure?

Yes I do feel it. Our only weapon is our body and our expression. Everyday I fight with it and to prove to people that there are many types of women that needs to be taken account for.

4. If I would build a platform to encourage more open dialogue between young women in Indonesia, what would you like to see in there? What kind of content / tools / attitudes?

I think I would encourage women to write about their experiences in many sort of media. Social media, Video clips are the most effective tool have people talking. We can only hope that there are many more women and sexual minorities who would talk more freely. So it is important to make that space safe and to acknowledge each other's experiences.

5. Can you share with me the feminist / alternative communities or platforms you think I should follow?

I founded the Indonesia Feminis and The Asian Feminist platform, to help share events and talk about issues. I didn't like to use my real name so I created those platforms. There is Jakarta Feminist Discussion Group, Magdalene Webmagazine, Space UNJ, and a whole loot of them. If you see the list of accounts Indonesia Feminis follow on Instagram, there is a list of alternative communities you could seek.

Interview: Ferial Affif

Date: 8-12-2018
Format: email interview

Ferial is an Indonesian artist and member of Lifepatch. I came across her work on Instagram, when she was part of a team which organized a local workshop on sexology with highschool students in Semarang, Java. In her own words, she doesn't call herself an activist, and is "still learning about gender, and apprehensive about some groups who call themselves feminists."

1. As a woman, how do you experience the state of censorship in Indonesia at the moment?

Sensor yang mana ya? Kalau kita jadi ga bisa akses web tertentu (misal Vimeo/Tumblr), ternyata solusinya mudah banget. Aturan negara sampai detik ini masih tidak terlalu berpengaruh (bahkan sama sekali tidak bersentuhan) dalam kehidupan sehari-hariku.

2. Are there certain subjects you feel are becoming more taboo? Or spaces you find difficult to inhabit?

Subjek yang semakin taboo adalah soal Islam, ke sesama umat Islam. Satu sahabat perempuan saya semakin sensitif dalam pembahasan keagamaan, jadi tidak bisa diajak diskusi. Namun samapi kini belum ada ruang yang sulit untuk saya masuki, jumlah yang tidak bisa diajak diskusi juga masih sangat sedikit. Tidak ada yang menghalangi bagaimana saya berkeyakinan.

3. How do you think social / new media has impacted freedom of expression in Indonesia?

Setelah 98 adalah era yang konon bebas, kita seolah bisa bicara tentang apa saja kepada khalayak. Tetapi, menurut saya.. kebanyakan para pengguna social media tidak sungguh-sungguh paham efek apa yang dapat diakibatkan dari sebuah unggahan, dugaan saya kebanyakan berharap dapat efek terkenal/kaya mendadak (jadi celebgram/youtubers). Sisanya, media hanya media, dan media dengan kehidupan tidak bersentuhan. Beberapa bahasan yang mendalam kebanyakan menggunakan twitter, banyak artikel yang menarik, membahas sejarah di Indonesia (misalnya

4. Personally, I feel that today the definition of an Indonesian woman, and Indonesian culture, is becoming narrower and narrower. There is increased censorship from the state, but also from conservative & religious society.

Sudut pandang yang mana dulu nih.. kalau dari berita yang tersebar di sini memang jadi “tampak” demikian, namun kenyataannya tidak. Saya justru melihat perempuan di Indonesia keren, bahkan semakin keren, dan jauh lebih baik kalau dibandingkan dengan Eropa/Inggris. Menurut saya, persoalan halangan karir di dunia kerja ataupun akademis lebih banyak terjadi di sana dibanding disini, disana perempuan seperti hanya punya sedikit ruang untuk bicara. Tapi bisa jadi saya salah, karena saya tidak pernah hidup disana, selain kunjungan2 singkat. Kalau di Indonesia, beberapa sumber menyatakan ke saya, apalagi sejak Jokowi, banyak posisi pemerintahan yang mewajibkan diisi oleh perempuan. Nah tapi, perempuan yang menjabat, banyak yang tidak kritis, bahkan banyak diam. Disini saya punya pertanyaan, sejak kapan perempuan di Indonesia jadi demikian?

Saya sedang meneliti ideologi gender di Indonesia, dugaan saya, secara akar kebudayaan nusantara, kita justru lebih adil memperlakukan semua gender. Perempuan memegang peranan penting & kadang banyak mendominasi, apalagi dalam keputusan adat. Namun entah sejak kapan kedudukan perempuan berubah menjadi tidak dominan, saya menemukan perempuan mulai dipersempit ruang geraknya sejak era kolonial (baca: Belanda, Jepang).

Tapi, ada yang lebih mengerikan.. para aktivis feminis (pasti kamu pernah dengar: angry feminist). Polanya jadi ingin menjadikan perempuan berada di atas, mendominasi, berkuasa. Jadi apa bedanya patriarch dengan matriarch? Mengambil berbagai teori dari luar Indonesia (kebanyakan dari Eropa/UK/US), memaksakannya menjadi isme, meneriakannya ke khalayak, lantas saat diajak diskusi marah-marah. Feminis dipahami dengan aneh, bukan soal keadilan gender lagi, tapi keuntungan satu gender (perempuan) saja.

Saya baca berita BBC, katanya di Aceh ada regulasi baru, perempuan tidak boleh naik motor. Saya baca di CNN katanya perempuan di Aceh harus pake rok. Lalu saya tanya teman-teman perempuan di Aceh, katanya berita tersebut hoax. Bahkan saya lihat dari unggahan di social media, mereka tampak bebas-bebas aja.

Terakhir saya lihat di social media, reuni 212, kemungkinan ada 1,5juta (kalau 1 square meter = 15 orang & kawasan Monas 80hectare) umat Islam kumpul disana. Tapi sebanyak itu tidak sampai 10% WNI yang konon sekarang berjumlah 264juta. Beberapa yang datang kesana tidak seperti sahabat yang saya ceritakan di jawaban 1.b., setidaknya ada 2 teman lelaki yang sering jadi partner diskusi saya datang kesana. Nah mereka ini lulusan pesantren, tapi orangnya open mind banget, kami berteman sejak saya masih minum alkohol (saya berhenti alkohol & berjilbab baru 2th). Dulu saya tanya ke mereka sepulang 212 tahun 2016, padahal mereka banyak tidak sepakat dengan FPI, tidak masalah dipimpin sama Ahok, dulu mereka jawab alasan utamanya adalah menolak proyek Ahok untuk reklamasi Jakarta Utara. Alih-alih alasan utama tersebut, sepulang 212 mereka mendapatkan pengalaman spiritual, mereka bilang begini: untuk pertama kalinya kami melihat & mengalami ibadah khusyuk bersama ratusan ribu orang hujan-hujan tidak goyah, shalat berjama’ah dengan tertib tanpa perduli imamnya aliran/kelompok/mazhab apa.

Jadi masalah religious society, kalo dikhususkan ke Islam society.. well, Islam society in Indonesia as the majority is quite unique, my prediction for at least next 5 years, the problem will be among the muslim fundamentalist, or internal muslim will keep quarrelling on what each group thing best.. while the most dangerous is for the people with low critical thinking, they will be easily pulls into the fundamentalist group, defending their group blindly & attacking other muslim.

Back to my friends story, they amaze on how the people surround them, who not came to 212 movement, were so angry to their decision to come, even worse, they unfollow/unfriend in social media.. we had a long discussion about how the democracy is not exist on their act of disagreeing, stop being friend because your friend not the same as you, ironically the friend who did that is also muslim. This make me strongly sure, the Islam society have an internal problem.

Other story is from the last Sexology Workshop you saw in my Instagram.. When I first arrive there, one person from the community that invite me told me not to openly smoking. I ask why & they said because the villager in that village are muslim fundamentalist. Soon I’m worried about my workshop, hiding while I’m smoking is super easy, but talking about sex with muslim fundamentalist? I don’t thing so.

But then we had a meeting with the elder/parents, a day before I make a workshop with their children, I want to share the material with them first, I don’t want their children get the problem after the workshop, after I go. It turns out they have no comment on my material, they even happy that someone like me give a sex education, things that impossible most of the children will discuss with their parents.. if the children openly talked about their sexual activity, I’m sure the parents will also confuse, because sex education was not exist. The other thing is, turns out I experiencing a super long meeting, we discuss about many things around sexology, especially since the PKBI (the biggest health reproduction NGO in Yogyakarta) survey said the mother/wives catch the STD, a lot more than the sex worker.. I guess the next important thing is sexology workshop for parents.

4. Do you also feel this social pressure? What would you change if you could? (continued)

I would like to change how the women see feminism. I wish every gender get the right portion. I wish more & more Indonesian feminist proud of their culture, digging into the past, finding the good thing from the past that buried by the colonial.

btw, kalau jadi bulan ini Lifepatch akan launch eBook pertama tentang penelusuran ideology gender di Indonesia, berdasarkan perjalanan kami ke Timor Barat. Bukunya bilingual (IND - ENG) dan disebarkan gratis. Nanti kalau udah ada, aku share ke kamu ya.

5. If I would build a platform to encourage more open dialogue between young women in Indonesia, what would you like to see in there? What kind of content / tools / attitudes?

I want to see if young women will be reflecting on their lives, how do they want to live with other gender? How many women are bullied by women? Will they learn more about their local/ancient culture than Western? Will women have a long discussion with men/other women about sexual harassment & consent?

Interview: Aisha Johan

Date: 5-12-2018
Format: informal talk over Facebook messenger

AJ is an Indonesian writer & artist living in Auckland, New Zealand. She is engaged in feminist issues, especially in the context of Indonesia, LGBT and sex education.

1. When it comes to feminist content / publications, where do you go to find it in Indonesia?

I mainly follow Magdalene and Indonesia Feminis pages on Facebook and Instagram. They often post articles, open letters etc. and would usually lead me to other websites with feminist content / other feminist blogs. As i’m not currently based in Indonesia, I find that websites and social media platforms are great sources for current gender issues and feminism in Indonesia.

2. Do you ever come across / engage with the other side of the spectrum? So for example extreme conservative publications or social media accounts?

Come across, yes. In particular Indonesian media and social media users that are freely spouting extreme conservative point of view, they are so easy to find. Even on my own social media timelines. But in terms of engaging with those w/ such point of view i can’t remember if i ever did. I feel that there’s no point in arguing through social media.

It’s a dilemma really. Like, we don’t want these people to keep spreading inaccuracies such as “homosexuality is a mental disorder” (it was categorised as such in the 70s by a few psychology academic papers or something like that) but it has been proven otherwise. Or like, “transgender people are not aligned with Indonesian values” when really there are several Indonesian tribes and ethnic groups that have been recognising transgender people pre-colonisation. But at the end of the day they will not listen to any of the facts we’d present them with... The arguments become pointless.

3. What would you say is the state of feminism in Indo today? Compared to say, 20 years ago? I think feminism in Indo is quite progressive now, it branches out to a variety of issues. 20 years ago I was only 8 and Soeharto’s regime has just ended so the focus was more on human rights abuse happening around that period.

Even so, now I feel that a lot of feminist issues are still considered taboo to be discussed / bring to surface. For example, prostitution and sex workers’ rights. I feel strongly about this particular issue. But when I try to discuss it with other Indonesians who consider themselves feminists, they tend to shy away from discussing it and viewing prostitution as a lowly occupation.

4. What do you think about censorship in Indo today? Do you feel media freedom is expanding or shrinking atm?

I feel that the media freedom is expanding but in a way that i think could potentially lead to the shrinking of said freedom? If that makes sense. For example, left leaning media and organisations are able to promote their ideology more freely (compared to in Soeharto's era). But then so does extreme conservatives.

People will soon think that some sort of censorship or like limitation need to be put in place. Anything that are too 'liberal' is already censored anyway. I follow this news media called based in Jogja i think (you're probably familiar with them). And since they produce genuine journalism pieces, so many ppl comment on their facebook page accusing them of being communist sympathisers and pushing LGBT propaganda etc. It's so fucked up and it's wrong. But that's an example of a possible shrinking of media freedom forced by the Indonesian people and society.

Interview: Sandrayati

Date: 15-11-2018
Format: informal talk over Facebook messenger

Sandra is half Indonesian, and currently living in Bali. She tours Indonesia as a musician, and has a significant social media following.

1. Have you ever engaged in self-censorship online? If so, what happened and why?

I have definitely stopped myself from voicing my opinion on social media mostly because it is all too overwhelming for me... and I'm not interested in online debates. I much prefer in person expression, or mostly stick to expressing through music... It's interesting how much people know about my points of view on things without me having to specifically articulate them.. the art does most of the work... but I also do admire and think it is important when people so voice themselves online with words because of how many people one is able to reach. In Indonesia its tricky because the people who are following are of such a spectrum in terms of points of view, especially about religion. I make sure that I am able to fully be myself in my online presence without needing to express my views on touchy topics like religion because I know that if I do, somebody is going to disagree and I would rather talk in person than online about topics like this. Its a bit different when I disagree with something one of my friends have posted and I think it is discriminating in a way... especially when no one is criticizing.. only then do I jump in to make a point that broadens perspective... but it always comes from love.

2. Do you think you're more outspoken on social media or in person?

I think social media can bring up the deepest insecurities... and so I try and not get too personal with it, yet be real... I created a #bahasahati a couple of years ago to engage with people in a creative way... what is the language of your heart today? All super abstract posts that are just about expression. I found it to be so freeing because of how silly it could be but at the same time it brought up so much to be that vulnerable... it taught me about how I would like to nurture my relationship with social media, how it truly is a choice to relate with it in a healthy way.

3.. If I were to start a platform or publication for young women in Indonesia, what would you like to see in it? Are there things / conversations you miss right now?

Hmmm good question. I would like to see more conversation about sex, and education about women's bodies, especially on menstrual cycle. And discussions about avenues of expression... and also conversations about different perceptions about marriage.

// a few days later //

Sandra: You know, it's really funny, because right after you asked me about this, I got into this heated debate... Well, not heated debate, but I got into a position where I was thinking of deleting my comment, having to revise something... and it was such an intense experience, and I laughed quite a lot because you had just asked me about this. And I really don't engage much with these kinds of things because I just don't see the point – in terms of getting my opinion across to a stranger. But recently, I'm in it, and there's this stranger on my back about something, and I'm like wow, this is so intense.

So I'm kind of grateful for this kind of pre-discussion – for my ability to articulate myself to you on this topic... Because I realise, that one of the reasons that I don't engage is that I'm so sensitive. When it's about a topic that I'm super passionate about, and someone is pushing my buttons about it, it really does get to me. That's why I choose not to engage [with strangers]... I'd rather do that with people I have a relationship with.

Interview: Ika Nasution

Date: 24-12-2018
Format: email interview

Ika is an Indonesian artist and member of the Jatiwangi Art Factory, located in West Java. Established on September 27, 2005, JAF is a community-based organization focused on examining how contemporary art and cultural practices can be contextualized with local life in rural areas. Ika is involved in running both JAF's annual Village Video Festival (VVF), and their reading club and library.

On mechanisms of censorship in Indonesia

1. As a woman, what is your experience of censorship in Indonesia at the moment? Are there certain subjects you feel are becoming more taboo?

Pengalaman saya terhadap sensor di Indonesia sangat buruk, apalagi saat Vimeo dan Tumblr diblokir Kominfo sejak 2015 lalu, dengan alasan tidak adanya filter terhadap konten pornografi. Padahal yang yang dikatakan 'porno' atau 'tidak lulus sensor itu sendiri semakin abstrak, misalnya yang terjadi pada kasus ini: Rupi Kaur, an artist and university student, developed a menstruation-themed photo series to challenge taboos around female menstruation. She posted an image of herself with a bloodstain on her bed and clothes to Instagram as part of her campaign to demystify periods (Saul, 2015). In an interview with BBC Newsbeat, she explains that she expected for her image to be controversial, but she did not expect to make headlines everywhere. She also did not expect Instagram to remove her image twice, which was deemed a violation of community standards. Instagram later apologized to Kaur and claimed the image was removed by mistake. Dan ya, hal-hal seperti ini pun mungkin menjadi semakin tabu, dan semakin pesimis. Karena sebenarnya sejarah penyensoran itu sendiri adalah pelanggengan kekuasaan negara dan standardisasi moralitas, juga objektifikasi tubuh perempuan! (Padahal mungkin, daripada meributkan soal sensor, mungkin kita bisa fokus pada pendidikan moral dan pembangunan karakter?)

2. How do you think social / digital media has impacted freedom of expression in Indonesia?

Freedom of expression is (should be) a fundamental human right. Media sosial memperluas pemenuhan diri sendiri di mana pengguna memiliki ruang mereka sendiri untuk mengekspresikan diri, berbagi pendapat dan berbicara untuk apa yang mereka yakini. Twitter dan Facebook adalah dua platform yang dirujuk pengguna internet untuk berita dan informasi. Namun, mereka menyebut diri mereka sebagai perusahaan teknologi daripada platform media. Akibatnya, platform media sosial ini telah menyusun kebijakan mereka sendiri untuk mengatur kebebasan berbicara, yang telah menciptakan beberapa tantangan. Dalam dirinya sendiri, konsep kebebasan berbicara dapat menjadi kabur. Di mana batas yang ditentukan? Apakah ada batasannya? Garis antara pendapat dan pelanggaran hampir tidak bisa dikenali. Daripada mematuhi pertimbangan hukum untuk kebebasan berbicara atau merumuskan undang-undang media, media sosial telah menciptakan algoritme mereka sendiri untuk mengatur konten. Karena media sosial adalah perusahaan swasta, keputusan ini dapat menjadi masalah. Kebebasan yang tak bebas, saya kira. Saya tak pernah merasa bebas saya punya sosial media, saya lebih memilih menulis cerpen, lirik lagu, atau membuat film untuk ekspresi ini. :D

3. In general, how do you personally use social media? Do you feel safe engaging in discussions?

Sejauh ini saya hanya menggunakan Instagram dan Twitter (Facebook link dengan postingan IG). Instagram saya gunakan untuk referensi visual, dan follow akun beberapa idola, hehe. Nah kalau Twitter memang lebih nyaman digunakan untuk terlibat dalam diskusi, atau mengikuti sebuah thread berita. Mungkin karena lebih simpel, lebih banyak teks dibanding gambar, dan update timeline lebih cepat untuk akun-akun official penting, seperti BMKG, dan para pemimpin negara yang mungkin memang lebih efisien untuk self-branding lewat twitter.

4. Do you ever engage in self-censorship online, and if so, can you describe why?

Saking pesimisnya dengan media mainstream saat ini, terutama televisi dan media online, saya selalu melakukan self-censorship ketika mendapat satu berita. Ketika kita menerima informasi dari media sosial, biasanya forward dari satu tangan ke tangan lainnya, jangan langsung diberitakan. Saring dulu, cek dan ricek dulu kebenarannya. Jangan sampai berita yang disiarkan justru menimbulkan ketakutan baru di masyarakat. Sebagai mahasiswa komunikasi pun, saya terkadang hampir tertipu dengan headline suatu berita, bayangkan jika di masyarakat awam yang tak punya pengetahuan soal menyaring informasi? jadi, kita yang punya kesadaran wajib banget memberikan himbauan ke orang-orang terdekat kita, keluarga dan circle pertemanan dekat terlebih dahulu soal self-censorship ini.

5. What stories, voices or discussions do you think are missing or being suppressed in Indonesian public discourse today? What do you wish to see more of?

Cerita soal korban, terutama di kasus perkosaan. Korban selalu menjadi yang bersalah, dituduh macam-macam soal pakaian, sengaja mencelakai, dan dituduh menikmati. Ada puluhan kasus victim blaming yang tercatat di akhir tahun ini. Salah satunya yang terdekat dengan saya, dan kebetulan saya sedang riset tentang buruh perempuan migran, adalah kasus buruh migran yang dieksekusi mati tanpa notifikasi pada 29 Oktober 2019, Tuti Tursilawati. Almarhumah adalah buruh migran dari Sukahaji, Majalengka. Ia didakwa karena membunuh majikannya, namun tak ada yang mau tahu jika ia hanya berusaha membela dirinya dari pelecehan seksual yang dilakukan majikannya. Hal ini bisa disebut sebagai akumulasi dari persoalan kekerasan berbasis gender. Kembali lagi masalahnya adalah banyak orang yang takut untuk menceritakan pengalamannya karena takut disalahkan atau merasa tidak akan ada yang mendukungnya.

On possible tactics and interventions

1. Most people use social media as a personal avenue of expression. But recently, platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are being weaponized by special interest groups to further political agenda, spread disinformation, or fuel religious tensions. What do you think we can do as netizens to resist that?

Untuk sekarang memang gampang banget mempengaruhi orang lewat apa yang kamu posting di sosial media. Tinggal dari masing-masingnya mau atau tidak untuk dipengaruhi, dan itu berbanding lurus dengan apakah orang tersebut punya ruang untuk diskusi di luar media sosialnya atau tidak. Maka saya pikir ruang diskusi alternatif itu penting. Mungkin salah satu cara yang saya lakukan adalah membangun kesadaran di diri sendiri soal apa yang saya percaya, dan apa yang saya tidak. dan kalau sudah bisa menentukan, saya lebih memilih untuk unfollow/unfriend teman-teman atau kolega yang melalui postingan-postingannya, terlalu menunjukkan agenda politiknya, suka menebar berita hoax (sembarang share), dan postingan berbau radikal agama. Don't argue emotionally, go looking for better pages and people to follow, and take a break from social media regularly. Saya kira self-care, meskipun neo-libro, adalah salah satu metode untuk kita tetap mempunyai kebebasan dan privasi. (Kalo gak gara-gara self-care mungkin saya gak survive di quarter-life crisis, hehe)

2. If I would create a platform or make workshops to encourage more open dialogue and free expression between women in Indonesia, what would be your advice?

Saya kira baik untuk membuat platform yang membicarakan soal gender diversity di komunitas-komunitas, karena menurut pengalaman saya dan mengenal beberapa komunitas seni dan aktivisme, kebanyakan komunitas dominan laki-laki dan lalu menjadi patriarkal. Akan terasa sangat berbeda, berada di komunitas yang punya jumlah laki-laki dan perempuan setara, dengan yang dominan laki-laki, di mana jika perempuan adalah minoritas, maka tidak akan punya kesempatan untuk menjadi pengambil keputusan, atau bahkan hanya untuk berpendapat/ usul. Karena menurut saya, kebebasan berekspresi itu harusnya tidak berada di ruang-ruang yang dominan khusus saja (misalnya khusus perempuan, atau khusus laki-laki) tapi harusnya di ruang yang punya keseragaman gender, di mana semua menerima ekspresi yang lainnya. Karena terkadang kuantitas perempuan di suatu ruang tidak berpengaruh hingga level pengambil keputusan.

3. Can you share with me some other feminist / activist communities or art platforms you think I should follow?

Ada beberapa yang menarik, kalo jurnal ada Jurnal Perempuan, Bisik Si Kembang (Ellena Ekarahendy), Sindikasi, Cecil Mariani (beliau salah satu juri Cipta Media Ekspresi, platform hibah untuk seniman perempuan), Di Malang ada Perempuan Bergerak.