For the past two years since early 2020 the world has faced a difficult situation with the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had not only great impact on public health and economic but also an effect on the lives of democracy, especially in the Asia Pacific region.
In the context of journalism, as part of democracy, the Covid-19 pandemic has indirectly lowered the level of public trust in media and journalists. One cause is the flood of information in digital media that has added to public confusion and has led to the phenomenon of disinformation.
Social media platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have a significant contribution to the spread of disinformation. Disinformation, in the level of southeast Asia countries has been categorization as a threat to security. In specific gradations, disinformation can even trigger inter-group conflicts, and even identity conflict.
However, the problem is the anti-disinformation campaigns in a number of countries often lead to the suppression of the freedom of expression and the free press. Many people are starting to worry that the fight against disinformation will lead to a new threat to democracy in a country. In an effort to reduce disinformation, but without threatening the democracy in a country, the role of citizen journalists is important.
The Indonesian Association for Media Development (PPMN) in Indonesia, Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) in Cambodia, and Cj.my in Malaysia are a number of organizations engaged in building the capacity of citizen journalists in southeast Asia. In East Timor, the citizen journalist’s community has also started to grow with the presence of community radio activists.
Under the program of The Asia-Pacific Regional Support for Elections and Political Transitions (RESPECT) supported by USAID, the position of citizen journalists is tried to be encouraged in reporting on election issues.
We have been working with citizen journalist communities in Indonesia and empowering them to monitor and engaged in 2020 regional election. We’ve made a structured program that involves civil society as the electoral supervisory of citizen journalists. The program is based on the previous experience of citizen journalist community in Cambodia and Malaysia.
On the basis of confidence that the role of citizen journalists is very important in democratic life, so we drafted a module that guides citizen journalists to get involved in democratic practices as much as elections. This module is expected to be adopted by citizen journalists in various countries in the southeast Asia region.
Here, we list five chapter of modules to download, to enable you to develop your own course relevant to your citizen journalist environment, especially in election issue.
Team authors: Eni Mulia, Executive Director of Indonesian Association for Media Development/PPMN; Fransisca Ria Susanti, Deputy Director Program of PPMN; Vicharius Dian Jiwa, Program Officer of PPMN.
Editor: Danilo Caspe, Mobilization Director of Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM).
Supervised by Perludem under The Asia-Pacific Regional Support for Elections and Political Transitions (RESPECT) program.