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Communication for a new democracy: Indonesia's first online elections

Hill, D.T. (2003) Communication for a new democracy: Indonesia's first online elections. The Pacific Review, 16 (4). pp. 525-548.

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This paper examines Internet practices in Indonesian political life in the period since the fall of Soeharto. In particular, it looks at the ways in which the Internet was used by political parties for campaigning and organizing, and the state, the media and the public to scrutinize Indonesia's first democratic elections since 1955. The 7 June 1999 general elections in Indonesia were not conducted online; voters did not register their ballot directly onto the Internet. It was, however, significantly the first occasion when Indonesian voters were able to witness online, through a publicly accessible official Internet site, the calculation of the poll ­statistics, from 300,000 individual polling stations, through all strata of government from district level to the final centralized national tally. It was, in that sense, an election whose credibility and transparency relied significantly upon individual ­citizens' ability to monitor the electoral process and the entire tabulation of the count. Given the relatively restricted distribution of the technology in Indonesia, the Internet was not a tool for party propaganda, but it was an effective, and particularly significant, means of scrutinizing the fledgling democratic processes of Indonesia's political transition.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Asia Research Centre
School of Arts
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Copyright: Taylor and Francis
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