Jakarta. The Association of Indonesian Churches, or PGI, has denounced the use of identity politics and warned against the spread of fake news ahead of next week's regional elections.
"Say 'no' to leaders who manipulate ethnic and religious sentiments, discriminate on the basis of gender, and conduct black campaigns against other candidates," PGI said in a statement, which was delivered by its executive secretary, Henrek Lokra, at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (21/06).
Voters in 17 provinces will elect provincial, district and municipal leaders on June 27. The regional poll will be a litmus test for next year's general elections.
PGI secretary general Gomar Gultom told reporters that fake news and manipulations based on ethno-religious sentiments are likely be the main problem during the 2019 vote.
"We must be critical to be able to distinguish between fake news and real news, between genuine news reports and those that serve certain political agendas."
This is especially important, PGI said, as most media outlets in Indonesia are affiliated with certain political groups.
"We must not hand over political matters to people who will abuse their power. Don't be indifferent, but remember not to get caught in identity politics, which serves the interests of specific groups and not the whole nation."
The statement is going to be read out at the association's affiliated churches on Sunday.