This story originally appeared on the International Journalists Network. Below is an excerpt.
Sitting on the sofa watching TV one night at home in Indonesia, Pak Yana gets a video call from his daughter. She tells him that he needs to get his COVID-19 booster shot so that he can visit her when her child is born. Irritated and skeptical, Pak Yana fumbles the phone into his wife Bu Iroh’s hands in exchange for the TV remote.
Bu Iroh is determined to see her grandchild and to get her husband to stop believing every WhatsApp forward over factual information. Dressed in a red trench coat and cap with a giant magnifying glass in hand, she takes her husband around town listening to people’s false ideas about the vaccine and debunking them.
This story — from a 22-minute sitcom-style video on YouTube — is one of the tools Mafindo (an acronym for the Indonesian Anti-Slander Society) is using to combat misinformation and elevate media literacy in Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy.
Mafindo has a core team of nine people, with thousands of volunteers across Indonesia helping conduct trainings, fact-check, and get more members of the public connected with the organization’s work.
Mafindo offers lots of resources beyond video that aim to be conversational, relatable, and meet people where they are. Its Facebook group — more on that below — has 98,000 members; on TurnBackHoax.id, Mafindo keeps an archive of all of the debunked misinformation from that group. The organization runs trainings on the real-world dangers of election disinformation and incitement. It’s also created a WhatsApp chatbot to check dubious information and a hoax-busting app. It’s a Facebook third-party fact-checking partner and received Google News Initiative funding to run a media literacy program.
Learn more about the organization’s work combatting vaccine misinformation in Indonesia in the full story on the International Journalists Network.