'Dirty Vote' documentary film triggers polemic ahead of voting day

Kompas.com – February 12, 2024
Screenshot of poster for documentary film 'Dirty Vote' – Undated (YouTube)

Achmad Nasrudin Yahya, Jakarta – The documentary film Dirty Vote, which examines allegations of fraud in the lead up to the 2024 legislative and presidential elections has sparked a polemic.

The reason being that the film directed by Dandhy Dwi Laksono has been accused of containing slanderous information against one of the presidential election tickets. Moreover, this film was released just ahead of voting day on Wednesday February 14.

On the other hand, people have expressed appreciation for the film because it could be a lesson for the country to hold a festival of democracy (election) that is healthy and free from fraud.

Reason for film

The film Dirty Vote premiered via the WatchDoc production house channel on YouTube on Sunday February 11 at 11 am, coinciding with the first day of the election cooling off period.

The documentary features three constitutional law experts. They are Feri Amsari, Bivitri Susanti and Zainal Arifin Mochtar.

In the film, the three explain the various irregularities that have occurred during the election process in Indonesia, which applies a system of democratic practices.

Laksono said the film can become educational material for the public in the lead up to voting day.

"Obviously Dirty Vote will become a viewing that is reflective during the cooling off period of the election. It is hoped that in the three crucial days leading up to election day, this film will educate the public and there will be many discussions and forums held", said Laksono as quoted in a press release on Sunday.

Laksono also hopes that all elements of society will for a moment put aside political support for the presidential and vice presidential candidates (capres-cawapres) and pay close attention to the contents of the documentary with an open mind.

"There are times when we are supporters of a capres-cawapres. But today, I want to invite everyone to watch this film as citizens", said Laksono.

Society of Indonesian Environmental Journalists (SIEJ) general chairperson and producer of Dirty Vote, Joni Aswira, said that the documentary also films the results of research into election fraud carried out by a civil society coalition.

The production costs for the film Dirty Vote, said Aswira, were raised through crowd funding, individual and institutional donations.

"The costs were borne jointly. Aside from that, Dirty Vote was also worked on in a very short time, around two weeks, starting from the research process, production, editing, to its release. It was even shorter than working on the KPK's [Corruption Eradication Commission film] End Game (2021)", said Aswira.

Don't get over emotional

The Legal Team of the Ganjar Pranowo and Mahfud MD presidential election campaign team (TPN), Todung Mulya Lubis, said he hopes that no parties will get overly emotional (baper) about the film Dirty Vote.

Lubis believes that the film is a political educational treat for the public, so it is fitting that no one should object to this film by reporting it to the authorities.

"So don't get baper, that's all I want to say. And don't just go to the police. That isn't healthy for us as a nation. It's not educational for us as a nation", said Lubis in Jakarta on Sunday.

Lubis said that the film essentially contains no new information. This is because many allegations of fraud have already been reported to the Election Supervisory Board (Bawaslu).

Starting from the involvement of the village head in supporting one of the candidate pairs to the politicisation of social assistance (bansos) in the middle of the campaign period.

"So there is nothing new about what was written or made in the film. It reminds us that violations and potential violations have been very massive in Indonesia", said Lubis.

He also emphasised that the film in no way discredits election organisers. "In my opinion that would be absolutely inappropriate", he said.

Political lesson

Vice presidential candidate number 1 Muhaimin Iskandar or Cak Imin, who is running alongside presidential candidate former Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan, said the film can be a political lesson for Indonesia to anticipate fraud in the legislative and presidential elections.

He himself supports the screening of this film because it starts out from academic studies and is a reflection of the importance of prioritising ethics in the world of politics.

"This is the first time an academic, ethical and moral film has been watched that much in a short time. It's like an entertainment film. This is very interesting, it should be a lesson for everyone. If you make an intelligent film, it turns out it will sell very well", said Iskandar in Jombang, East Java, on Monday February 12.

The National Awakening Party (PKB) chairperson emphasised that fraud in the festival of democracy should not happen. According to Iskandar, this fraud is too expensive compared to the budget that has been disbursed by the state to organise the elections.

"If fraud occurs, if it looks fraudulent, it should not be seen as legitimate, (because) the election results will not be legitimate. Then everything will be destroyed for our next five years", he stressed.

Slander claims

Prabowo-Gibran national campaign team (TKN) Deputy Chairperson Habiburokhman has asserted that the film Dirty Vote contains slanderous information.

According to Habiburokhman, the slanderous information is directed at the election ticket of Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto and his running mate President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son Gibran Rakabuming Raka. Because of this therefore, he is questioning the veracity of the statements by the legal experts involved in the film.

"Most of what is conveyed in the film is slanderous, a hate narrative that is very assumptive, and very unscientific", said Habiburokhman as quoted in a press release.

Habiburokhman believes that the film Dirty Vote was deliberately made to degrade the implementation of the 2024 elections. He believes that the accusations made in the film are baseless.

Habiburokhman also said that nowadays people are getting smarter about responding to slander.

Based on facts on the ground and the results of the latest surveys, the majority of the public understands what the President Joko Widodo's administration has done.

Therefore, he said, the stigma created by the film Dirty Vote will be countered by the public.

"The people know which party is actually committing fraud and which party has the support of the majority of the people because of its programs and track record that is pro-people", he said.

"So their actions in conveying information that is not argumentative, tendentious, to corner certain parties, are at odds with the attitude of the majority of the people. Currently I see that the people are very enthusiastic about what Pak [Mr] Prabowo has said about continuing all the achievements of the current administration", he continued.

Habiburokhman hopes that the public will remain calm and not be provoked by provocation in the cooling off period ahead of election day. "We advise the people to remain calm", he said.

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Polemik Film "Dirty Vote" Menjelang Hari Pemungutan Suara".]

Source: https://nasional.kompas.com/read/2024/02/12/14153661/polemik-film-dirty-vote-menjelang-hari-pemungutan-suara