Youth Digital Participation in Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Movement


About the Seminar

In September 2019, a wave of protest erupted across Indonesia against a set of bills that would weaken the Corruption Eradication Commission and introduce several controversial laws into the Criminal Code that would curb civil liberties and freedoms of expression. The protest, known as #ReformasiDikorupsi or “(hashtag) reform is being corrupted,” was also called the “Student Movement 2019” in the press due to the mass participation of university and high school students. It marked a “comeback” of Indonesia’s illustrious student movement and brought back memories of the role of student protest in ousting President Suharto in May 1998.

However, the September 2019 protest fundamentally differed from previous movements, as it was mostly spurred by digital communications and engaged many youth who did not identify as traditional student activists. Long before the protest, when these youths were frequently criticised for their alleged political apathy as well as social media addiction, digital media had engendered critical democratic sensibilities among them, providing an alternative form of political education and alternative channel for political engagement.

One of the most important impact of this online/offline movement is its pervasive effects on political culture. From a “digital youth citizen” perspective, the push for a civil – rather than formal – democracy free from corruption cannot be contained even when governments are becoming less democratic. In this seminar, Dr Yatun Sastramidjaja will discuss how digital media has helped to nurture anti-corruption ideas and new forms of political engagement among Indonesia’s youth over the past decade. The seminar will also explain how digital media currently serve to keep the anti-corruption movement going, and help it to expand and develop online long after the protest has receded and in a context where traditional movements are increasingly difficult to sustain.

About the Speaker

Yatun Sastramidjaja is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Amsterdam, and currently a Visiting Fellow with the Regional Social and Cultural Studies programme and the Indonesia Studies Programme at the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute. Her research focuses on the role of digital technologies in youth activism and its impact on democracy processes and changing notions of democratic citizenship in Southeast Asia.

For registration, please click on this link. Registration closes on 26 February 2020.


Feb 28 2020


10:00 am - 11:30 am


ISEAS Seminar Room 2