In the middle of December, the Indonesian Digital Democracy Forum organized a large meetup for Indonesian digital activists who are involved in the movement for pushing democracy in Indonesia via digital media. The meetup was a two day event that was attended by about 30-50 digital activists, from various backgrounds. The meetup was organized as a kind of mini-conference, where there were several breakout rooms, each with different sessions focusing on specific digital democracy themes, such as open data, or internet freedom.
On the theme of open data, there was a very interesting discussion on how the open data movement can help in strengthening digital democracy in Indonesia. One of the examples shown is the story of KawalPemilu , a platform for voter count verification which uses crowdsourcing; it was created by just five poeple, and yet played a pivotal role in Indonesia’s 2014 presidential election as a checking mechanism for the voter count. The platform allows citizens of Indonesia to see and verify the voter count of the election and to check if anything is amiss. It stood as a strong example of citizen participation in the Indonesian elections.
Regarding the state of open data more generally in Indonesia, there was an overall acknowledgement that the movement is still in early stages. There is still a lot of need to raise awareness regarding the importance and usage of it, as well as skills around how to actually work with the data. Also notable in the discussion is the importance of collaboration between the various open data actors from both the supply and demand side such as government, CSO, and citizens.
Meetups like these provide a great platform for these actors in the open data space to actually connect and collaborate with each other – having these more frequently would strengthen the movement as a whole.