Facebook posts have shared a photo of Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto they claim show his political party, Gerindra, has formed an alliance with the banned Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). The posts are false: they use an image that has been manipulated from an original published in 2013 that shows no links to communists, and Gerindra has not made any announcement about an alliance.
One of the posts is this February 3 entry that has nearly 4,000 reactions. Below is a screenshot of the post.
In the photo, Subianto is seen holding a marker as he stands next to a whiteboard with the words “GERINDRA + PKI” circled and “MENANG” below them. “Menang” translates to “win”.
The post’s caption translates as: “Gerindra has been planning this for a long time. Now it’s a reality.”
Subianto is the sole challenger against incumbent Joko Widodo in presidential elections to be held in April 2019.
Through a Google reverse image search, AFP found the photo in the misleading Facebook posts was a doctored version of one that appeared in this article by Tempo, one of Indonesia’s most well-known news groups, in 2013 with a headline that translates as: “Prabowo claims he practices Western values”.
In the original image, the whiteboard is marked with figures concerning tax revenue and gross domestic product. There is no reference to any political party or communism.
Below are the screenshots of the doctored image and the genuine Tempo photo that clearly show Subianto holding the same marker with his hands in exactly the same position, and in the same setting, except for the different writing on the whiteboard.
The Tempo article talks about Subianto’s opinion on western values, including “humanism, liberal democracy and the rule of law”.
“I’m part of the Indonesian elite who practice Western values. I highly respect Western values as I was raised in a Western-minded environment,” Subianto was quoted as saying.
Any association with communism in Indonesia can be grounds for criminal charges under this law.
The law is titled: “The Disbandment Of The Indonesian Communist Party, The Declaration Of It As A Prohibited Organisation In All Regions Of The Republic Of Indonesia And The Prohibition Of Any Activities To Disseminate And Develop The Teaching Of Communism/Marxism-Leninism.”