The role of Ulama (Islamic religious leaders) in countering anti-vaccination rhetoric in Indonesia
Indonesia has been facing a serious threat from fake news and hate speech which is wildly disseminated through social media. As the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, health issues and their link to religion are one of the most discussed topics on social media in this country. The aim of this study is to introduce a strategy to counterbalance fake news on vaccine issues. This research employed a mixed-method approach that used content of analysis data obtained from social media monitoring. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 participants from various sectors related to vaccine issues. Monitoring of six female Facebook users in anti-vaccine groups revealed that the top five topics discussed in Indonesia were halal certification, conspiracy, adverse effects, adjuvants, and vaccine substitution. This research recommends a communication strategy to counterbalance fake news on the vaccine, employing both medical professionals and trusted, influential members of the religious community to educate the public. They should have a strong background in medical issues and understand Islamic perspectives. The involvement of Ulama (Islamic religious leaders) is important and needed to explain that vaccines do not violate religious law.
Keywords: fake information, Indonesia, Islamic religious leader, vaccine, Arabic in the Asia-Pacific
Published online: 19 December 2019
Cited by 1 other publications
Rahman, Tahir, Lingjin Zheng & J. Reid Meloy
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