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by: Yositha Nirbhaya
Free mobile application encourages citizens to monitor violations during the election, inviting greater engagement in the democratic process.
A smartphone app offers greater Jakarta area residents a way to help ensure free and fair upcoming 2014 general elections.
The Jakarta branch of the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the ICT Laboratory for Social Changes (iLab) launched MataMassa (“Eyes of the Public”) in November as a way for citizens to monitor and anonymously report administrative, criminal or ethical violations during voting or campaigning.
Those could include installation of campaign banners in houses of worship, highways, or hospitals; vote buying; or other violations as defined by the General Election Committee (KPU) and the Election Supervisory Committee (Bawaslu).
Nelson Simanjuntak, Bawaslu committee commissioner, said the app encourages direct societal participation of the process.
“It needs to be understood that MataMassa really helps us improve the 2014 election,” he told Khabar Southeast Asia.
Users can download MataMassa for free and use it to submit a report of a violation by text, photo or video to AJI Jakarta. Project personnel investigate and submit verified reports to Bawaslu.
Between December 15th last year and March 13th, MataMassa received 1,249 reports, and verified 1,154 of them, according to AJI. Because of limited funding, project personnel could only verify violations in Jakarta and outskirts including Bogor, Depok, Tangerang and Bekasi, AJI Jakarta Chairman Umar Idris told Khabari.
Renanda Laksita, a Partai Demokrat candidate for the House of Representatives (DPR) wished the app could be more widely used.
“I think this is a new innovation to invite society to participate in our democratic process, as we know that many Indonesian people love to use gadgets. I hope society takes advantage of it,” the candidate from Bali told Khabar.
“It would be better if it is applicable all over Indonesia than greater Jakarta only,” she added.
Stefani Bilwa tried, but failed to submit a violation in the form of a massive poster of a candidate in Setiabudi.
“Unfortunately, I was unlucky in submitting it directly through my iPhone,” she told Khabar. “Therefore I have to submit it through the website, which is not as efficient.” Still, Stefani liked the idea of the app to help deliver a fair election.
Reports can also be submitted through SMS center to 081370202014 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for people without a smartphone or the app.