Digital Diplomacy – A new era of digital diplomacy and why is Indonesia welcoming it?
Many claim that the Internet has been one of the most transformative innovations.
Social interactions have changed dramatically. That business has become what is called a networking business.
With these communications, information is obtained, stored, processed, managed and shared in a way that is almost completely different from the previous method.
As the communication between politicians and potential voters gets closer through social media, politics has also become more digital. We saw him in the 2012 US presidential election, the 2017 French election or Donald Trump’s controversial victory.
What is digital diplomacy?
The terms cyberdiplomacy and digital diplomacy have been used interchangeably. But they are different.
Digital diplomacy refers to the wider use of technology, particularly the internet and other ICT-based diplomatic innovations. Meanwhile, cyber diplomacy refers to strategies to deal with various problems, such as security, that arise in cyberspace.
Digital diplomacy is often associated with state public diplomacy activities (through the massive use of social media, for example). But digital diplomacy is more than just public diplomacy.
Digital activities play a role in negotiations, policy-making processes and crisis management related to diplomacy.
For example, despite being exposed to the Zika virus outbreak in 2015 and 2016, the Brazilian government persuaded the international community to use social media in preparation for hosting the Olympics and World Cup. 2016.
Some health experts suggested postponing or moving the Olympics to Rio 2016. But Brazil was quick to make statements on its website, social media and the official Olympic website, claiming he is doing his best to protect the event. against the Zika virus.
Indonesia and digital diplomacy
Indonesia is one of the many countries that are increasingly using digital technology in international diplomacy. Indonesia is ranked 38 out of 209 countries in the 2017 Digital Diplomacy Review, according to a survey.
This ranking is down from last year, when Indonesia was ranked the highest. Indonesia follows high-tech European countries such as France and Great Britain, as well as Asian countries such as Japan and India. However, Indonesia is taking the lead in Asia.
Further research from the Center for Digital Society at Gadja Mada University places Indonesia in 9th place out of 203 countries in digital diplomacy.
This study considers the large number of Internet users in Indonesia; 132.7 million in 2016 according to data from the Indonesian Internet Service Providers Association (APJII). This means that Indonesia has an internet penetration rate of 51% of a population of 260 million. Imagine how this country will solve problems when everyone in Indonesia is online. A connected society in the digital age will be more transparent because people can easily share information on the Internet.
This also applies to diplomatic activities. Diplomacy is no longer just a “network” of various countries and non-state actors. This digital diplomacy will introduce new actions such as having online conversations, as well as receiving online public input in the policy-making process.
Now diplomats or heads of state also use online platforms in the form of social media to communicate with each other. A study on Twitter’s use of informal diplomatic communications during the P5 + 1 nuclear negotiations (2013-2015) showed that Twitter communications between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif were effective in promoting the agreement.
In the era of people connected to the internet, information has a stronger influence, as it can spread within seconds or minutes. Governments, and especially institutions dealing with foreign policy issues, will benefit from this as they can expand the public diplomacy agenda in a more interactive way.
Indonesia does not yet have a clear agenda or plan for using digital diplomacy. To make the digital diplomacy agenda more complete, the format can be borrowed from countries that have a clear agenda and practice digital diplomacy such as Britain and Sweden.
The UK has established a digital transformation unit and is specifically responsible for managing the country’s digital services and digital diplomacy strategy.
The Swedish government uses social media extensively including through its embassies abroad. They also publish another popular Internet newspaper called the Swedish Foreign Policy News to advance their foreign policy vision.
Digital diplomacy has never been taken seriously
Although the Indonesian government is strongly committed to tackling digital disruptions such as internet pornography and has ambitions to bridge the digital divide, digital diplomacy has not yet received an echo in society.
The best thing that the Indonesian government can say about digital diplomacy is when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a meeting of digital diplomacy experts in May last year.
The meeting decided to use digital diplomacy on several important agendas of the country.
The Indonesian government is currently preparing a draft digital diplomacy master plan document. From there, a concrete digital diplomacy strategy for this country can be expected in the near future.
The Indonesian government must be able to learn a lot from various countries such as the UK and Sweden by presenting a digital diplomacy agenda ranging from institutional adaptation to new approaches to the spread of foreign policy through new media. .