Image of 'Indonesian banknote featuring President Joko Widodo' does not show legal tender

·2 min read

An image of a purportedly new Indonesian banknote that features the country's President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, has circulated in multiple posts on TikTok, Facebook and Twitter. However, the claim is false. The Indonesian central bank that has the sole authority to issue currency told AFP the image does not show a legal tender.

"A bill that features a picture of President Jokowi," reads the caption to this video, which was posted on TikTok on June 21, 2022.

The nine-second video, which shows a purported new 100 rupiah banknote, has garnered more than 2.2 million views.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on July 13, 2022

The video's Indonesian-language overlay makes a similar claim.

It translates to English as: "A newly issued bill that features a picture of President Jokowi. Planned to be issued by BNI recently Replacing the 100,000 rupiah bill."

The 100,000 rupiah bill, the highest denomination note issued in Indonesia, bears the picture of the country's founding fathers: the first president, Sukarno, and the first vice president, Mohammad Hatta.

BNI refers to Bank Negara Indonesia, a state-owned bank.

The Indonesian government has been mulling cutting three zeroes off the face value of the rupiah in a bid to simplify the currency -- for example 100,000 rupiah would become 100 rupiah.

Images of the purported bill were also shared alongside a similar claim here, here, here, here and here on Facebook; and here on Twitter.

Not legal tender

The state-owned BNI has no authority to issue legal tender, however.

Under Indonesian law, only the central bank, Bank Indonesia, has the right to issue and circulate the rupiah.

Responding to the posts, a representative for Bank Indonesia told AFP on July 13, 2022: "The information is not true. Bank Indonesia has not issued that 100 rupiah bill."

The representative added that information about the issuance of a bill issuance is always "announced through mass media".

A Bank Indonesia spokesman has also been quoted in Indonesian media reports, such as here and here, refuting the claim, saying Indonesian money only features images of national heroes and individuals who have passed away.

"It means, individuals who are still alive will not [be featured on bill]," Erwin Haryono, Bank Indonesia communication executive director, told journalists on July 12, 2022.

The purported bill shown in the video is not found on Bank Indonesia's website which shows all currently circulating bills.

Below is a screenshot of Indonesian banknotes, published on Bank Indonesia's website:

Screenshot of Indonesian bills on Bank Indonesia website, taken on July 13, 2022

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