Video of Indonesian president 'watching Buddhist group's press briefing' has been digitally altered

·3 min read

A video has been viewed thousands of times after it circulated online in Muslim-majority Indonesia with a claim that it shows Indonesian President Joko Widodo, popularly known as Jokowi, watching a Buddhist group's televised press briefing on controversial Buddha statue images in June 2022. The video, however, has been digitally altered from an old video that shows Jokowi taking part in a virtual cabinet meeting in March 2020.

The video, which appears to show Jokowi watching a Buddhist organisation's press conference on TV, was posted on Facebook here on June 20, 2022.

The two-minute 20-second video has been viewed more than 790 times.

The Indonesian-language chyron on the video translates to English as: "Roy Suryo's act offended Buddhists across the world. Walubi [the Indonesian Council of Buddhist Communities] demands the national police chief take firm action."

The post's caption also repeats Walubi's purported demand.

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

On June 10, 2022, Roy Suryo, a former cabinet minister during ex-president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's administration, tweeted two images showing Jokowi's face superimposed on Buddha statues at the historic Borobudur Temple in central Java.

He said the pictures were memes created by social media users in response to the government's plan to impose a steep increase on Borobudur's entrance fee.

Roy was widely criticised for causing offence to Indonesia's Buddhist community after tweeting the images, which he later deleted. He has been reported to police following the incident, CNN Indonesia reported.

The government shelved the plan to increase the Borobudur fee on June 20, 2022 following a public outcry.

The video of Jokowi appearing to watch the Buddhist group's press conference has been viewed more than 2,300 times after it was shared alongside a similar claim elsewhere on Facebook here, here, here and, and on Instagram here

The footage, however, has been digitally altered.

Jokowi video

The clip showing Jokowi sitting in front of a TV screen is taken from a video posted on the YouTube channel of the Indonesian Presidential Secretariat here on March 16, 2020.

It is titled: "Limited Cabinet Meeting Discussing Ministerial Agenda via Teleconference, Bogor Palace, March 16, 2020”.

"Indonesian President Jokowi Widodo led a meeting with his ranks via teleconferencing at the Bogor presidential palace, West Java, on Monday, March 2020. It was done as a prevention against the spread of the coronavirus, or Covid-19, pandemic," the post's description reads in part.

It goes on to say that Vice President Ma'ruf Amin, all cabinet ministers and ministerial-level officials also participated in the video conference.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the edited video (left) and the genuine video from the Presidential Secretariat (right), with the same features marked by AFP:

Screenshot comparison of the edited video (left) and the genuine video from the Presidential Secretariat (right)

Edited footage

The edited video added two segments from two different events to the television screen: a press conference by a Buddhist organisation; and Roy apologising for sharing the memes.

The Buddhist group's press conference can be seen in this video, published on YouTube by Indonesian media outlet Tribunnews on June 18, 2022.

The post's title reads: "WALUBI's North Sumatra Chapter Condemns Roy Suryo Who Altered Borobudur Temple Stupa Into President Jokowi’s Face."

In the same media briefing, Walubi also urged police to investigate the case, as reported here and here.

Roy's apology was taken from a talk show aired by Indonesian broadcaster tvOne, posted on its YouTube channel here on June 16, 2022.

The video's description reads: "Roy Suryo triggered a controversy again. He recently uploaded an edited Borobudur stupa that looked like Jokowi on Twitter. The former minister of youth and sports said the meme was made by someone else, he also delivered an apology."

Below are screenshot comparisons of the television scenes in the edited video (left) and the genuine clips from Tribunnews and tvOne (right):

Screenshot comparisons of TV scenes in the edited video (left) and the genuine clips from Tribunnews and tvOne (right)

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