Manipulated video falsely claims top Indonesia court void Prabowo's presidential win

  • Published on April 8, 2024 at 13:21
  • 4 min read
  • By AFP Indonesia
Days after Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto was declared the winner of Indonesia's 2024 presidential election, online posts shared manipulated footage they falsely claimed showed the country's Constitutional Court ruling his candidacy as invalid and ordering a revote. In the doctored video, the voice of a lawyer was dubbed into the video of the chief justice. Complaints challenging Prabowo's victory were filed before the court, but it had not ruled on the cases as of April 8, 2024.

The false post was uploaded on social media platform X on March 29, 2024, where it has been shared more than 980 times.

"Ruling from @officialMKRI / Disqualify 02 and revote without @prabowo @gibran_tweet," said the post's caption, tagging the accounts of the Indonesian Constitutional Court, president-elect Prabowo Subianto and his running mate, Gibran Rakabuming Raka.

The post included two clips -- with a total duration of more than three minutes -- that showed Indonesian Constitutional Court Chief Justice Suhartoyo talking in a courtroom. He appeared to be saying: "Third, declare the disqualification of president and vice presidential candidate pair number 02 in the names of Prabowo Subianto and Gibran Rakabuming Raka as the candidates of the 2024 president and vice presidential election of the Republic of Indonesia."

Indonesian-language text overlaid on the clips partly read: "People's wish is granted. Listen carefully to the Constitutional Court's ruling so that you won't misunderstand."

Screenshot of the false post, taken on April 4, 2024

Similar videos were also shared on TikTok here and here, and on SnackVideo and Facebook, racking up more than 58,000 views and 1,600 shares.

The posts circulated days after the Indonesian Constitutional Court began hearing election appeals of two losing presidential candidates, Anies Baswedan and Ganjar Pranowo, on March 27, 2024 (archived links here and here). 

A week earlier, on March 20, the Indonesian General Elections Commission (KPU) officially declared Prabowo and Gibran, the eldest son of outgoing leader Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, as the winners of the presidential vote. 

Anies and Ganjar challenged the election result before the court, alleging that rules were unfairly changed to allow Gibran to run as vice president and that Jokowi used state resources to swing the vote in favour of his minister and son (archived link). 

In October 2023, the Constitutional Court, then headed by Jokowi's brother-in-law, Anwar Usman, issued a ruling that allowed candidates under 40 years old to run if they have been elected to a political position.

This enabled Gibran, the 36-year-old mayor of Surakarta, a city in central Java, to pair up with Prabowo.

However, the clips shared in the posts were manipulated by dubbing Suhartoyo's video with the voice of Anies' lawyer. 

The Constitutional Court had not ruled on the legal challenges to Prabowo and Gibran's election victory, as of April 8, 2024.

According to an official document, the court is scheduled to deliver the judgment on April 22 (archived link).  

Doctored footage

A keyword search on the Constitutional Court's official YouTube channel found the clips shared in the false post correspond from the 10:14 mark of live footage streamed on March 27, 2024 (archived link).

The video was titled: "Hearing of Case Number 1/PHPU.PRES-XXII/2024. Wednesday, March 27, 2024."

In the video, Chief Justice Suhartoyo could be seen presiding over a preliminary hearing of Anies' presidential election dispute case. 

His voice was different from the one heard in the false videos. 

Below are screenshot comparisons of the manipulated videos (left) and the original footage from the court (right):

Screenshot comparisons of the manipulated videos (left) and the original footage from the court (right)

A separate keyword search found the audio that had been dubbed in the false clips was taken from the same live-stream footage. 

The audio matched the 1:46:06 to the 1:49:09 marks of the original video, when one of Anies' lawyers, Bambang Widjojanto, was reading their petitions to the court.

The demands from Anies' legal team was also aired by local broadcaster Metro TV on March 27, 2024 (archived link).

AFP has debunked other false and misleading claims around the Indonesian elections here.

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