Audio of Indonesian president-elect is from old interview, not ‘leaked recording’


Audio from an old interview where Indonesia’s president-elect talks about negative campaigning from “foreign minions” resurfaced in May 2024 posts viewed millions of times that falsely claimed it was from a “leaked” phone call. The audio of Prabowo speaking was lifted from a television interview with the ex-general in 2014 shortly before he was beaten in an election with Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

“VIRAL!!! Prabowo Subianto’s phone recording has been leaked,” read Indonesian-language text superimposed on a TikTok video shared on May 15, 2024.

The video — viewed more than 175,000 times — shows a still image of Indonesia’s president-elect saluting, as the audio from the “leaked” recording plays.

In the recording, Prabowo says: “So, people who do negative campaigning or ‘black’ campaigning — in my opinion, in my feeling — there are some groups, and they are actually foreign powers’ minions.

“For them, Indonesia cannot have a strong and clean leader.”

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Screenshot of the false TikTok post, captured on May 20, 2024

The same audio was used in other posts shared on TikTok, Facebook; and short video platform SnackVideo here and here, collectively racking up more than seven million views.

It circulated after Indonesia’s election commission formally declared Prabowo the next president of the world’s third-largest democracy on April 24.

While he will not take the reins from outgoing leader Jokowi until October, worries have already been raised about Prabowo’s commitment to democracy.

An editorial in The Jakarta Post said the president-elect had raised “alarm among the public, in particular civil society” after he described democracy as “very, very tiring” and “very, very messy and costly” (archived links here and here).

In May, during an interview with Bloomberg at the Qatari Economic Forum, he dismissed “concerns” raised by his critics that he might clamp down on democracy, saying they were “made up” by the press and that he had received the “consent” from the Indonesian people to rule the archipelago nation (archived link).

But the audio circulating on social media is not a “leaked” phone recording.

Television interview

A keyword search on YouTube found the same audio in an interview titled “One hour closer to Prabowo tvOne” published on the YouTube channel “Talk Show tvOne RELOAD” on December 18, 2023 (archived link).

TV One is an Indonesian TV station.

During the show’s introduction, it says “Prabowo is getting more serious about entering the politics by running for president in the 2014 election”.

At the time of the interview, Prabowo was running for president against Joko Widodo, who would go on to win and lead the country for the next decade.

The audio used in the misleading posts was lifted from the interview’s 5:10 to the 7:41 mark.

<span>A screenshot of Prabowo speaking in the TV One interview</span><span><button

A screenshot of Prabowo speaking in the TV One interview

Text on the video indicates it was originally broadcast on September 15, 2014.

The same interview was also published on another of the broadcaster’s YouTube channels — “tvOne Digital” — in its entirety here and in shorter segments here on March 21, 2021 (archived links here and here).

AFP has debunked other misinformation about Prabowo here.



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