Unraveling the False Claim: Rocky Gerung’s Alleged Demise Amid Political Critique

In the realm of Indonesian politics, the name Rocky Gerung has once again captured public attention. This resurgence in focus comes as a result of the lingering controversy surrounding Rocky’s criticism of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). In a recently viral video on social media, Rocky discussed Jokowi’s efforts to develop the “Ibu Kota Nusantara” (National Capital) as a means of preserving his governmental legacy. Within this video, Rocky conveyed several controversial statements about Jokowi, igniting a prolonged debate.

“Jokowi only thinks about his own fate without considering ours (the Indonesian people and laborers). He’s a foolish scoundrel. If he were a clever scoundrel, he would debate with Jumhur Hidayat,” he was quoted as saying by Tirto. These remarks by Rocky set off a wave of debate in their wake.

In an unexpected turn of events, the Legal Aid and Advocacy Agency of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) officially reported Rocky Gerung to the Indonesian National Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (Bareskrim Polri). Rocky Gerung was reported in relation to alleged violations of Article 28 paragraph (2) of Indonesia’s Law No. 19 of 2016 regarding Amendments to Law No. 11 of 2008 concerning Electronic Information and Transactions (ITE Law) and/or Article 14 and/or Article 15 of Law No. 1 of 1946. These reports claimed that Rocky’s statements contained elements of hate speech and incitement to unrest.

Amidst the heated discussions surrounding this issue, a Facebook post propagated the claim that Rocky Gerung had met his end due to being shot by authorities while attempting to escape. An account by the name of “Raya Kitty” uploaded a 10-minute and 42-second video with the caption “LATEST UPDATE: ROCKY GERUNG SHOT DEAD BY THREE AUTHORITIES WHILE ATTEMPTING TO ESCAPE” and a subtitle “reckless escape attempt by the dvngu ends tragically.” The video’s thumbnail depicted President Jokowi dressed in a white shirt and surrounded by several fully uniformed police officers, some of whom were holding firearms and a yellow body bag. This post circulated on Facebook from August 5th to August 8th, 2023, garnering a thousand likes, 498 comments, and 82 thousand views.

However, the veracity of this claim regarding Rocky Gerung’s alleged demise at the hands of authorities due to an escape attempt was soon put under scrutiny. The Tirto Research Team conducted an in-depth analysis by thoroughly examining the video from start to finish. In the initial minutes, the video showcased snippets of comments from various individuals discussing the controversy stemming from Rocky Gerung’s statements. Throughout these segments, there was no mention of the claim that Rocky Gerung had been shot by authorities while attempting to escape.

The video then transitioned into a narrative read by a narrator. Tirto embarked on an investigation to ascertain the origin and context of this narrative by searching for the keywords “Diburu Netizen, Rocky Gerung Ngumpet” on Google. These keywords were derived from the transcript of the narrator’s introduction in the video. The search yielded an article published on Seword’s website on Saturday, August 21, 2021, which served as the source of the narrative. This article primarily offered a personal opinion on Rocky Gerung’s remarks made on Monday, August 16, 2021. On that occasion, Rocky’s statements were deemed to contain elements of hate speech due to what was perceived as an insult directed at President Jokowi during a state event where Jokowi was wearing traditional Dayak attire. However, this article did not mention or corroborate the claim that Rocky Gerung’s death was the result of an escape attempt.

Further investigations by Tirto aimed to validate the claim’s authenticity and the context of the situation by searching the keywords “Rocky Gerung Tewas Ditembak Aparat” (Rocky Gerung Shot Dead by Authorities) on Google. Regrettably, no credible sources or information could substantiate this claim. The team also analyzed the thumbnail of the video, which displayed several fully uniformed police officers carrying a yellow body bag. A reverse image search on Yandex indicated that the image was linked to the aftermath of a bombing incident at the entrance of the Makassar Cathedral on Sunday, March 28, 2021. The edited image seemingly incorporated a photograph captured by Indra Abriyanto of Antara, one of which was uploaded to Pikiran Rakyat. Utilizing this information, Tirto utilized Google to ascertain the identity of the individual whose remains were being carried in the image by the police officers. The keyword “Jenazah Bom Katedral Makassar” (Corpse of Makassar Cathedral Bombing) led to an article from the BBC, which clarified that the body parts carried by the police officers were from a suspected suicide bomber at the Makassar Cathedral and not Rocky Gerung, as narrated in the video.

As of today, Rocky Gerung has not been named a suspect by the police. In a recent report from Detik on Monday, August 7, 2023, the Jakarta Metro Police (Polda Metro Jaya) had recently transferred the hate speech report against Rocky Gerung to Bareskrim Polri. Based on the thorough fact-checking conducted, there is no official confirmation that Rocky Gerung was shot by authorities while attempting to escape. Additionally, Tirto did not identify any credible sources to validate the claim propagated by the Facebook account “Raya Kitty.” Therefore, the information asserting that Rocky Gerung had been fatally shot by authorities during an escape attempt is misleading and incorrect.