The Possibility of Non-Litigation Advocacy Through Comedy and a New Media: Analysis of the Indonesian Comic “Sakdiyah Ma’ruf”

Abstract

Conventional prosecutions in Indonesia have failed to protect religious freedom and belief as they are often ineffective, unequal, political and authoritarian in decisionmaking for vulnerable groups (grassroots). The state, which should be responsible for protecting the rights of its citizens, instead has a tendency to criminalize victims through inflexible laws. The failings of the legal system has developed a need for non-litigation advocacy to influence public awareness, to balance information, enlarge group support and strengthen the grassroots position. This can be achieved through means such as demonstrations and campaigns through performing arts, as well as conventional arts by the educated middle class. The difficulty in these forms of advocacy has been that grassroots groups still perceive demonstrations as anarchist actions and campaigns through conventional art also less interactive, making it very difficult to engage grassroots communities. The objectives posed in this paper then, are to find the possibility of interactive non-litigation advocacy in a “new media”, and to understand to what extent the public has responded to the campaign conducted by the comic Sakdiyah Ma’ruf. This study uses descriptive content analysis focused on the issue experienced by the comic Sakdiyah Ma‘ruf. In analyzing the data, this research reveals that standup comedy presented by Sakdiyah Ma‘ruf can be used as a form of interactive non-litigation advocacy that can enlarge group support through new media about the conditions of freedom for Muslim women in Indonesia and on wider human rights discourse.