Motives and Manipulative Strategies on COVID-19 Discourse in Indonesia

Waki Ats Tsaqofi, Sarah Hajar Mahmudah


This study delves into examining manipulative strategies within the framework of COVID-19 discourse in Indonesia. The research systematically analyzes data from various social media platforms using a descriptive qualitative methodology. The analytical framework draws from speech act theory, argumentative discourse approaches, and manipulation strategy theory. The study’s findings uncover various manipulative tactics that influential figures in Indonesia deploy. These tactics encompass denial, rationalization, diversion, lying, guilt-tripping, and shaming. Notably, the research offers tangible instances of manipulation within the COVID-19 discourse, such as claims suggesting that the virus represents a divine army or that Chinese individuals frequent mosques to learn ablution (wudu). This study is valuable to the expanding literature on COVID-19 discourse and manipulation. It offers nuanced insights into the strategies harnessed to sway public opinion amid a global pandemic. The discerned findings from this study hold significant potential, as they can inform the development of public awareness campaigns and strategies designed to counter the spread of misinformation and disinformation, a critical endeavour in today’s information-rich landscape.


Akopova, A. S. (2013). Linguistic manipulation: Definition and types. International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education, 1, 78–82.

Antara. (2020). Polri Tangani 97 Kasus Hoaks Selama Pandemi Covid-19.

Austin, J. L. (1962). How to do things with words. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Barton, D., & Lee, C. (2013). Language Online (0 ed.). Routledge.

HajiNews TV (Director). (2020, February 11). Allah kirim tentara corona unruk melindungi muslim Uyghur.

Hébert, L., & Tabler, J. (2020). An introduction to applied semiotics: Tools for text and image analysis. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Lauer, R. H. (1993). Perspektif Tentang Perubahan Sosial (Alimandan S.U., Trans.; 2nd ed.). Rineka Cipta.

Mey, J. (1993). Pragmatics: An introduction. Blackwell.

Muzykant, V. L., Muqsith, M. A., Pratomo, R. R., & Barabash, V. (2021). Fake News on COVID-19 in Indonesia. In D. M. Berube (Ed.), Pandemic Communication and Resilience (pp. 363–378). Springer International Publishing.

O’Rourke, C. (2020, February 25). PolitiFact | No, millions of Chinese didn’t convert to Islam, seeking coronavirus immunity.

Renkema, J. (2004a). Introduction to discourse studies. John Benjamins Pub.

Renkema, J. (2004b). Introduction to Discourse Studies. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Sahal, H. (2020). Quraish Shihab Sebut Wabah Covid-19 Bukan Azab, Tetapi Peringatan Allah. NU Online.

Shihab, M. Q. (2020). Corona Ujian Tuhan: Sikap Muslim Menghadapinya. Lentera Hati.

Simon, G. K. (1996). In sheep’s clothing: Understanding and dealing with manipulative people. A.J. Christopher.

Sorlin, S. (2017). The pragmatics of manipulation: Exploiting im/politeness theories. Journal of Pragmatics, 121, 132–146.

Tim. (n.d.). Postingan Gatot Disensor Instagram Karena Dianggap Hoax. detikinet. Retrieved August 22, 2023, from

Video terkini—Presiden Cina xi jinping mengunjungi... (n.d.). Retrieved August 22, 2023, from

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.15408/mimbar.v40i1.35559


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.