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Bali Mayor Calls For End Of Social Media Vigilantism Against Tourists

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Leaders in Bali are calling on the public to end social media vigilantism in order to help preserve the tourism resort’s public image.

Calls come as there has been another sharp rise in the amount of viral videos and formal reports of tourists behaving badly in Bali. 

Indonesian Man Looks At Smartphone

Speaking to reporters, the – Deputy Mayor of Denpasar, Kadek Agus Arya Wibawa, has reminded the public not to ‘viralize’ or spread videos of negative behavior carried out by foreign tourists while on holiday in Bali.

He’s calling for the positive contributions foreigners and tourists be highlighted too. This he feels, will not only save Bali’s public image but also help encourage more good behaviour too. 

Wibawa explained “Foreign tourists who attend not only have a negative impact, but many also bring a positive aura when visiting Bali.”

He noted how there are many tourists and expats in Bali who care deeply about the island, social justice issues and environmental issues faced by the province. 

Wibawa said, “Why don’t we highlight that? Why do we only spread the negative side of tourists? For example, there is a community from Russia who often helps us clean up Sanur Beach.”

He believes that by making a conscious effort to showcase the positive impacts of tourism in Bali and the presence of foreigners on the island, it will be easier to move the needle towards culturally respectful and sustainable tourism as standard, as is the overall mission of the Bali Province Government and Bali Tourism Office. 

Wibawa added, “If you see Bali tourism like this, with lots of foreign tourists acting up, will you not switch to tourist areas such as Thailand, Vietnam, and so on? This is what needs to be anticipated so that the news is balanced. Positive things from foreign tourists must also be highlighted.”

Social media vigilantism has been on the rise in Bali since the pandemic.

Aside from the rise in the number of foreigners behaving badly, the nature of the bad behavior is seemingly becoming more outrageous than ever before.

Local communities voiced that they feel the only way they can catch the attention of the authorities over these matters is to make incidents of bad behavior go viral. 

Sometimes though, videos go viral online of foreigners not doing anything illegal or inherently disrespectful, simply for being a little different in their ways.

That being said, citizen journalism on community-run Instagram and TikTok accounts also highlights local people breaking the law or acting disrespectfully.

While the incidents of foreigners behaving badly get the most attention, citizen journalism social media accounts publish content quickly, often live as events are unfolding, and with little regard for the nature of the content itself.

Culturally, there is a huge divide between what both communities feel is and isn’t appropriate to share online in such scenarios.

Yet, everyone in Indonesia has to be extra careful about what they share and post online due to the country’s strict online censorship laws.

It is not uncommon for images and videos of violent crime, traffic collisions, and people experiencing mental health crises all to be published online in real time. In the event that these kinds of scenarios involve foreigners, the content goes viral even more quickly. 


Nevertheless, many of the viral videos of foreigners do show behavior that is outrightly illegal, culturally disrespectful, and enacted knowingly by the people involved.

It is this kind of behavior that Wibawa wants to see stopped from going viral. 


Leaders across the Central and Provincial Governments want to see firmer action taken against foreigners who break the law on the island and promote Bali as a destination that is a beacon of culturally respectful and sustainable tourism to the world.

Speaking during her visit to Singaraja City the Head of the Bali Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, Pramella Y Pasaribu, emphasized her commitment to take firm action against rogue foreigners who are proven to have broken the law and disrespected local culture. 


She told reporters, “We will not hesitate to take firm action against foreigners who violate the rules. This is a form of our commitment to maintaining state sovereignty and providing a sense of security for the Indonesian people, especially in Bali.”

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Wednesday 3rd of July 2024

Without foreigners, Bali would be just another one of hundreds of poor polluted Indonesian islands, full stop. Locals pollute and disrespect the island far more than foreigners.


Thursday 27th of June 2024

Here is a story. So I was riding my bike and there was a road blockage in tanjong. I then ask the guy there politely how do I get to the destination I need to go to as that is the only road. He then started shouting at me and told me to park and walk. Btw he was drinking with his friends, they were in local Balinese costumes. I then told him to chill and that he could told me that nicely. His friend then took out his phone and started recording me. So they were trying to entrap me. They wanted a reaction. I was taken back and then just rode away. So becareful boys and girls. There are people here that will rile you up to get a reaction and then record it. It's sick and disgusting behaviour but I experienced it first hand. I have always respected everyone I ever met, that was how I was brought up. Doesn't matter where you're from or what you do. But what those men did to me has left a sour taste in my mouth.


Thursday 27th of June 2024

Recently I saw a local mother letting her little girl stand up behind the father on their motorbike and at the same time a motorcycle police officer just passed by with not even a glance.

I'm sure there is a law against such things but yet are never enforced.


Wednesday 26th of June 2024

Take and pretend nothing has been given while deliberately ignoring your own folks' mass of misbehaviour.


Wednesday 26th of June 2024

This website like Pak Arbaya is constantly promoting Bali as wonderful. The truth of the matter is there are many problems there - serious problems like Russian and Ukrainian colonisation, Mafia and illegality, and it's increasing. Many people of course would like us not to hear about these truths. Thanks to social media a lot of the dark side of Bali is now being exposed. Hiding the truth is not going to help find solutions to the serious problems or affecting Balinese society, and principal among those is many local people, selling of the land and culture to foreigners. And it would be good to see this website actually following up on illegality by local residents that is never acted on by police such as underage motorbike, riding street trash, burning, illegal moneychangers, many motorbikes with no lights etc.


Thursday 27th of June 2024

@BaliEyeWitness..., "underage riding motorbike, street trash, burning, illegal moneychangers, many motorbikes with no lights etc."

South Denpasar is like that, just 500 meter from the tourist zone. Add in an explosive mix of immigrants from other islands not going along with each other and the natives.


Thursday 27th of June 2024

@BaliEyeWitness..., that's exactly what they are trying to hide. All the lawless corrupt stuff is brought to light via social media and they don't like it, because bad publicity causes biggest damage to those who benefit from all the corruption. They want to control the negative image, but they can't. For decades Bali has been falsely promoted via positive lense only, while hiding all the issues with corruption and intimidation.

All this needs to be brought to light even more.