Indonesia Media and Blogs

I read an interesting headline today in India best-selling newspaper The Times of India. The title’s no less catchy: “Blogs Rage over Denial of Justice.” It’s the number two top headline today in the media. It reports the anger and anguish of Indian bloggers over some recently concluded verdict results on rape and murder issues. It also quotes some statements made by some Indian bloggers on the issues. When a 1.2 million-readership newspaper records what bloggers are saying, the readers listen and salute them.

What I’d like to say is the role of media in India in popularizing the blogs as a true voices of people conscience has been tremendeously good. What about Indonesia media?

I hate to say that media in Indonesia still regard a blog as tools for a kid playing field , or as another kind of website technology in its more advanced and easy-to-use form. Duncan Graham helps enlightening Indonesian media when he wrote a good piece about blog in the Jakarta Post several months back. Yet, his piece got ‘honoured’ in a Feature column, no body will read it, until you have a lot of spare-time.

Considering the fast growth of Indonesia blogs, both in numbers and quality, isn’t it the time for mainstream media to take the blogger voices into account?

Blog, blogging and blogger should not only be considered, and therefore put under, the technology or features category of any media column. Its contents are the people voices; the voice of conscience and therefore should have a better place in the mainstream media. Both in its print edition and/or online ones.

Anonymity and Credibility

I agree with Budi Putra that anonymity should be accepted. And why not? I even go further in my previous post that scientific posting, on certain topics, will automatically earn you a credibilty irrespective of whether you’re anonymous or not. I emphasize the word “certain topics” because there’re some other topics in which clarity of identity is a must unless you’re a careless person who dont need the so-called credible ‘awards.’

What kind of topics that needs clarity of identity? (a) Religion; (b) Politics; (c) Minority/majority issue among others. Why? Let me explain a bit further.

As I said earlier on, neutrality & objectivity is a one way ticket towards credibility. Yet, both are an impressionist in nature. Readers need to be convinced that you’re in a neutral position when writing on those topics.

How do readers know that you are in a neutral position? The answer is your identity. Generally, neutrality and objectivity very much related to self-criticism (against your own religion, community, political party, etc).

So, when someone known for his/her closeness to a political party, say PKS, and he/she criticises some of PKS’ policy, certainly his/her criticism has the merit to be heard; and obviously such kind of criticism has credibility. On the contrary, anonymity on this regard will have many interpretations: one migh think that you are from some other political party and hence it’s common practice to attack other parties.

Likewise, a Muslim known for his/her attachment to Islam his/her criticism against Islam and Muslims will obviously has more credibility than an anonymous writer who does the same. An anonymous writer or blogger whose daily posting enjoys attacking Islam and Muslim all the time will be regarded or at least suspect of being one of those from the Evangelist group or anyone with similar point of reference, in turn no purpose of significant would be achieved but one: to satisfy one’s lust of hatred and those readers who have the same inclination. Similarly, a pious Christian has more merit in criticising Christianity and Christians.

Having said that, anonymity is the right to choose in the virtual world. Just as being credible or untrustworthy is the choice for anyone to take.

The First in USA: A Blogger Jailed

Jeff Jarvis of the Guardian Unlimlited blog reports a case that might be the first of its kind in the USA: a blogger jailed by a US federal court for not handing over sources or source materials for a story. A case that–according to him–“will raise no end of questions about the rights, responsibilities, and protections of citizens acting as journalists.”

I myself wrote a few posts here and here regarding whether a blogger deserves to be called a journalist and– hence deserves the same rights and protection.

Even if you agree to regard blogger as journalist it still has its own problem, says Jeff Jarvis:

But if the internet allows anyone to publish, then who should get such protection? In Congress and the courts, arguments are ensuing over whether bloggers are journalists. I say that’s the wrong argument. Journalism isn’t defined by who makes it (and, in fact, trying to do that is a dangerous attempt to certify journalists, giving authorities the means to decertify them). Journalism is an act. I say that if one journalist’s act of reporting is covered, then all must be. And the journalists are not necessarily opposed. At a symposium on this topic, New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller said: ‘The NY Times should be exceedingly humble about trying to decide who and who is not a journalist since we meet the test … and it feels like pulling up the ladder behind us.’ Still, he wasn’t sure which bloggers should qualify.”[]

Is Dual Citizenship Needed?

I’ve made delibarely the Indonesian expats life twice as the topics for “Blogger Indonesia of the Week.” The issue I wanted to raise is not only how important it’s for us to give appreciation wherever it’s due including to those who’re living abroad, but also to highlight a little bit the incapability of our diplomats abroad (KBRI-KJRI) to represent and promote Indonesia and its people, the purpose of which is better served by Indonesian expats rather than by those high-paid civil servant diplomats.

A reader who happens to be an Indonesian expat sends me a good letter regarding the dilemma on citizenship: her love towards her homeland forces her to keep her Indonesian passport; yet there’s an urgent needs for her or any Indonesian expats to change citizenship to make life easier in a country they’re choosing to stay. The problem is Indonesia doesn’t have dual-citizenship policy like China so as to make the expats have both citizenship.

That’s why,

The citizenship issue is another thing that makes many Indonesian expats think over to return to Indonesia. The USA has the so-called “dual nationality.” We’re talking about #1 super power country in the world, but Indonesia (which is now considered a third world country) doesn’t approve people to have dual nationality. The loss is, naturally, Indonesia’s.

In the meantime,

“Smarter” third world countries, such as Mexico, sees this as an opportunity of partnership, which allows their top people to still keep their Mexican nationality while obtaining US nationality. Unless Indonesia adopts this dual citizenship system, it would be hard to stop Indonesia’s best daughters and sons from getting other country’s nationality.

Making arrangement with other countries on this issue is not a big deal, says she.

It’s actually pretty easy, Indonesia can sign a bilateral agreement with the USA, UK and other developed countries to allow Indonesians to have dual nationality. Since Indonesia doesn’t have much to offer, Indonesia will benefit a lot from this bilateral agreement.

A good and reasonable suggestion from an Indonesian expat which needs to be looked at by Indonesian policy makers.

Extremism is un-Islamic

Former Indonesian president KH Abdurrahman Gus Dur Wahid writes a good piece in the Washington Post highlighting the recent court-ruling hype in Afghanistan in which a Muslim who converts to Christianity got the death sentence but then sidestepped by the Gov on the ground of unfitness on the part of the accused.

Quoting an early precedent of Islamic history he says,

The Koran and the sayings of the prophet Muhammad do not definitively address this issue. In fact, during the early history of Islam, the Agreement of Hudaibiyah between Muhammad and his rivals stipulated that any Muslim who converted out of Islam would be allowed to depart freely to join the non-Muslim community. Nevertheless, throughout much of Islamic history, Muslim governments have embraced an interpretation of Islamic law that imposes the death penalty for apostasy.

He elaborate further that Muslim and non-Muslim alike should differentiate between Islamic law (Sharia) derived from Quran or the man-made ones.

It is vital that we differentiate between the Koran, from which much of the raw material for producing Islamic law is derived, and the law itself. While its revelatory inspiration is divine, Islamic law is man-made and thus subject to human interpretation and revision.

Floyd Landis and Synthetic Sweat

If you love biking, you must’ve known his name and his upside down. The 2006 Tour de France Champion fate seems to be certain: he did the dope. And the decision is obvious: he’ll willingly or unwillingly have to surrender the crown to the runner up. Thing that’s not yet clear is when as the proceeding of the matter usually takes days or even months.

Just for the record it’s the first Tour de France champion to be stripped off his crown.

The Post reports,

It’s a race you can bet Floyd Landis never wanted to win: The descent from the winner’s podium in Paris to accused drug user. And yet he has accomplished it with breathtaking speed. With yesterday’s news that Landis’s backup “B”-sample drug test confirmed there were elevated levels of testosterone after the July 20 stage of the Tour de France, the man who two weeks ago was credited with a historical feat is now being labeled a cheat.

The idea why drug-user sportperson is unwanted because sports is considered a miniature of life; a competition of achieving higher degree of goals in the most manly and knightly manner; a race towards glory and dignity. And for that to happen, the cleanest way to achieve it is paramount. Success and failure in a competition sometimes not as important as the process to achieve it.

Yes, success is the main goal and everyone’s dream but it has to be achieved with sweat, not synthetic sweat in the form of drug. Drug is a symbol of dishonesty and corrupt manner and therefore is considered in deviation with the “clean and dignified” value the sport world hold very dearly against which will be considered unsporting.

So far, the sport world authorities relatively succeed in maintaining this value. It would be very nice to see this core value transpire into the real world of life.[]

Self-Criticism of an American

I’m glad watching Doug Pritchard –co-chairman of Chicago-based Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT)– who held press conference live on CNN today in which he said “We believe the illegal occupation of Iraq by multinational forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq today. The occupation must end.”

He made a very good point when he said,

“We have tasted the pain that has been the daily bread of thousands of Iraqis,” he said. “Why have our loved ones been taken? Where are they being held? Under what conditions? How are they? Will they be released? When?”

American people with a good sense still in place should distance themselves from their government to make reconciliation with the rest of the world easier. Let the rest of the world knows that American people and their government are two different entities.

US administration multiple standard way of talking, no here and yes there, should be read as ‘political compulsion’ of US politicians. The ordinary Americans who enjoys liberty in their hands and are not drunken with pseudo-patriotism should follow the path of Doug Pritchard in condemning the war in Iraq and plain yet grave mistake done by Bush in making the war and attrocities happen.

Had majority of American people had the empathy and understanding as much as Mr. Pritchard has in looking at many events around the world involving the US, the world would much have been closer to them. Unlike now.

The only way for American to be “wiser” is simply try listening to any voices, not only to speeches made by Bush and his colleagues from Republican.[]

Roger Federer the Charismatic Sportman

Roger Federer is adored by many, including me, not only because of his extra-ordinary ability in sport he chooses i.e. tennis. He’s admired more or less also as an extraordinary human being who has a strong willingness to improve his personality and doesn’t forget to see other unpriveleged people as a kind of people he’s more than willing to give a helping hand to.

As a tennis player, his ability is beyond doubt. His elegance on the court earns him many adoring attributes: as an artist, a sportperson with a dancing soul, a tough tennis player with smiling heart, an all time records holder, and still counting, with ease. His ever smiling face on and off the court often deceives many as though he’s not a tough and hard-to-crack player wich proves the opposite.

As human being off the court his attitude gains respects beyond the fraternity of tennis. He’s an ambassador for UN. His aim after retirement is to help the unpriveleged people in other parts of the world.

He also earns respect from many journalists, because he could give a very quality answers whenever they interview him. His interview with CNN recently about his prospect rivalries with Rafael Nadal got many appreciation.

As far as tennis, there are two persons I admire on and off the court: Roger Federer and Andre Agassi. I always want and wish them to win and feel disappointed whenever they lose.