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internet freedom: indonesia (brief note)

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this is my brief note when I gave update about “internet freedom in asia-pacific, on morning plannery panel session of “international media conference”, seoul – korea, 23 june 2012. if you find any mistakes (but not for the grammar, hehehehe….) to correct or want to give related updates, please contact me directly via email dbu[at]donnybu.com. thank you….

-dbu-

—– start note —–

Indonesia is an archipelago with 17 thousand islands and 240 million people of the population. It is nearly 5 times of the total population of South Korea. the growing of the Internet and social media user in Indonesia is quite high. Now we have more than 55 million conventional Internet user, 33 million mobile Internet user (with 100 million 3G numbers), 19.5 million twitter account (in the term of the number of the tweets, we occupies 11% of the world total tweets, or number 3.

our tweets is number 1 in Asia with 52,3% of the total tweets from the region. We also have 43 million facebook account and estimated 3.3 million blogger. We have 150 ISPs and 35 NAP. All the ISP and NAP licenses are must be issued by government.

There are many stories about excellent use and impact of social media in Indonesia. For example, when Mount Merapi erupted several years ago, people use twitter to get support and share information about the supply of food and shelter. Other stories such as the moral support from 1 million Facebooker for transparency in the Anti Corruption Commission.

and the movement for supporting prita mulyasari, a nursering mother who was jailed because of online defamation article. the “coins for prita” movement that start from online then amplified by mainstream medias successfully raised funds for her around USD 85 thousand in the form of coins.

but sometimes we have to put mainstream in an opposite side. for example, when a local blogger try to balance information against the mainstream media. several months ago there were a clash in Ambon, eastern part of Indonesia. at that time, media deliver the info so bombastic, and the blogger use twitter to correct the info and sucessfully push the media to give better report.

Yes, Indonesia has an online defamation article on Cyber Act, that can be easily misused by those who want to limit freedom of expression. Some of human rights bloggers and activist, as well as the indonesian public interest lawyer associations, clearly stated that the article is against human rights.

Talking about censorship, government started ordering ISPs to block certain content back on 2008 and 2009, that was for Fitna movie on Youtube and the Prophet cartoon on Blogspot. May 2010, gov ask ISP to blog “everybody draw mohammed day” EDME page on facebook. Then using the momentum of the fasting month on July 2010, government ask ISP to censors pornsite, but without the technical guidance, procedure and list of the sites that must be blocked, until today.

Now ISPs implemented their own variety filtering system and database and some of them use local OpenDNS called Nawala. IN 2011, because of the pressure of the music industry, government requested to block several numbers of pirated-song download sites.

Because we believe that there is a slippery slope of censorship, our strategy is to embrace multiple stakeholders, there are government, private sectors and community. We have to develop program that acceptable and allows them to run together. We choose “online kids safety” issue to be the entry point and start expanding our 2002 program called Internet Sehat (Healthy Internet).

This “Internet Sehat” campaign uses a variety of offline and online activities and medium. We educate people how to use Internet safely and wisely. we emphasize to the stake holder that filtering must put as the very last option. Then a lot of parties, such as government, teachers association, local communities and private sectors motivated and inspired to create and adapt similar programs, nationally or locally.

They invited us quite often to work for some events together. Sometimes I was on the same stage, literally, with the government. In one occasion, the ICT minister clearly acknowledge that Internet Sehat could be a choice or alternative way to fight something “bad” online.

Recently, the gov run their own program called “Internet Sehat dan Aman” (healthy Internet and secure). By that, we realize that they open their door for us. That a good opportunity for us to embed idea or give induction of freedom of expression to them.

We also provide a variety of creative commons content about “internet safety” as well as “freedom of expression”, whether it’s popular articles, training modules to the video documentary. We believe content is the king. To deliver our message online, we use facebook (50 thousand likes), twitter (120 thousand followers), blog (45 thousand pageviews and 10 thousand unique visitors per month), youtube and mailing-list.

We also believes that another approach needs to be done is to embrace and enhance the ability of local blogger communities to be more sensitive to local issues and able to speak out. We provide free hosting, on demand workshop, audio / video streaming for transparency, etc.

By embracing and do capacity building to the community, actually we are setting up the condition and preparation if something goes wrong or not as expected. For example, if there are certain parties who want to silence freedom of expression on the Internet, or misuse/abuse the Internet, then the public and / or the community already know what to do to overcome it together.

In a word, what we are doing is offering choice to the government, and giving voice to the community

Thank you…

—– end note —–

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