Saturday, April 24, 2010

Indonesia Amnesia

In "Debate on Internet’s Limits Grows in Indonesia," a New York Times reporter describes how sites like Facebook are being used for political protest in Southeast Asia. The article notes that cheap cellphones have also made rapid adoption possible in this multi-class, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-ethnic society. As in many countries, including our own, government actors worry about how political subversion might undermine existing political institutions.

Proponents of greater freedom view social networking as a vital tool to further democratize this country’s often corrupt political system. Skeptics, especially among politicians and religious leaders, worry about mob rule and the loss of traditional values.

In its latest move, the government recently proposed a bill that would require Internet service providers to filter online content but was forced to shelve it after vociferous protest online and in the mainstream media.

It is interesting to think about what has and hasn't changed in the country since the publication of "Lost in Transition: the Internet and Reformasi in Indonesia" in Reformatting Politics: Information Technology and Global Civil Society in 2006.



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