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Thursday, September 17, 2009
  Citizens 2.0

I'm numerically challenged so my title may or may not refer to the 'power' of internet users in Indonesia to make a difference, to ensure the continuation of the reformasi of a country which until eleven years ago had suffered centuries of autocratic rule. There is certainly much discussion among bloggers and twitterers about the failings of elected representatives and the civil servants in government offices, few of whom, I suspect, will actually read this.

Judging by the turnouts on polling days, Indonesia now has a vibrant demokrasi. In most countries which offer their citizens a say in who they wish to represent them at local, regional and national levels legislatures are dissolved and no new laws or by-laws are enacted. Here, however, elected representatives linger on for as much as six months after they've been deselected.


Their time has been spent trying to foist their largely unwanted agenda on the electorate. The most notorious example has to be that of the Aceh regional government which believes that stoning adulterers will eradicate sexual 'deviants' and caning will cure homosexuals (even though sado-masochism is, for some, a form of sexual deviancy.) In two weeks, a new political regime, that of the former GAM 'rebels', will take their seats and most probably cast out the primitive by-law.

(Today's news from Solo in Central Java, one of Indonesia's more fundamentalist areas, of more Islamist fundamentalists, including kingpin Noordin Top being cornered and killed by Indonesia's anti-terrorist forces, leads to the tangential question of what the Acehnese politicians would deem an appropriate form of retribution for suicide bombers.)

Thankfully, the departing self-serving national legislators have been too lazy to pass many of the bills they have been cogitating over for the past five years. Some of those which they have 'finished' deliberating have been rushed through and demonstrate the absence or disregard of public input and will inevitably be amended or not fully enacted until they have been adequately 'socialised'..

These new include a new film law which states that films should have nine principles, including belief in an Almighty God. That one should go down well in Aceh, but I have yet to discover how the Balinese Hindus will react. The film industry, which has been doing rather well lately, is far from happy at the new restrictions they seemingly face. Rob Baiton has analysed the bill in some depth here.

Parliamentarians have also (un)seemingly finished their deliberations of a new state secrecy law which would have removed many corruption cases from public purview. However, SBY has indicated that there is no rush to pass it, possibly because of the furore it engendered, particularly among the mainstream media.

A major storm is underway over attempts to emasculate the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) which has achieved a 100% conviction rate. These include current and former elected legislators of all levels, senior bureaucrats, policemen, prosecutors and associated business cronies. This is not the place to go into greater depth, but do read Treespotter, his interview with Rob Baiton here and Rob himself here.

Following a tweeted 'debate', which I wasn't part of, Tree was sufficiently concerned with SBY's non-interventionist stance on the issue that he posted an open letter to Andi Mallarangeng, SBY's spokesman. It can be conjectured that this lead to yesterday's statement from SBY in support of the KPK.

"Eradicating graft remains the government’s priority. In the past five years we have taken the most aggressive graft eradication measures in Indonesia’s history, and I will prioritize the fight against graft over the next five years."

He also stated that the new Corruption Bill being deliberated is not an attempt to water down the effectiveness of the anti-graft drive, although many lawyers and NGOs believe that it is.
.................................
On the worldwide stage, Avaaz.org, is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization, which uses all the social networks you can think of to spread their messages.

Avaaz has initiated a campaign, the September 21 Global Climate Wake-Up Call, to demonstrate citizen power to those world leaders including SBY who are meeting the following day (22nd) in New York to discuss, among other matters, what they will discuss later this year at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

To date, "a staggering 1000 events in 88 countries (have been organised) for next Monday's great global climate wake up call". Among those listed is the simultaneous screening of a new 'drama-documentary-animation hybrid' film, The Age of Stupid.

It will be screened in Jakarta on December 4th.

Better late than never?

 

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10:29 p.m.
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