If an Indonesian blogger writes something that is critical about one of the so-called, generally self-styled, élite, then how should the seemingly maligned person react?
Browse through my archives, or use the search facility, and you'll see that at various times I've criticised Abdurizal Bakrie, but not just because he's become Indonesia's richest man from exploiting Indonewsia's natural resources, Yusuf Kalla and Fauzi Bowo for making particularly asinine and offensive remarks about issues of major concern to the rakyat (population at large), and Adam Suherman for being particularly arrogant in his ownership of the now grounded by diktat rather than incompetence Adam Air.
I also regularly comment on the Cendana Clan, but generally in connection with their former cronies who are continuously reinventing themselves in order to cling on to their ill-gotten gains.
I wrote a few days ago about journalists being concerned that the criminal code, essentially those articles dealing with defamation, are occasionally used to muzzle them.
In my legal action against my erstwhile employers, I've criticised their philosophy. Within a day or so we'll be launching a major publicity offensive about the case. Meanwhile, as their major complaint against me was that in writing about the issue, and naming the top officials responsible (which I took from their respective websites) I was "in breach of etiquette".
The judges rightly dismissed this point.
However, exercising one's judgement when writing about a society, especially when one isn't certain about one's rights within that society, isn't easy. It can be a thin line.
If I were an Indonesian, with the full voting rights of a citizen, and I had, for example, information about corrupt judges, would I have the courage to name and shame them on this site? Or would I use my language powers and insinuate, infer and, thereby, implicate? As an English language 'expert', I could hide behind my floridity.
But if I wrote in Indonesian, would I have the same protection?
Or would I suffer a similar fate to Raja Petra, a Malaysian blogger who, on Tuesday, was charged with sedition for allegedly implying the deputy prime minister was involved in the sensational killing of a young Mongolian woman.
Raja Petra Raja Kamaruddin, who has not denied that he linked Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak to the slayings, pleaded innocent to the charge, telling reporters later that he should have the right to hold the powerful accountable for wrongdoing.
Critics slammed the charge, which carries a maximum punishment of three years in jail, as a blow to freedom of speech.
"Raja Petra has done a lot to raise people's awareness of issues," said Nurul Izzah Anwar, an opposition member of Parliament and daughter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.
That the issue is already in the public domain seems to be irrelevant.
So, my question is, are Indonesians prepared to write about rights, to stand up when it counts?
Are there limits to 'our' freedom to comment? Or are we restrained, as I am at 5 o'clock this morning, by our limited access to the internet? ................................ *Read what Raja Petra wrote here.