This mini-rant is occasioned by the publication of an article (here) with the above title.
That some of these blogs are praised for their number of ‘hits’ is not an indication of their worth but merely an indication of the current willingness to follow the herd.
Blogs which contain “drool-worthy entries on food“, “fashion inspirations, and riveting products“, “whimsical descriptions of the places he has been and the food he has eaten” and”trendy outfits of the day” do little to advance the cause of free speech and social causes.
The one positive aspect of these blogs is that they look good, and that takes a certain time consuming creativity far beyond posting an ephemeral ‘selfie’ on Mugshots, MieNow, or SnapShots et al.
The Indonesian ‘blogosphere’ was established before the rise of ‘social media’ and ‘smart phones’. The power of bloggers proved so overwhelming that “the ruling party decreed that candidates for posts would be required to set up blogs, a turnaround for governing politicians who had derided online politicking“.
Of course, that wasn’t here in Indonesia because, as everyone knows, Ministers and former Presidential spokesmen are more than welcome to archive their speeches and articles, much as journalists and newspaper columnists do.
Started in March 2004, Jakartass is the ‘oldest’ expat blog in English and when Wimar Witoelar, the former spokesman for President Gus Dur and one of the ‘top ten’ bloggers today, I welcomed him (here). I’m pleased that he’s still offering his substantial thoughts (generally in bhs Indonesia), but Pak, if you read this, could you please update your sidebar links.
That my writing as Jakartass lead to a commission from Marshall Cavendish to rewrite Culture Shock! Jakarta (two editions, 2007 & 2011) is, I feel, of note. Not because I need the royalties – a million rupiah or two each year doesn’t go far – but because it reflects a time when citizen journalists and social activists were valued.
Mind you five star reviews are always welcome.
Yes, Jakarta is crazy, as this headline from an article in Friday’s Jakarta Post proves.
The article describes the courtroom scenes when Jessica Kumala Wongso was convicted of murdering Wayan Mira Salihin – without a single shred of solid evidence. Poisoned with cyanide in her coffee? Was she? Did she have an unsuspected medical condition?
No-one knows because no autopsy was carried out! But the tabloid media turned the justice system into a pantomime of a kangaroo court. TV channels also saw their ratings soar as they broadcast the trial live as it continued conveniently into the late evening so that workers would have something to gossip about the following morning. This reality show of a sinetron swelled the coffers of media companies, many owned by politicians, thanks to the increase in theiradvertising revenue.
And what has this to do with the top ten bloggers? Nothing at all … not one, not even Pak Wimar, have seen fit to use their glorified status to reflect that there but for fortune their right to a fair trial could also have been trampled on.