Under Secretary Otero Hosts Roundtable With Indonesian Bloggers

July 13, 2010
Indonesian Youth at Internet Cafe

About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as Editorial Assistant to DipNote.

Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero met with four Indonesian new media journalists at the Department of State on July 7, 2010. The event provided an opportunity for Under Secretary Otero to continue a discussion about the rights and ethical responsibilities of a free media in a democratic society that first began on Under Secretary Otero's visit to Indonesia in May.

Freedom House rates Indonesia as having one of the most free media environments in Southeast Asia, and digital activism is playing a role in strengthening democracy. Under Secretary Otero highlighted how Indonesia serves as a model in the region, projecting a vibrant democracy with a dynamic civil society. Yet Under Secretary Otero voiced some concern over the degree of freedom to operate and access the Internet, particularly in light of recent government moves toward more restrictions on online speech and activity.

The journalists, who are participating in the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program, said they hope that as online media develops in Indonesia, it will enjoy the same freedom of expression privileges of print media. Commonly, laws and regulations for online media are reactive, but the journalists expressed confidence that government and civil society leaders could sit down together and discuss how to ensure a constructive future for online media in Indonesia. They also discussed the rapid growth of social media in Indonesia and their optimism for society's adaptation of new technologies in the future.

After leaving Washington, the journalists will travel to Tampa, St. Louis, and San Francisco, where they will have the opportunity to explore the responsibilities of online reporting and develop a better understanding of how the Internet, social media, and online journalism promote civic responsibility and empowerment.

Comments

Comments

Tom W.
July 13, 2010

Foreign Service Officer Tom Weinz writes:

Indonesian reporters from radio, television and print media attended the opening ceremony of Pacific Partnership 2010 in Tobelo, Indonesia on July 13 and asked direct, perceptive questions about the mission. It is good to see that young bloggers are being hosted by the department in Washington. This is a dynamic and vibrant society, and Americans and Indonesians have much in common.

Pamela G.
|
West Virginia, USA
July 13, 2010

Pamela in West Virginia writes:

It is so exciting to hear that at least one country is helping its citizens move with the rest of the world. This will help them become an active member of the global community, Its citizens will be aware of what can be acheived through international dialogue.

Glenn G.
|
West Virginia, USA
July 14, 2010

Glenn G. in West Virginia writes:

I'm glad to see more Moslem countries participating in freedom of speech.

Khalil
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 14, 2010

Khalil in Washington DC writes:

It will be interesting to see how the international community can leverage anti-jamming and encryption software to assist Indonesian citizens, particularly democratic activists, evade government crackdowns on internet freedom.

Jenna
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 14, 2010

Jenna in Washington DC writes:

Interesting...their democracy allows them to enjoy a free media, while a free media reinforces their democracy...a very uplifting read.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
July 14, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

I can only think that when folks at DARPA, and the US military came up with the concept of a "galactic network" in 1962 they didn't initially have any way to know what an insideous weapon of mass destruction they were to eventually create and unleash upon totalitarianism on the global level.

The rise of democracy that has taken place since may be the proof of just how effective it has been.

Between democratic governments and the private sector org's like the Internet Society

isoc.org , I doubt if tyrany as it exists still on this planet will survive another decade in any governmental structural form.

Jonathan
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 14, 2010

Jonathan in Washington DC writes:

Great article. It is very interesting to see that one of the largest Muslim country in the World is increasing its means to let population access Worlwide news and media, including new communications tools (blogs).

Also, my concern is now to give the population means to increase their access to the Internet since only 12% of the inhabitants are using the web (however this is the 13th largest country for internet users!).

Sarah G.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
July 15, 2010

DipNote Blogger Sarah Goldfarb writes:

@ Jonathan, Eric, Jenna, Khalil, Glenn, and Pamela: I sincerely appreciate your taking time to provide your comments and feedback. I value your responses, and I believe we have greater opportunities than ever before to freely exchange ideas and promote dialogue. I cannot emphasize enough the privilege it was to interact with these Indonesian professionals. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out the Secretary’s remarks on Internet Freedom, I encourage you to do so here.

@ Foreign Service Liaison Officer Tom Weinz: Thank you for your comment. I hope everything is going well in Indonesia. For DipNote readers, you can follow Tom Weinz and the Pacific Partnership 2010’s journey on DipNote. You can also view extraordinary photos from Pacific Partnership 2010.

Thank you,
Sarah

Lasma
|
New York, USA
July 15, 2010

Lasma in New York writes:

Good luck Indonesia! Shifting minds as well as learning sometimes is hard task; hopefully with more access to information, people there will become more knowledgable and aware.

Hugh
|
Georgia
July 16, 2010

Hugh in Georgia (U.S.A.) writes:

Thank you for the post. There is no better way to promote an open, free society than to pursue communication among citizens, professional or otherwise, of different countries/cultures.

Elizabeth
|
Virginia, USA
July 18, 2010

Elizabeth in Virginia writes:

Very interesting post! As a teacher, it reminded me of the importance of making sure my students are literate in 21st century skills.

Rich
|
Indiana, USA
July 18, 2010

Rich in Indiana writes:

This well written article illustrates how interdependent the world is becoming through technology. It will be intersting to see how freedom develops and is enhanced in the largest Muslim country through online media and blogging.

Flankie
|
Indonesia
July 19, 2010

Flankie in Indonesia writes:

as a journalist I hope that online media will have the same right as print media. It is now depend on us to publish a good news that based on fact that realy happen.

.

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