Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Self Censorship Rules

Fatih Syuhud and Ong Hock Chuan don't like anonymous blogging.

Well dudes, the 80s called and they want their new order media back!

Get with the program:

1) Credibility doesn't rest with real names (ahem :P)

2) Don't underestimate the intelligence of blog readers

3) Anonymous blogs are so entertaining

Anonymity isn't cowardly! It's exercising freedom of speech, where otherwise a person would feel too endangered to say whatever the hell they like. Indonesia is still a dangerous place for those who speak their minds, self censorship rules - or haven't you noticed?

21 comments:

theunspunblog.com said...

"Indonesia is still a dangerous place for those who speak their minds, self censorship rules - or haven't you noticed?"

Really John, which blogger has been systematically targeted for persecution in Indonesia?

Those that protest too much about lack of free speech and censorship miss a very important about intolerant regimes: opinions, entertaining as they are (and I include Unspun in this category) rarely hurt the powers that be; information does - now how many anonymous blogger you know have the real dope on the people they critique?

oigal said...

Bloggers should use their real names or they lack credibility..

What sanctimonious claptrap! Freedom of speech has long way to go in Indonesia, perhaps those that whine can tell how is the court case for the murdered reporter going? Tempo? Time? Not comparing blogs to those publications but the point is if they cannot get a fair and just hearing what hope has a blogger who upsets the wrong person got.

Even in countries with significant whistle blower protection the very best of the informative blogs are anon.. www.crikey.com has bought down numerous government ministers (although a sad relic of what it was today).

Of course, if its a gadget and widget blog with more ads than content well understandable you don't need to be anon.

Patung said...

Well my favourite writer on the net is Spengler at Asia Times, "Spengler" is not his real name and I don't know what his real name is - I'm a bit curious, but I don't really care and it doesn't affect how I read or enjoy his writing.

I'm not comparing myself to him by any means, he's great! and he writes opinion stuff, I mainly just translate/summarise stuff from Antara, Tempo, Republika, etc. LOL. I also provide links to the original source, so you can go and read it, and there is a comment form on the pages if you want to say something - anonymously or not, fine with me. People can also submit their own stories in the Opinion section, if you want to write something "pro-Islam", go for it, the point of the site is to allow for debate, which I think some people would like to prevent - that I think is the whole point of this anti-anon thing, with some people, none of whom are present on this page as of writing.

theunspunblog.com said...

Oigal: Aren't you over inflating the importance of bloggers? I don't think that at the moment there are very influential bloggers in Indonesia, or at least influential to the extent that those in power view them as a threat.

Patung: I think Fatih's original point was that unless you disclose your identity then it is difficult for readers to judge where you are coming from? Are you writing something because you have a personal grudge against someone? Or that you are being paid to do so?

We don't know. Even if you disclose your identity we may never know but chances are that someone out there would and they can blow the whistle on a blogger with a hidden agenda. I think it has to do with responsible blogging.

johnorford said...

Unspun:

"Really John, which blogger has been systematically targeted for persecution in Indonesia?"

Well I know Brandon of TheJavaJive fame has received death threats, even ppl threatening his girlfriend :( And his posts are so ultra-non-controversial!

Imagine that happening to a guy with a family who writes /controversial/ stuff?

"now how many anonymous blogger you know have the real dope on the people they critique?"

That is a very good point. but bloggers generally don't try do investigative journalism, blogs posts are mostly opinion pieces. And often they are very effective in that regard.

johnorford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
johnorford said...

Also Unspun:

I seem to remember an ex-colleague of yours being fired for quite an honest opinion about her business trip to Malaysia. These things happen, but that post was pretty balanced and constructively critical.

theunspunblog.com said...

John: News to me that brandon and his GF have been targeted with death threats. I was careful to use the word "systematically targeted". With that I mean that bloggers are systematically targeted by officials or groups of people. The odd psycho or two don't count beause they can exist anywhere.

You are right, a colleague of mine lost her part time job because of her blog postings but that was because she was targeted by the Malaysian Tourism Board. Not Indonesian.

My point is that Indonesia is not necessarily more dangerous than any other place for bloggers, hence t would be unfair to say that bloggers will be persecuted unless they blog anonymously in Indonesia. It could happen anywhere, so why single out Indonesia?

oigal said...

How many times do you need to be systematically attacked before it does damage?

Seriously, its probably a point worth discussing but the moment a widget head throws in with name calling and expat chip on his shoulder he deserves to get treated with contempt.

theunspunblog.com said...

Oigal: The issue here is whether Indonesia is a dangerous place, so dangerous that people have to blog anonymously to have peace of mind.

So far no one has been able to substantiate the claim that Indonesia is worse off than other places, with its share of cranks and boors.

Patung said...

"The issue here is whether Indonesia is a dangerous place"

No, there are lots of reasons why somebody might want to write anonymously. Google is your friend:

Apparently many academics blog anonymously, especially women.

Some people might be afraid of becoming a victim of web rage.

Some write anon because they are worried about their job prospects.

Some people even think writing anonymously is a matter of impartiality and personal integrity.

And according to wiki:

"The history of anonymous expression in political dissent is both long and honourable."

"Letters of Junius", "Candide", and "the Federalist Papers" were published anonymously.

And I notice on these guides to writing anonymously on the web -

Global Voices Online
How to Blog Safely
Guide for Bloggers and Cyberdissidents

A Technical Guide to Anonymous Blogging

they don't give a list of countries where it is acceptable to do it. - LOL

Rob Baiton said...

Take a step back and take a breath!

In the end it is a case of making a mountain out of a mole hill! If this really is an issue of credibility of anonymous bloggers then exercise your democratic right not to read anonymous blogs.

With regards to whether or not someone has an agenda or is getting paid to write something is pretty much a non-event! Don't we all have our own little agendas? Why do we write blogs in the first place? Isn't it so we can give our own little take on the worlds we inhabit?

In any event my beef with anonymous bloggers is not that they are anonymous, quite to the contrary as I am more interested in entering into constructive dialogue (argument) on the validity of their perspectives and interpretations contained in their posts.

Knowing who the blogger is might add a personal touch to the exchange but their identity is not a critical part of the discourse on the arguments advanced.

I have posted elsewhere that it is not a question of cowardice but rather a question of whether you have the courage of your convictions to let it all hang out and take the figurative beating that some might want to give you?

But when it is all said and done, what we write here is not going to see any blogging cultural shift away from anonymity being employed by some bloggers.

Final point -- are there statistics out there in cyber world somewhere that accurately states the ratio of anonymous bloggers to "known / identified" bloggers? And where do I find them?

theunspunblog.com said...

Patung: Oigal was trying to make the point that it was acceptable to blog anonymously in Indonesia because it is a dangerous place, by implication more dangerous than other places.

I disagreed.

The points you raised give good reasons why some people should blog anonymously. That is different from saying that Indonesia a more dangerous place to blog with your identity.

I agree with Rob. You have a right to blog anonymously but do you have the moral courage accept responsibility for what you said by attaching your name to it. How else do you take responsibility for what you write?

There also seems to be a skewered view of what blogs are supposed to be for. Reading Oigal and Patung's views I seem to get the impression that they think blogs give you license to participate in a free for all rhetorical gang bang.

And I always thought blogs were meant to allow people to have meaningful naked conversations and to participate in a dialogue.

Dunno about them but I would find it bit difficult establishing rapport in a conversation with a mysterious, masked stranger.

johnorford said...

patung, thx for the informative post, a little research goes a long way!

unspun, i agree with a lot of what u say.

maybe u r right, maybe ppl overestimate the danger of speaking freely in indonesia and underestimate the value of being open with openly identifying themselves. however it's prudent for individual bloggers to weigh up the risks and benefits for themselves.

even the paranoid have enemies :)

Also:

"Reading Oigal and Patung's views I seem to get the impression that they think blogs give you license to participate in a free for all rhetorical gang bang."

A bit OTT, don't u think?

theunspunblog.com said...

John: Probably ;) Mea culpa

oigal said...

"Oigal was trying to make the point that it was acceptable to blog anonymously in Indonesia because it is a dangerous place, by implication more dangerous than other places."

Aww Come on, Unspun, speaking of over the top..thats drawing a pretty long bow..I think it would fairer to say that the main gist of my beef was to refer to Anon bloggers as cowards was inane rubbish. Although as a side issue, I do happen to think that Indonesia is tad more dangerous than a lot of other countries (even by numbers alone, let alone inept law enforcement..lets see for example OZ 1% population of raving nutters, thats 250,000 nutters..same ratio Indonesia..geez thats a lot of nutters).

Rob, I am not really that ANON, the majority of regular readers know who I am, is it such a crime to be just a little prudent where you family is concerned. Sorry, I prefer to make sure loons are filtered just little bit.

"So far no one has been able to substantiate the claim that Indonesia is worse off than other places, with its share of cranks and boors."

No it's not the issue, the issue is: is it prudent to take some steps to protect you and yours from the overzealous (a position, you yourself took some time ago)

"There also seems to be a skewered view of what blogs are supposed to be for."

Says Who? I must have missed the bit where we had the election to appoint the Rulers of Blogdom..and perhaps here we are getting to the real issue..

I would have voted for the Blog Party that outlawed Ads on blogs, widget blogs and milksop diary blogs..but then again that the beauty of blogging..you or anyone else cannot control it as offensive as it seems to your sense of order amd moral indignation.

"free for all rhetorical gang bang."

and thats bad because...

happy blogging

treespotter said...

oigal, what's milkshop diary blog?

johnorford said...

"Rob, I am not really that ANON, the majority of regular readers know who I am"

actually that's a good pt... i know most if not all the identities of my fave anon bloggers...

theunspunblog.com said...

Oigal: "Says Who? I must have missed the bit where we had the election to appoint the Rulers of Blogdom..and perhaps here we are getting to the real issue..

Again, we have argument by misdirection and insinuation. Says me of course since I wrote it. Agree or disagree with it and provide reasons if you want to engage in honest argument.

And yes, there is nothing wrong with a gang bang, if you are the type. Might was well be a regular visitor at Jakchat.

Brandon said...

"Well I know Brandon of TheJavaJive fame has received death threats, even ppl threatening his girlfriend :( And his posts are so ultra-non-controversial!"

This is true. It's been the reason why I toned down the writing aspect of my blog. And yes - I'm very tame with my words and opinions (until you meet me in real life ;) ).

The situations I've been involved in were extremists trying to preach that I've "stolen their women (as in Indonesian w/ bule)" type of thing. I'm not one to cry in the corner so with a small amount of confrontation came the, "I know where you live, I can find you, I'll slice your throat with my (whatever weapon he named), don't think I can't find you - I know you live in _____", etc.

And, yes, kidnapping does happen - even in my area.

There have been two distinct psychos who I'd love to meet face to face.

johnorford said...

Brandon,

Don't let the bastards get u down!