It took a bit of time putting it together but Pesta Blogger 2008 is finally on the way and the Pesta Blogger Committee held a press conference today to announce what’s in store for Indonesia’s bloggers this year.
At the press conference, held at the Ministry of Communications and Information this afternoon, Pesta Blogger 2008 Chairman Wicaksono, better known among bloggers as Ndoro Kakung, announced that this year’s event, which will be held at the BPPT building on 22 November, will aim for 1,000 participants. This is double the participation in last year’s Pesta Blogger.
Strong participation is expected from bloggers from outlying cities as their communities have been actively communicating with Pesta Blogger Committee members. In addition the communities have ben actively involved in social work that is consistent with this year’s Pesta Blogger theme of “Blogging for Society.”
There will also be some new activities in this year’s Pesta Blogger. One of them is the invitation of five foreign bloggers from neighboring countries and the US to visit Bali, Yogjakarta and Jakarta, and concluding their trip by haring their impressions about Indonesia, its culture and blogging community with the participants of Pesta Blogger 2008. This activity is being held in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
Another new activity is the introduction of a photo contest this year that is being organized by blogger Iman Brotoseno who was present at today’s press conference together with other Pesta Blogger Committee members Enda Nasution, Chika, Hanny and Shinta.
Also at the press conference was the patron of Pesta Blogger, Minister of Communications and Informatics Muhammad Nuh and US Ambassador to Indonesia, Cameron Hume.
Both men explained why they were supporting Pesta Blogger. Pak Nuh, who also announced that the Ministry wil be donating 10 laptops as prizes for Pesta Blogger participants, said that he was supporting Pesta Blogger because blogging encouraged freedom of expression, which in turn encouraged creativity. This would help Indonesia be competitive in the world.
The third speaker at the press conference, Ambassador Hume, said his embassy was supporting pesta blogger because the US believes in freedom of speech and freedom of expression so anything that empowers individuals to speak their minds is good for society. He, however, said that the freedom of speech should be used to benefit society and individuals, not to cause harm.
Pak Nuh and Ambassador Hume were then given Pesta Blogger T-shirts after Ambassador Hume and Wicaksono signed a sponsorship agreement.
In the question and answer session that followed, a journalist asked Nuh why he was such an advocate for freedom of expression for bloggers when other countries such as Malaysia (and here Unspun swears that many pairs of eyes turned on to him) were clamping down on bloggers. Nuh reiterated that freedom of expression begets creativity.
And that was about what there was of the press conference. Unspun couldn’t help thinking how proud Indonesians must feel because they have enlightened ministers who not only tolerate but encourage freedom of speech, a Culture and Tourism Ministry that is open to engaging bloggers from overseas to help them sell the country (Pesta will shortly be inviting five bloggers, one each from Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and the US, if Unspun‘s dxylexia is behaving). and have three ministries endorsing and actively supporting a blogger’s event (The Ministry of Communication and Informatics, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Ministry of Research and Technology).
On top of that it also has a US Ambassador who’s not adverse to doing something new and different. Unspun believes that this is the fost time a US Embassy anywhere in the world is sponsoring a major blogger’s event.
Is this a great country or what?
For more details about Pesta blogger 2008 go here.
(Disclosure: Unspun’s company is one of the organizers of Pesta Blogger. And Unspun wore batik for the first time in 10 years for today’s occasion)