All of a sudden bloggers are the flavor of the month where campaigning politicians are concerned.
On March 19 Vkce President Jusuf Kalla acheived a first when he invited bloggers for a dialogue at Cafe Pisa on Jalan Mahakam. He followed that up by asking “Bapak Blogging Indonesia” Enda Nasution (though these days he Tweets more than blogs) to “cover” his and his party’s campaigning in makassar and Palembang.
Now we get news that former Gerindra chief Prabowo wants to meet bloggers. This time at Amigos in Kuningan on Tueday March 31 (8pm). What gives? Have Indonesian politicians discovered soem secret of securing more votes? Do bloggers give them so much visibility that engaging with bloggers will from now be a staple activity in any aspiring politician’s itinerary? Are bloggers that influential or is it mere me-too-ism on Prabwo’s part, a digital keeping-up-with-the-Jusufs?
Unspun‘s not sure but if he had to guess it would be that Prabowo’s indulging in some me-too-ism. And why not? The bloggers that showed up at Jusuf’s lovefest with them were an easy lot to satisfy. Most of the questions he received were tame and most of the bloggers who asked questions were more intent on churhat than to ask incisive questions.
The result of the meeting resulted in many blog postings, some Twitter and Plurk traffic. Most of them were mildly positive in that the Great Man had taken time off to meet with them. No tough questions were asked. None of us are any wiser about Jusuf’s political viewpoints (if there are any), his vision for Indonesia and his vision for Golkar. But it was not too bad as a PR exercise for the easy to win over. (Congrats Indopac Edelman for “helping out” 😉 in the organization of that event).
So what of
Prabowo’s meet with the bloggers? It may come up to something yet but only if bloggers learn to ask questions like seasoned journalists. They need to grill him about his role in the abducton of dissidents in the early 80s, whether he did indeed try to stage a coup d’etat when Suharto’s rule was crumbling and also, curiously, why — if he’s guilty of all these heinous crimes — he’s not languishing in a jail somewhere now but free to campaign for the nation’s top job.
It woud be aso great if bloggers can ask Prabowo what he think’s of Happy Salma’s spoof political ad in Mirwan’s janganbikinmalu2009.com.
And for the rally curious they could ask point blank if he’s ever killed someone, either with his own hands or through issuing any orders, and whether all these deaths were conducted according to the law.
Finally, they could ask him what does it say about Indonesian society that makes it possible for someone with such a checquered history as him to be able to run for the nation’s highest office. Is this a land of opportunity or what?
The bloggers in Indonesia have been given a great opportunity to show that they can actually deliver insights and opinions better than juournalists in the traditional media. Will they rise to the occasion or spend the evening sucking up, being reverential, take the opportunity to hog the microphone to give their views about irrelevant matters and curhat to their heart’s content?
Let’s wait till Tuesday to find out.