First JK, now Prabowo wants to meet bloggers?

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.

enda's twitter streamNow 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

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.

7 thoughts on “First JK, now Prabowo wants to meet bloggers?

Add yours

  1. I believe that meeting with Prabowo would do us no harm, as a matter of fact it would show blogger’s neutrality, in the sense that we are able to dig various kinds
    of information no matter where they come from.


  2. @Multibrand: I don’t see any harm either – short term. But what I am worried about are the longer terms possibilities. If the results of the meeting – the blog posts – are wanting in insights, unique points of view or entertaining/enlightening opinion then what meetings like these would result in is attention fatigue and this may lead to the notion that blogs aren’t worth reading.

    Even in the traditional media politicians etc are careful to speak to only the “right” media for them. They usually call this Tier-1 media. The other media outside this category aren’t really interested in them or their issues, or are incapable of transmitting their thoughts properly. That is why many up market brands choose to communicate with Kompas, Tempo, Swa, Bisnis Indonesia etc.

    There is some selectivity involved. But when it comes to the blogosphere this principle seems to be abandoned for an Utopian egalitarian. When you let a hundred flowers bloom you’re likely to get a lot of mediocre flowers and only a few blossoms. There are some good blogs out there, and out of these there are few of them that cater to an audience that is interested in politics or politicians. But there are a lot of other blogs out there which don’t matter.

    To return to the press conference analogy: It’s like announcing an innovative supply chain solution and inviting all and sundry, including Gadis, the gossip magazines, Lampu Hijau and the Kaltim Tribune to come cover it.


  3. @Unspun: Thank you for your explanation on the long term probabilities which I also agree. Please be advised that I am not a fan of Prabowo and/or his late father in law. I am just curious because his campaign has been very intense, surely with very high costs. Besides, he has attracted people like Halida Hatta, Permadi, Pius i.e. who was reported kidnapped by his men in 1997/1998, and many others to join forces with him.
    @Hanny: You are right, but some of his statements were debatable, such as his denial of involvement in the 1998 uprising; his allegation that he knew who was the ‘intellectual actor’ of said tragedy, but refuse to mention because he has no evidence.


  4. Here we go. Yet another idiotic loud mouth Whitey who knows better than a nation’s own people- even the principle actors.
    How colonialism never dies- the illusion of racial supremacy merely swapped for the intellectual and moral supremacy.

    Multi- what the hell do you know about Indonesia aside from the Chinese paid-for drivel you glean from the Western-grovelling (and paid for) English-language media and vested-interest NGO’s?
    Oh- nothing. Like what’s between your fool ears as evident by your shoddy grasp of your own mother tongue.
    Despite syphilitic Westerners claims the what may be so happens not to be so. Yet again. Or should I remand the Western media of the magical WMD in Iraq and Giorgia being plucky innocent underdog against Russia?
    So shut your damn fool mouth and spare spilling shit on my shoes as well as your own.


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