Unspun’s reminded of the Gandhi witticism: “Those who engage in mudslinging often lose ground” in the unfolding case between Twitterati Benny Handoko (@benhan) and Golkar politician Misbahkun (@misbakhun). For the current development of the case see here.
As things stand, Benny is now under detention for allegedly slandering Misbahkun over the Bank Century case, after the latter complained to the police. The series of twits that has led to this serious turn of events is captured in Jackson Purba’s Chirpstory feed “TwitWar Misbakhun Vs Benhan” by @misbakhun N @benhan.
As the Chirpstory feed clearly shows @benhan fired the first salvo by accusing @misbahkun. A Twitwar ensured where @misbahkun duked it out with @benhan, Twitblow for Twitblow. The virtual slugfest, after 100 tweets ended after @misbahkun warned @benhan to retract his statement and apologize or he would file legal charges.
Now it appears that @misbahkun has followed up on that threat and is getting the Indonesian Twitterverse riled up because of his action.
It is an interesting incident as the central issue here is whether you have a right to sue (or in the case of Indonesia, file a police report against) someone for slander after you’ve duked it out with them on Twitter.
True, the Internet and Twitter does not, and should not, exonerate anyone from slandering another person. Twitter, however, allows you to talk back and have your say to whomever is interested in what you have to say. So several interesting questions pop to mind here:
- Would Misbahkun have been morally justified to take legal action against Benny if he did not use his Twitter account to engage in a Twitwar with Benny. Would it have been Ok if he merely used his Twitter account (20,343 followers) to say that Benny was incorrect and that if he persisted he would take legal action, and left it at that?
- Did Misbahkun waive his moral right to legal action after engaging in a Twitwar? Would going to the law after arguably losing a fight with Benhan (a Twitter heavyweight at 49,799 followers) make him look like a sore loser?
- Finally here’s a question for social media and issues management typed: There is a lot of noise in the Indonesian Twitterverse. Would Misbahkun be better off had he ignored @Benhan’s tweets and let it pass rather than wage a Twitwar and file a legal action? Would such a course of action – benign neglect – have hurt his reputation? (not say he has a great one but would such an action lower his reputation from what it was before the Twitwar?)
Looks like its time for a vox populi on the issue: