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Pesta Blogger Party 2007: Jakarta, West Java

A popular ustadz (Islamic preacher) got angry and threatened via email to report a blogger in Yogyakarta to police for defaming Islamic preachers. The blogger promptly retracted his article titled Ustadz Komersial (commercial preacher). Dozens of bloggers wrote in, mostly deploring the arrogance of the ustadz.

“This would never happen in the traditional media. The opinions expressed in blogs are often a lot more courageous,” Wicak said.

SARA, the Indonesian acronym for ethnicity, religion, race and minority groups, was a banned topic during the Soeharto era. Even after the fall of the president in 1998, the mass media tried to avoid “sensitive issues”.

SARA is one of the many hot topics among the 150,000 Indonesian bloggers. Other favorites are management, relationships and health.

Some 200 of the most popular bloggers from across the country will meet in Jakarta on Oct. 27 at an event called Pesta Blogger 2007 (Blogger Party 2007).

“It’s the first national meeting among noted bloggers in Indonesia. Through blogs, everybody can put their two cents in,” Enda
Nasution, the chairman of the blogger meeting and the manager of enda.goblogmedia.com, said Thursday.

Enda said during the gathering, which is themed New Voice of Indonesia“, bloggers would discuss ways of creating a positive blogging atmosphere in Indonesia.

Some famous bloggers, such as political commentator Wimar Witoelar and company executive Nukman Luthfie, will attend the meet, which is scheduled to take place at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Besides the 200 bloggers, other bloggers can still participate in the event by buying a ticket for Rp 200,000.encourage other bloggers from across the country to go to the meeting,” Enda said.

Some expatriates who have blogs have also confirmed they will be attending.

Malaysian Ong Hock Chuan who is an advisor at Maverick public relations company, said Indonesian blogs were different to blogs in other countries, such as Singapore, Malaysia or Cambodia.

“Blogs in other countries focus more on the news, while Indonesian blogs are more viewpoints,” Ong, who runs theunspunblog.com, said.

During the gathering, prizes will be awarded for the best blogs on themes like sales and marketing, women’s issues, technology and celebrity gossip.

Wimar, who runs www.perspektif.net, said traditional media were feeling under threat from Web sites and blogs.

“It’s a threat and a competitor to bad traditional media. Now, I do not subscribe to any “hardcopy” media. It’s difficult to store he said.

Consumer-generated media is attractive to readers because it often breaks celebrity and political news first. The success story of OhmyNews of South Korean with its motto citizen is a reporter” has become an exemplary model of how internet media can compete with traditional media.

There is ongoing discussion of whether a blog ethics committee is necessary to create standards.

“But still, bloggers should write inappropriate way’. We should avoid defaming people,” Budi Putra, who runs gadget blog budiputra.com, said.

To anticipate legal problems, Budi suggested bloggers participating in Pesta Blogger 2007 discuss whether they need to establish a legal aid institute similar to media associations.

A. Junaidi