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Cablegate: Indonesia and the Internet: Democracy, Progress And

VZCZCXYZ0001
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJA #0065 0151047
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 151047Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4298

UNCLAS JAKARTA 000065

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EAP, EAP/MTS, EAP/MLS, EAP/RSP, EAP/PD, USAID
DEPARTMENT FOR R/PPR MARK DAVIDSON, S/P JARED COHEN
USAID FOR DEPUTY ASSISTANT ADMINISTRATOR ASIA MARGOT ELLIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM SOCI ID KMCA MCC KPAO
SUBJECT: INDONESIA AND THE INTERNET: DEMOCRACY, PROGRESS AND
POSSIBILITIES

REF: A) 09 JAKARTA 1951 B) 09 JAKARTA 1103

1. SUMMARY: Indonesia is a unique example of how free and open new
media and technology can support democracy and economic growth, a
theme we understand Secretary Clinton plans to address at the
Newseum on January 21. Indonesian civil society is already
harnessing social networking media to influence government actions
and policy. Post is drawing on cutting-edge technology to increase
the effectiveness of programming in strategic areas. There are
positive indications that the regulations governing the fast-growing
telcom sector may be slated for reform, paving the way for greater
U.S. involvement. In this environment, opportunities abound for the
U.S. to partner with Indonesia to develop and leverage the nation's
free and active internet community and technology infrastructure.
END SUMMARY.

HOW CIVIL SOCIETY USES NEW MEDIA
--------------------------------

2. Although only 10% of Indonesians have internet access, the web is
fast becoming an invaluable tool for Indonesian civil society. The
internet community has remained vibrant, despite a 2008 law
mandating up to six years in prison for online defamation.
Indonesia has the second-fastest growing group of Facebook users in
the world, and the social networking site has become a key forum for
political expression. In recent months, more than one million
Indonesians used Facebook to protest the arrest of two widely
respected members of the Corruption Eradication Commission on what
were widely regarded as trumped up charges, forcing the government
to take action (ref A). Hundreds of thousands of Facebook users
rallied in defense of Prita Mulyasari, an Indonesian housewife
jailed for complaining through e-mail about poor medical service
(ref B). The case sparked an immense outpouring of public support
for the accused and open criticism of the defamation law, which is
now slated for reexamination by the Indonesian legislature.

WHAT EMBASSY JAKARTA IS DOING WITH THE WEB AND TECHNOLOGY
--------------------------------------------- -

3. Post is already leveraging new media and technology to increase
program effectiveness. USAID's Senada program is just one example
of how technology can enhance the competitiveness of Indonesian
enterprises and agribusinesses. Internet centers in rural areas
enable farmers to market their products using the internet and keep
their operations supplied more efficiently. There is enormous
potential for collaboration with the private sector as well.
Another USAID initiative is "IMulai", a public-private partnership
with Microsoft Indonesia designed to stimulate innovation. Those
ideas will in turn contribute to the development of Indonesia's
light manufacturing industries. Post has joined forces with a
number of private-sector IT firms to form an "ICT Task Force", which
is examining ways to put cutting-edge U.S. technology in Indonesian
classrooms.

4. Technology has also proved an effective platform for democracy
and governance initiatives. USAID's electronic Community
Information Service (e-CIS for short) is an internet and SMS-based
service by which citizens can directly convey concerns, complaints
and suggestions to the local government via SMS or by posting on the
local government's website. The information is then automatically
forwarded to the relevant office for a response within 48 hours.
E-CIS was nominated for this year's Indonesian Information and
Communication Technology Awards for Software Innovations.

5. The new media environment in Indonesia provides a multitude of
opportunities for public diplomacy and for engagement with new and
younger audiences. The Mission has launched a YouTube channel and a
Facebook page with promising results. Embassy Jakarta has 22,415
active Facebook fans and more than 3,000 viewers on YouTube. Also,
for the past two years, the Mission has been lead sponsor of "Pesta
Blogger," an annual gathering of Indonesian bloggers. Post has also
recently sponsored blogshops which drew hundreds of young attendees
across ten cities.

6. Despite the low level of internet penetration, Indonesia boasts
more than one million PDAs and iPhones, and the highest rate of
growth in the world for the Blackberry handheld. Existing
regulations require domestic telecommunications operators to source
a significant percentage of capital and operating expenditures
domestically, discouraging foreign investment and hindering
long-term development of the sector. However, in addition to
possible remedy through the WTO, there is well-placed support for
reform within the GOI. The time is right to explore additional
possibilities with Indonesia's increasingly web-savvy population and
growing technology sector.

HUME

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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