Box 11 – The Internet and mobilisation of direct action
Among the strategic uses for the internet that Indonesian CSOs carry out is mobilising direct action. A salient example of this is the campaign against violation of human rights, forced disappearances, repression towards labourers and trade unions and campaigns for promoting gender equality, women’s rights, environment sustainability amongst others. The targets are typically government, companies and military bodies. In general, the campaign is performed by submitting an online protest on the web or circulating the issues through various mailing lists asking for support to pressurise government, parliament, military and/or companies to reconsider their actions.
A clear example of this is when CSOs and women’s groups in Jakarta, using the Internet, recently mobilised a campaign against the Indonesian Parliament’s ratification of the ‘Anti Pornography and Porno-action’ Bill (RUU Anti Pornografi dan Pornoaksi), which would heavily restrict pornography in Indonesia. This bill was feared to be the first step towards the implementation of Islamic Sharia law in the country. For most Indonesian CSOs, whose ideology is secular and which make up the biggest part of Indonesian pro-democracy and pro-pluralism social movement, the bill was considered to be fundamentally flawed and undermining women’s and indigenous rights.One reflection made in the Jakarta workshop recalled,
We believe the Interent has the capacity to support actions materially. Look at the example when we dealt with the RUU-APP [(Pornography Bill)]. We enacted the network of Komnas Perempuan [(National Commission for Women’s Rights)] and used mailing list as our main communication media, even to map who were actually our allies in this issue and who were the enemies, before we finally organised the action. And we succeeded! Terrific! We used the Internet maximally! (Group reflection, Jakarta workshop, 2/03/2006).
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Source: Fieldwork, based on the collective reflection of Jakarta workshop (2/3/2006)
(PhD Thesis, Nugroho, 2007:246 – Box 7.1.)