“Say No to Megawati” and Freedom of Speech

7 Apr

One of my previous blog posts talked about this yearning of mine for positive things in the Internet, be they blog posts, forum shouts, status updates, or anything else. In it, I used an analogy to illustrate my stance on the right to say anything in the Internet, and why we should nevertheless be careful what to say. If you will bear with me for a while, I want to re-enact the example briefly here ( Again, please understand that this is merely an example and I do not have anything against any certain race or ethnicity whatsoever ) :

Let’s say that you happen to own a piece of property consisting of a home on a stretch of land in town. Now, you can do anything within the boundaries of your said property, – that goes without saying. But will it be advisable to you to erect a sign stating that “I Hate Blacks !” ? If you choose to do so, you might reap some very uncomfortable consequences because of it. So while it is maintained that it’s within your categorical rights to build anything in your piece of land, sometimes it may not be wise to do so. In this analogy, such signs will at best mean downright stupidity, – and at worst, blatant act of hate.

In my opinion, this is an easy example to comprehend. Indeed, I am willing to place a considerable amount of bet that most of us will not do such grievous things in our lives. So if we are able to see the folly of the act in our real lives, it means that similar act of foolishness are hard to be found in the Internet, – correct ? Wrong. Recently, the Indonesian Internet realm was made a little bit awry when someone started a Facebook group called “I Hate Megawati” “Say No to Megawati”. It more or less tried to be a community where people who hate this ex-president of Indonesia congregate together. Now let me pause here and state that it is my personal belief that there’s nothing wrong with the concept of Freedom of Speech or stating your opinion freely. I also am not a big fan of Megawati either.

Yet it fails to be a healthy tool to do just that. Instead, it became a willing vehicle where people harbor hatred freely by posting in the group wall. I am sad to mention that some of its members even do not know how to express their opinions in a civilized way, – and resorted to extravagant uses of vulgar languages. Privately, I want to believe that its founder did not mean the group to be out of control like that, but I still question the decision to start such a hard-to-control group like that, – when it clearly seemed that he/she was not prepared to moderate its contents. I just simply fail to understand why would someone do a thing like that.  Was it for fun ?  What a big shame…

Promptly, I then rejoiced when the group was blocked by Facebook because it was deemed as a violation to the User’s Conduct. I am sorry if I say this rather strongly, but I think it’s a sad, pathetic portrayal of Indonesian Internet users who cowardly hide behind the shield of Freedom of Speech when they in fact are engaging in the very act of hate. Come on, people ! Be as mature individuals as you claimed to be. Indonesia, – are we actually that low, – do we actually have a character as base as that ? I rest my case.

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8 Responses to ““Say No to Megawati” and Freedom of Speech”

  1. nadia febina April 8, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    i fully agree, there is a very obvious line between bringing freedom of speech and just being plain ethical. Somehow, not too many people grab the idea yet. An indonesian word for this kind of act: norak.
    😀

    Thanks for bringing this up.

  2. nadia febina April 8, 2009 at 12:38 am #

    i fully agree, there is a very obvious line between bringing freedom of speech and just being plain ethical. Somehow, not too many people grab the idea yet. An indonesian word for this kind of act: norak.
    😀

    Thanks for bringing this up.

  3. wicak April 8, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    sorry bro, i disagree with you on this. I really think saying yes or no to a person who aspires to be a leader of a country is completely different than being disrespectful.

    when a person becomes a symbol or a political figure or otherwise, you stop being a person and you become a “thing”.

    my analogy would be on the order of “say no to cigarettes” or “say no to gas guzzling SUVs” or “say no to PT Rokok Terus Ampe Mati”

    therefore, I respectfully disagree with you and put forth that saying no to a politician is within one’s rights as freedom of speech.

    :p (do smileys appear on your blog?)

  4. wicak April 8, 2009 at 1:18 am #

    sorry bro, i disagree with you on this. I really think saying yes or no to a person who aspires to be a leader of a country is completely different than being disrespectful.

    when a person becomes a symbol or a political figure or otherwise, you stop being a person and you become a “thing”.

    my analogy would be on the order of “say no to cigarettes” or “say no to gas guzzling SUVs” or “say no to PT Rokok Terus Ampe Mati”

    therefore, I respectfully disagree with you and put forth that saying no to a politician is within one’s rights as freedom of speech.

    :p (do smileys appear on your blog?)

  5. unquote April 8, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    Well said, Sir. Yet if you read carefully, you and me are not in any kind of disagreement at all. I fully support Freedom of Speech. What I was indicating is only that we all need to be adults and utilize our freedom in a sophisticated way, – NOT posting vulgar words on a group wall….

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  6. unquote April 8, 2009 at 1:32 am #

    Well said, Sir. Yet if you read carefully, you and me are not in any kind of disagreement at all. I fully support Freedom of Speech. What I was indicating is only that we all need to be adults and utilize our freedom in a sophisticated way, – NOT posting vulgar words on a group wall….

    Thanks for dropping by 🙂

  7. calvin April 8, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    definitely agreed with your post, I kinda sad to see the people in group were eventually attacking her personal integrity in very uncivillized way. I wasnt surprised when it was taken down, it could be considered act of defamation because the group was attacking her personally.

    let’s hope it wont happen I’m against unconstructive criticism, it’s source of endless loop of never-ending hate and debate.

  8. calvin April 8, 2009 at 8:39 pm #

    definitely agreed with your post, I kinda sad to see the people in group were eventually attacking her personal integrity in very uncivillized way. I wasnt surprised when it was taken down, it could be considered act of defamation because the group was attacking her personally.

    let’s hope it wont happen I’m against unconstructive criticism, it’s source of endless loop of never-ending hate and debate.

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