Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Indonesia Seeks Blogger's Identity

Some debates simply refuse to go away. And those that keep recurring are obviously no close to being resolved.

The Indonesian government has announced that it is seeking the identity of a blogger who posted the controversial newspaper cartoon that purportedly insults Muslim Prophet Mohammad, and will detain him/her for defamation. Indonesia's Deparment of Communication and Information has formally requested for the blogger's identity from the blog host, Wordpress.

This, once again, raises the debate between respect for religion and freedom of expression. When the cartoon first came out in a Danish newspaper in 2005, it triggered a wave of protest actions in Islamic countries, including Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. The protests intensified after the cartoon was reprinted by several European newspapers, whose editors defended their move under freedom of the press. But some publishers, subsequently, restrained further reprints.

The question now is, will Wordpress give in to Indonesia's demand? If it does, it will not be the first blog platform to do so. In 2007, Google gave up the IP address of a blogger who had been sued for defamation in Israel. Three months ago, Google was also directed by a local court in India to provide information on a blogger who complained about a Mumbai-based company. In 2006, Microsoft admitted that it blocked a blog by a Chinese journalist, which was hosted by MSN Space, to conform to Chinese laws. In 2003, Yahoo was accused of providing information that led to the conviction of a Chinese writer who was accused of providing state secrets to external parties.

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have all defended their decisions, saying that they have to follow local laws and that they only provide information after a due process. Meanwhile, Wordpress appears to have made the first step to appease public opinion in Indonesia. It archived the offending blog, http://lapotuak.wordpress.com, for violating Wordpress' terms of service.

1 comment:

Megha said...

im agree bloogers must responsible to they post