Blocking Youtube & Myspace

Apr 9th, 2008, in News, by

The government and ISP's blocking of video sharing and social sites, and the reasons behind it.

The government, through the Information ministry, has required Internet Service Providers to block the following websites, where the anti-Islam short film Fitna can be viewed:

  • Youtube.com
  • Myspace.com
  • Liveleak.com
  • Rapidshare.com
  • Multiply.com
  • Video.Google.com
  • Themoviefitna.com

The minister Muhammad Nuh wrote to ISP's last week asking them to block access to the sites on the grounds that Fitna could afp

"disturb religious and civil harmony at a global level."

The parliament recently passed a law on internet blocking, although apparently it has not been signed by the president yet. jakartass

Muhammad Nuh met with a number of prominent Indonesian bloggers on 7th April such as Romi Satria Wahono and asked for advice, apparently it seems, on the best way to go about blocking the said sites.

One of the bloggers who attended the meeting, Avianto, blamed the government's attitude on Indonesian low self-esteem and over-sensitivity:

Indonesian government told YouTube to take down a movie......YouTube didn't respond because well, it's YouTube, all of the content is user generated. But instead of following the spirit of the web by flagging the movie as negative or offensive, the government grumpily chose to block the entire YouTube. Yeah, I said grumpily because the government thought that YouTube didn't respect Indonesian government request. So low self-esteem. So low that the government didn't have guts to create a creative way to counter the movie on the content level. So low that instead of encouraging its own people to create a counter movie, the government chose to close down the infrastructure. It's pathetic, really.

That action was also very New Orderly. In the New Order era, if the government did not like one article then the government would ban the newspaper that have the article. The history repeated itself. Welcome to the New Order 2.0.

One of the officials from the Information ministry complained that Indonesians were so often subject to racism and xenophobia in the international community. Avianto spoke up

As if Indonesian were not xenophobic and racist toward others? I always said this and people kept getting angry with my statement: "Indonesians are one of the most xenophobic and racist people in the world". Do you think it's not true?

Even worse, Indonesians are just not racist, Indonesian are tribalist.

Putting the blame to the international world for being xenophobic and racist against us was like a childish act. We are racist, we are xenophobic, we are tribalist.

Read the entirety of Avianto's article: Commanding not Governing.


41 Comments on “Blocking Youtube & Myspace”

  1. avatar Rob says:

    The blocking of whole sites is extreme, excessive, and overkill!

    It does not evidence rationality and presupposes that anyone who views Wilders’ film will not be able to watch it or judge it for what it is!

    Whether Indonesians are racist is a different topic from the blocking of Internet sites and a film by a Dutch Parliamentarian. And I will leave the comments on whether Indonesians are racist to others. With regards to the blocking tactics of the government see my first point…

    This may well be the first step on a very slippery slope that may lead the government to thinking that this how it can deal with any type or kind of dissent. If this is the method adopted then Indonesians and those resident might be subject to data, information, and press restrictions that are more repressive than those experienced under the New Order Regime of Soeharto!

    Bloggers beware because the letter from the Minister to ISPs and others identified that bloggers involved in the dissemination of the film are also to be blocked…

    Happy hunting for those of you still looking for a copy of the film!

  2. avatar Pena Budaya says:

    It is almost election, Muhammad Nuh would like to be remember as backward information minister whom Indonesians have ever had after Harmoko.

  3. avatar Lairedion says:

    Indonesia, such a beautiful country but so badly managed by incredibly stupid people. 🙁

  4. avatar Sylvester says:

    That’s right. Indonesians are racist, tribalist. Javanese think they are the best. Moslem think they are superior. Acehnese hate Javanese. Hindu Balinese dislike Javanese. Dayak slaughtered Madurese. Chinese are discriminated. Arab bigots are worshipped. Moslem and Christian killed each other in Sulawesi and Maluku. That’s why the country never be united.

  5. avatar Mach Jabber says:

    The definition of ‘free speech’ for a terrifyingly many Indonesians would be ‘the concept that allows liberty to every single writer, every single poet, and every single journalist to write and say whatever the hell they wish so long as it doesn’t rub me the wrong way’.

    Yes, free speech, unless proven to be misinformative and/or hostile to the limits of privacy, permits criticisms to your religion (or your lack of), my religion (or my lack of), or just about anyone’s religion (or his/her lack of). What makes people think it must heed to their rantings? I tire of people who insulted countries that carry out free speech commitedly as being ‘kebablasan‘.

    The muslim majority, which includes most of people that are dearest to me, (no, I am criticizing the people here, so don’t bother with the religious apologetics) seemed to me to be so innocently arrogant in this case. If you take your time to visit bookstores like Gramedia, you’ll spot books that contain racist, xenophibic, tribalist, all-out attacks against Christianity, the Jews, the United States, or just ‘barat‘; complete with everyone’s favorite conspiracy theories involving Freemasonry, Kabbalism, yadda yadda. If you take your time to do some blogwalkings chances are you’d spot some (some, people, some) muslims posting the alleged proofs of their religion’s truth so casually while offending Christians and/or atheists along the way; an act that’s seldom done with some kind of hesitation to neighboring faiths (it does not work the other way about, of course – even friendly Christian writings can receive unwelcomed cocky proselytisings). Yet these people seldom wants to pay. Free speech gives you the right to do that indeed, but the price is that you’d respect others to do the same.

    I don’t think such special treatment (blocking and all) would be applied to attacks on other religions either. We saw little or no fuss concerning Brian Flemming’s The God Who Wasn’t There a while ago.

    Quite frankly, the government’s stance disappointed me.

  6. avatar T Belfield says:

    I just logged on to YouTube from my laptop at my family’s house near Depok. Everything worked fine but maybe the blocking is not complete yet. Or maybe orders are issued and ignored (I hope). I also just read the the piece written in Avianto’s journal. Great writing and a relief that someone here can speak truth to power.

  7. avatar janma says:

    Free speech in Indonesia reminds me of that saying “you can choose any color you like, as long as it’s black.”

  8. avatar janma says:

    They’ve blocked it, I just tried to go on those sites and can’t. That’s pretty depressing. What’s going on??!!! I feel like I live in a communist country.

  9. avatar Rob says:

    Janma…

    One has to have hope that Indonesia works out this free speech thing one day in a way that recognizes differences of opinions and differences in interpretation…

    Thomas…

    Apparently it depends on your ISP as not all ISPs have blocked sites, or at least this is how it has been described to me. Some ISPs seem to think that the Ministerial Letter affords them some time and discretion to decide how they want to block the film…Also some ISPs have opted for a total block and others have opted for filtering or words associated with Fitna…

  10. avatar diego says:

    That was an order from SBY (the current president of Indonesia). Now it’s even more clear the quality (or lack of) of that fat singing-clown. I never liked him from the first time I saw his face years ago in the media. He looks like a fat fag to me, cry-baby.

  11. avatar GJ says:

    I think if you put to much effort into supressing something you disagree with then you actually add more validity to it in the long run. The vast majority of people will see rubbish for what it is and naturally avoid it. Therefore the problem fades away quickly. These acts just give it a profile and add to its promotion.
    BTW….. Shooting the messenger has never worked before, why do they think it will now.

  12. avatar Rob says:

    Diego…

    Don’t hold back man! Let ‘er rip at the Singing Prez!

    Fag / faggot is a meatball where my old man comes from in Wales, so I guess SBY does look a little meaty and perhaps might in fact be called a meatball 🙂

    GJ…

    Couldn’t agree more! Rubbish is rubbish!

  13. avatar Koko says:

    It’s the land of lions commanded by a bunch of stupid lambs..
    It’s only a week apparently, and i hope a week is more than enough time to realize that it’s overkill totally..

  14. avatar djoko says:

    But instead of following the spirit of the web by flagging the movie as negative or offensive, the government grumpily chose to block the entire YouTube.

    Obviously the block of at least a few of the sites has to do with the hoo-hah over Fitna. But as this person points out, if you find something offensive about the movie, flag it and move on. It’s really that simple, and you’d think that the information and communications ministry in particular surely to god must have someone who understands that.

    @Janma

    Its funny isnt it. For the rife anti-communism in Indonesia, the government sure does act like a totalitarian communist government at times doesnt it.

  15. avatar Murphy says:

    I think this is more of making political statement than real effort to block the websites.

    I know that Youtube has the facility to block a particular country’s access to some of its movies. Some music videoclips, for example, can’t be viewed from South East Asia’s IP addresses. With calm negotiation, the government can get Youtube to do that instead of blocking the entire website. That, if the government really wants to block the website. But I believe that’s not what they wanted to achieve. They just wanted to make a political statement, loud enough for the domestic consumption. It’s 12 months countdown to general election; if you missed that news.

    The proxy blockage done by the ISP usually is very easy to bypass. Those who complained that they can not view their favourite website because of this “blockage” should find the nearest 12-years old to show them how.

  16. avatar Pena Budaya says:

    @ Murphy,

    It is indeed very easy to bypass. Do you think moving the servers or ISP companies to S’pore or Malaysia will be the result of this laws? Indonesia has turned to stone aged era nowadays, why bother to invest there.

    And yes, I also smell a hidden campaign for election in this policy as well. So pathetic.

    @Janma,

    I received an e-mail on how to bypass the blocking. I think this e-mail will be mushrooming soon.

  17. avatar Lairedion says:

    To anyone interested. The same thing happened in Pakistan. Read this link carefully.

    YouTube Banned in Pakistan

  18. […] So.. it really happened. […]

  19. avatar Mach Jabber says:

    Murphy,

    His reign is about to end, so Mr. President thinks that he must leave some good impression, perhaps?

    Blocking YouTube would attain him notoriety amongst netizens, but there aren’t that many netizens in Indonesia. Besides, chances are plenty pissed-off netizens won’t do elections. Meanwhile, commoners (in a “not a netizen” sense) would see him as heroic (“standing up against the Goliath of the west”, like how they worship that creepy Iranian prez), tribalists-xenophobes as we are.

    Not to block it, however, would leave the netizens indifferent. The public may not be pleased, on the other hand.

    It’s better to please the majority, desho? It’s election anyways. {/sarcasm}

  20. avatar dewaratugedeanom says:

    “disturb religious and civil harmony at a global level.”

    They are afraid. What better proof is there for the validity of Geert Wilders’ arguments.

  21. avatar Murphy says:

    @ Mach Jabber

    Exactly. Can’t say it better.

    @Pena Budaya

    Singapore and Malaysia are not exactly the poster boys of free speech either and still they are the darlings of foreign investor. Investors don’t care about democracy. All they need is political stability. If you ban free speech you may actually get more investors due to the false image of stability it created. That’s what Suharto did.

  22. avatar David says:

    They’ve stopped requiring ISP’s to block the sites mentioned above. Apparently they now want to try to block just Fitna.

  23. avatar Mach Jabber says:

    Ah. Congrats for the government for retaining some amount of sanity.

  24. avatar M.F says:

    What happen with the press in Indonesia? Why no words from them? This is not about pro or anti Fitna movie, but this is about the freedom of press. Wake up, people!

  25. avatar Ganz says:

    Damn that racist Geert Wilders!
    Damn DEPKOMINFO –> antek ORBA!

    Just give me my youtube back!! 🙁

  26. avatar Deng Xiao Phing says:

    Indonesia … why not the gov’t blocked the muslim radical youths who run ‘amok’ during Easter days celebration ? vandalize churces are okay … but insulting Nabi Muh by just a one Dutch person is triggering contra productive reaction … huh where is the objectivity of the Indonesian by and large ?

    m u n a f i k

  27. […] sich anzubahnen, daß die Regierung ihre Anordnung an ISPs dementsprechend abändern wird, daß nur noch der Zugang zum Film gesperrt werden solle, nicht die gesamte Website. Zum Thema. Zudem wird in den Kommentaren auf einen ähnlichen Fall in […]

  28. avatar Kang Kabayan says:

    why not the gov’t blocked the muslim radical youths who run ‘amok’ during Easter days celebration ?

    Beacuse Indonesia is the Muslim country. The infidels better be thrown away from this nation only if we want to see Indonesia get its real independence from the voracious foreigner.

    Anyway, this Dutch man should be taught to compliment, because if only we had not let his greedy ancestor plundered our land, then he was only a pauper preying upon rat in the gutter.

  29. avatar parvita says:

    First, people can still get the movie from peer-to-peer facilities like eMule.

    Second, I think this is all about dineros. Everything in Indonesia is about money. It’s not about ‘Fitna’ only, I think somebody is trying to get easy money…

  30. avatar Jakartass says:

    As I commented on Avianto’s post, I don’t think SBY is necessarily the bête noire folk think he is. Sure, he told the ‘Minister of Communication and Informatics’ to block access to the film Fitna, but who advised SBY that you need to block whole sites? In fact, who didn’t tell SBY that filtering out the word could be effective? t

    Every leader needs his/her advisers and in the case of ‘backward’ Indonesia, lacking modern telecommunications and a prime candidate for those cheapo school laptops, there are few IT developers. There may well be loads of graduates inputting data, but in a country whose ATMs are not always compatible with companies with online bill payments, e.g. you can’t pay indosat thru’ Bank Permata’s ATMs, where are the IT specialists who are interested in the applications rather than the technical specifications?

    Roy Suryo is an incompetent at everything except promoting himself. He has come under fire from umpteen Indonesian bloggers, from Unspun on a regular basis, and from me two years ago when he (over) charged SBY $10,000 to set up the presidential website.

    RS presumably still has the President’s ear because it is he, rather than the Minister of Communication and Information, who has ‘attacked’ bloggers and hackers and betrayed his ignorance in not being able to differentiate between the two. That he is only a self-styled ‘expert’ and regularly mocked by those unlucky enough to have to watch him on local TV, leads me to think that it is time he is shown up as he sees himself – The Moraliser.

    As such, he can be attacked for not having a religious or political caucus backing him, but only self-righteous fools who set up such organisations as the National Action Plan on Anti-Pornography Families (see Jkt. Post today.)

    Perhaps the backlash has already started, if Patung’s comment above is true.

    Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862) said that “Men have become the tools of their tools.”
    Jakartass (19?? – 2???) says that “Roy Suryo has become a tool.”

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