Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Detik_Slemania: Freedom fighter or Law Breaker?

this article is published in Southeast Asia Media

Even in the cyberspace the old maxim, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is still alive and well. What is terrorist? what is freedom fighter? and what is Law Breaker? what is hero? The ambiguity in the definition brings indistinctness in action. Today's terrorist can be tomorrow's hero. In cyber-community, an email bomb may be considered hactivism by some and cyber-terrorism by others. One's cyber-fraud doer may be considered others' global hero - like the case of DVD-Jon, (Jon Lech Johansen) a hacker who wrote and distributed a free program that unlocked copy-protected DVDs.

Today... or yesterday in Indonesian time, one newly born website Detik @id.or.id was temporarily closed. This 'temporary' (but could be eternal) closure, according to the owner of this website, was due to the 'suggestion' of APJII (The Indonesian Association of Internet Service Providers) and 'Internet community'. Giving Detik.com nightmares, the website that was initiated by Ogi Sigit P and Sayid M, two youngsters from Sleman, Yogyakarta - Indonesia, basically was showing the 'grab' version of the Indonesian most popular news portal, Detik.com. Without changing any materials but cleaning the newspage from all advertisements, Sigit and Sayid's website was indeed a copy of Detik.com. However, without any blinking colorful advertisement boxes, Detik @id.or.id offered a much nicer look. Using grab-technology which is commonly used by syndication-bloggers these days, this Detik_Slemania (let's name it this way!) website was trying to show how convinient it was to be in an advertisement-free domain. With very simple design, clean from any 'accessories' and 'unnecessary elements', the site provided a very nice environment to read news. Also for Net-users in Indonesia, whom mostly access from not-so-high speed Net connections, reading Detik.com from Detik_Slemania was much faster rather than from the original site.

This unusual site brings readers closer to the realization how important to have a moment in 'space'.... without any intrusion from 'corporate economy'. Such 'space' is rare... even in the so called 'free space' like cyberspace. Indeed, our cyberspace now is fully dominated by flashy-poppy advertisements....

The Detik_Slemania could be closed forever tomorrow. It perhaps will become a news website with the shortest life in cyberspace. Detik.com may sue Ogi Sigit P and Sayid M or at least ask them to apologize publicly and some may accuse these youngsters of being irresponsible, criminal, or law-breakers (like some comments in Detik Slemania already pointed out). These two Slemanias had, perhaps inadvertently, created resistance identity which could be seen as being destructive and as a misinterpretation of the freedom of the internet through irresponsible action. Or, their act might be seen just as the action of 'wanna-be-fame'.

Yet, pause could also be given to think about such episodes in terms of how commodity relations occupy the Internet and what kind of identity challenges and limits they generate. Certainly not heroic in any way, such acts are not isolated from domination and perhaps neo-colonization of space by the corporate world and the feelings of being marginalized. It can also be a product of rising expectations, as the Internet glorifies commodities and the identities of personal worth that goes with advertisements for them while keeping them economically out of reach.....

Freedom fighter or law breaker? You can decide......

relevant link: http://tempo.co.id/hg/ekbis/2004/01/07/brk,20040107-50,id.html
[it is not inline with my opinion, though..]

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