Indonesia: Anti-Corruption Agency Gets Online Support

The power of social media was once again affirmed in Indonesia when internet users collectively expressed their support to corruption investigators who are being harassed by the police and some politicians.

Online support for the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) became an offline campaign as netizens organized protest actions and assemblies against a raid conducted by the police and to thwart a proposal in the Parliament to weaken the authority of the agency.

Many people accused the police of using its coercive power to stop the KPK from effectively conducting its probe on the corruption practices in the bureaucracy.

An activist holds up a poster in support of the work of the Indonesia Anti-corruption Commission in Surabaya. Photo by Robertus Pudyanto. Copyright Demotix (10/8/2012)

The hashtag #SaveKPK trended on twitter which demonstrated the overwhelming public opinion in favor of the mandate of the KPK to expose corruption in the government. Another popular hashtag is #dimanaSBY (Where is the President?) which probably forced the Indonesian leader to order the police to go easy on the KPK. Below are some twitter messages using the two dominant hashtags:

@dilakarinta Have you ever imagined an actual president who's intimidated by his country's police chief? Well, no need to imagine no more. #SaveKPK

@LarasaTita #SaveKPK Fight corruption, stop intimidation. Stay optimistic. Determine a better Indonesia for our children!

@munahusin1 Corruption is the root of all evil in this country .Fight Corruption! #SaveKPK

@rdungga Conversations about absence of SBY and people urging accountability Indonesian National Police is happening. #dimanaSBY this morning works.

@farahwardani It's his 2nd term. So basically he might as well just warm up his seat and enjoy the perks until 2014. Bet he thinks that way. #DimanaSBY

An Indonesian vendor displays her support for KPK. Photo from Facebook page of Save KPK

The rallies in support of KPK took place in many Indonesian cities. Projecting Indonesia notes the active participation of the middle class, including entertainment stars, in the protests:

…we may underline one thing: the middle class becomes more articulate and assertive in politics.

…they are part of the symbols of Indonesian middle class who now become active politically (even though not necessarily be part of political parties). At least, they have generated a wave of middle class who want to see the country free from corruption.

Hardjanto Soebdjantoro explains the two issues which sparked public outrage:

There are two crucial issues related to the position of KPK that have sparked concerns among public. The first being the lawmakers intention to revise law No 30/ 2002 on the KPK and the second is the police's attempt to arrest the KPK investigator. SAVE KPK

As of this writing, more than 18,000 Facebook users have ‘liked’ the Facebook page of the Save KPK.

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