Bloggers and internet publishing in Indonesia gained new legitimacy Saturday when Communications and Information Minister Muhammad Nuh declared Oct. 27 National Bloggers Day.
The announcement was made at Pesta Blogger (blogger party) 2007, Indonesia's first large meeting of bloggers, which around 500 people attended.
"I can see today the Indonesian blogger community is developing the use of IT facilities and filling information gaps in the country with blogging," the former rector of East Java's November 10 Institute of Technology said.
He said the gathering and blogging were both "revolutionary" and deserved support.
"Blogs can be educational, empowering and enlightening. That's why I can guarantee you curbing blogs will never happen in this country," said Nuh.
"I also notice most of the bloggers are young, which is good. As the proverb says, 'The future of a country is in hands of the young generation'. Wimar (Witoelar) is the only old one here," he kiddingly said, to laughter from the audience.
Having handled many talk shows, Wimar Witoelar was the moderator at a discussion at the gathering, which was initiated by public relations agency Maverick and driven by a team of bloggers.
Speaking at the discussion were Nuh, committee chairman Enda Nasution, Asia Blogging Network chief executive Budi Putra and Adrianto Gani of www.wikimu.com.
Budi, a former Tempo journalist and now full-time blogger, highlighted the importance of blog contents.
"No one will visit and revisit your blog no matter how cool your blog design is unless you have something substantial to offer," he said.
Well-developed content, Budi said, would automatically attract more visitors and might create business opportunities with advertisers as media for advertisement "is getting narrow".
The gathering drew not only Jakartan bloggers, but also an Indonesian living in neighboring Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur and many others from West Sumatra's Padang, West Java's Bandung, Central Java's Semarang, Yogyakarta, South Sulawesi's Makassar and Central Sulawesi's Poso.
There are 150,000 bloggers in the country.
A blogger and correspondent for The Jakarta Post in Poso, Ruslan Sangadji, said he had traveled to Jakarta with the help of friends.
"I spent Rp 1.28 million (US$140) using the money I collected from my friends. And now I don't have more money to go home," he said, to laughter.
"I eagerly came to learn how to build blogs for the Palu (Central Sulawesi) community."
Violinist Maylaffayza, who writes for 11 blogs, was also among the participants.
"Please do blog because blogging is all about reaching out to people, making friends from all around the world, creating personal relationships and can be very educational," she said.
Original article from: thejakartapost.com