Monday, July 06, 2009

Say It Wasn't Me!

When presidential hopeful, Jusuf Kalla, shot at Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, another presidential hopeful, in the final round of presidential debate organized by the Election Commission on the single round presidential elections campaign, SBY simply answered that the advertisement is not his.

SBY said, “Those are not mine and they do not belong to my official campaign camp.”

Whose advertisement? Who provide the fund for the campaign?

Danny JA, the director of Lingkaran Survei Indonesia, while denying that the single round presidential election campaign advertisement by his polling institution is not illegal, gave no clarification on the source of fund for the advertisement that stemmed from LSI’s latest opinion poll.

My question is where is the transparency?

I remember in the recently concluded elections in the world’s biggest democracy, India, the Congress Party spent thousands of Indian Rupee (approximately Rs. 400,000) just to buy the rights of the song Jai Ho (means Let there be victory or simply Victory) from Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire and used it as the Party’s campaign song. The spirit of the movie and the message of the song had certainly played positive effect to the Indian Congress Party thus allowing it to reap the biggest electoral victory long after their domination in Indian politics ended in the late 80s and early 90s. Two Gandhis, one Singh and a spirited Hindi song helped the Congress Party won the elections.

Here, we can clearly see that the principle of transparency has been highly placed in Indian political landscape. In that way, we have to take our hats off and asked ourselves, can we do that? Can our neetas (Hindi for politicians) do the same thing as the Congress Party did in India?

Back in Indonesia, ever since the campaign period for presidential election was started earlier last month, there has been non-stop airing of an altered version of the popular jingle of one of Indofood’s product, Indomie, on the radio and on various TV stations. It made me question myself, have the copyright of the jingle been bought by the campaign team of SBY – Boediono? Or has the Indofood freely given the copyright of the jingle and donated it to the campaign team of SBY – Boediono and let them alter the jingle to suit the campaign purpose?

If it did buy the copyright of the jingle, how much did they pay? And if it was given or donated for free to the campaign team of SBY – Boediono, what will Indofood get if SBY – Boediono win elections? Should it be reported to the Election Commission as a donation from a corporation? How much does it amount to?

And many other questions that need clarifications and answers.

Assuming that the jingle was deliberately altered by SBY – Boediono’s campaign team without the consent of Indofood to suit the campaign purpose, it definitely an obstruction of one’s rights. It is amount to the practice of piracy, a problem that Indonesia continues to face. But if it was altered with the consent of Indofood, there should be explanation to the public and to the Election Commission about the matter, about the amount of money donated by Indofood to SBY – Boediono’s campaign team.

Similarly, if Danny JA with his single round presidential election campaign advertisement continues to be aired and spread nation wide, he must clarify the source of fund for his ad and report it to the Election Commission.

Because, even though he claimed that the ad is for the sake of political education and has nothing to do with any presidential candidate, but with the picture of SBY – Boediono in the advertisement, we do not need to ask an expert about who is behind the campaign advertisement.

To conclude, democracy is expensive and needs a lot of efforts to substantially establish it in Indonesia. Similarly, building transparency, honesty and integrity as part of a working, substantial democracy should start from within our selves, if not, who else will start?

As such, whoever wins in the July 8 elections, transparency must be established and practiced, between us.