Melon Farmers Original Version

Porn Censorship in Indonesia

A front for the implementation of shariah

29th March

Updated: Miserable Bigwigs...

Indonesia assembles a group of senior nutters, censors and the politically correct to battle against porn

  Chief Religious Censor

The Indonesian government has formed an anti-porn task force to monitor and enforce an anti pornography 2008 law that prohibits just about anything vaguely sexy.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who formed the group under a presidential regulation signed on March 2, created the Pornography Prevention and Management Task Force to more effectively coordinate state bodies.

The government stated on its website:

The task force will work under the President and be responsible to the President, and will serve as a coordinating institution, which will coordinate efforts to curb and handle pornography.

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali will serve as executive chairman of the task force and Agung Laksono, coordinating minister for people's welfare, will act as the organization's chair. Other members include State Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Gumelar, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin and Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh.

Update: As expected, extreme repressive ideas result from putting a nutter in charge of defining pornography

29th March 2012. From

The government's controversial anti-pornography task force, headed by Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Al, is now working on measures to repress anything sexy in Indonesia. A discussion that includes coming up with a massively broad definition of pornography, which could potentially equate to dictating how women dress.

We think that there should be general criteria [for women's clothing]. For example, women's skirts should go past their knees, Suryadharma said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The task force, he said, is in the process of gathering suggestions from the public about what activities should be classified as pornographic and how best to repress them.

Masruchah, the deputy head of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), immediately slammed the proposed legislation, calling it a violation of women's rights.

Offsite Article: Minister's bid to ban miniskirts using anti-pornography law angers Indonesian women

23rd April 2012. See  article from

One opposition politician, Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, told the Jakarta Post that the government should be focusing on more important issues. The way women wear their skirts, below or above the knees, will not impact others, she said.

One of the country's main women's groups, the National Commission on Violence Against Women, has denounced the proposed ban as absurd and repressive.

One of the commissioners, Nurherwati, said it bolstered the still common perception in Indonesia that rape victims were to blame for their ordeal.

The pornography law, she said, was supposed to protect women, but it actually criminalises them . Ms Nurherwati gave the example of a striptease dancer in Bandung, West Java, who was prosecuted under the law, although she was a trafficking victim. When women reported sexual assaults, she said, the first thing police ask is, 'What did you do to get raped?'

...Read the full article


6th May

Update: Public Virtue and Private Vice...

Making sex videos for personal use is still legal in Indonesia

In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional Court threw out a request for a judicial review of the 2008 Anti-Pornography Law, which sought an amendment to criminalize the filming of sex videos for private use.

Chief Justice Mahfud M.D., in rejecting the request for a review filed by nutter lawyer Farhat Abbas, said: The plaintiffs' argument does not have a legal basis.

Article 4 of the law bans people from producing pornographic material, while Article 6 prohibits people from storing or broadcasting it. However, Farhat's camp has said supplementary explanations of the law exclude materials for personal use and interest.

If pornography is for 'personal use,' the actor might be seen as a victim [when material is distributed without consent], when in fact pornography exists because of the actors in the first place, Muhammad Burhanuddin, one of Farhat's lawyers, had argued.

However, Justice Ahmad Fadlil Sumadi said that while the court agreed with the plaintiffs that pornography violated norms of decency if made public, the point here was that a homemade video for private use was not meant to be made public.

Farhat sought the judicial review in the wake of the celebrity sex video scandal involving Nazril Ariel Irham, the frontman for the band Peterpan. One allegedly showed Ariel with his girlfriend, Luna Maya, while another was said to show him with TV presenter Cut Tari. Ariel has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison on a charge of distributing pornography, not for making the films, although he insists he did not upload the videos to the Internet.

Anwar Sadat, a representative for the plaintiffs, said that while the request for the judicial review had been rejected, the two women in the Ariel case should still be held accountable: The makers of sex videos must also be punished. We know that Ariel has been sentenced to prison, but what about Luna Maya and Cut Tari?


12th April

Update: By the Will of God...

MP who helped pass Indonesia's repressive anti porn law resigns after being caught watching porn in parliament

An Indoesian MP from an Islamic party which promoted anti-pornography legislation has resigned after being caught watching porn in parliament.

Mr Arifinto of the Islamic Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) was photographed looking at the images on Friday. He said he had inadvertently opened an email link which led him to the images.

For the recent developing media coverage, I apologise to all members of the party and parliament, Arifinto told a news conference: I will continue to work for my party. I'm also going to continue to better myself, by repentance, reading the Koran and asking for guidance.

The BBC's Kate McGeown in Jakarta says the PKS was the driving force behind anti-pornography legislation, so that when one of its lawmakers was caught out, he was shown no mercy. If it is proved that Arifinto was indeed downloading a pornographic movie, as photography of his behaviour appears to show, he could find himself charged with a law of his own party's making.


30th March

Update: Culture of Disobedience...

Indonesia's repressive anti-porn law to be ignored in Bali and Papua

Authorities in two Indonesian provinces said that they will not comply with a controversial anti-pornography law they say would stifle traditional Balinese and Papuan culture.

Komarudin Watubun, deputy house speaker for the Papua provincial council, said it would be impractical to impose the law in Papua: The people here in Papua have never bothered with the law. It's like other laws in Indonesia where many people just realize that it cannot be enforced so why should we bother with it.

Meanwhile, Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika said he has long objected to the anti-pornography law since it goes against Balinese society: We reject porn crimes, but this law also does not suit the sociological and psychological aspect of Balinese society .

Law professor Adrianus Meliala, from the University of Indonesia, said the law's provisions are unlikely to be applied evenly across the country: Law enforcers are reluctant to perform legal actions which are not popular and will cause a controversy, so they will avoid charging people .


26th March

Update: Down the Pan...

Indonesia's reputation for tolerance in tatters after confirmation of anti-porn law by Constitutional Court

Indonesia's Constitutional Court has thrown out an appeal of a controversial anti-porn law, in a blow to some secular parties, minorities and artists who had said it threatened freedom of expression.

Already the law, which some Indonesians said is ambiguous, has been used to jail dancers in a nightclub and is seen as a threat to the country's precarious reputation for tolerance.

The court said concerns about the law's ambiguity, lack of regard for certain ethnic and religious minorities, and its potential to incite vigilantism, were exaggerated. There was one dissenting opinion from the panel of eight judges.

Although the law has been passed, its effectiveness and implementation are still questionable, said Maria Farida Indrati, the only female judge on the panel: This is because of the ambiguity in the articles and explanations of the law. Those who will be directly affected by this law are women and children. So where is the protection as stated in the law, she added.

In the final legislation, pornography is described as pictures, sketches, photos, writing, voice, sound, moving picture, animation, cartoons, conversation, gestures, or other communications shown in public with salacious content or sexual exploitation that violate the moral values of society. Offenders face up to 15 years imprisonment.


13th March

Update: Obscene Law...

Erotic dancers jailed in Indonesia

An Indonesian court jailed six people under the country's anti-pornography law for performing an erotic dance at a bar in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The four female dancers, the show promoter and bar manager received a two and half months each for a performance in Bandung, West Java, which violated a repressive anti-pornography law that came into effect in October 2008.

They have been proven guilty of showing an erotic dance in front of the public, prosecutor Dodi Junaidi told AFP, adding that the judge in his ruling also fined them one million rupiah ($109) each.

The law criminalises all works and bodily movements deemed obscene and capable of violating public morality.


1st October

Update: Art and Law Cannot be Reconciled...

Indonesia artist combines nudes with anti pornography law text

Indonesian artist Agus Suwage knows what it is like to run up against the religious conservatives. Four years ago, he was hauled into parliament, where lawmakers accused him of blasphemy and of producing pornography dressed up as art.

Today, facing an even more restrictive climate in Indonesia, Suwage refuses to be silenced and has made those restrictions the focus of his art.

His latest exhibition, which opened at the Singapore Tyler Print Institute this month, highlights what he sees as a growing conservatism in Indonesia.

Many of the works probably could not be shown at a big public exhibition space in Indonesia following the passage of a controversial anti-pornography law last year.

Art and this law cannot be reconciled. There is art and then there is this law and they are very far apart, Suwage told Reuters in an interview.

Suwage's latest works are a series of prints of female nudes overlaid with the actual text of Indonesia's 2008 anti-pornography law, under which a person can be charged for any public activity that incites sexual desire.

In several of his new prints, the area around the nude's genitals has been cut out completely. In a nod to the issue of censorship, the cut-outs in three artworks have been filled with images of Suwage covering his eyes, ears or mouth.


4th June

Update: Baring Arms...

Bali governor refuses to enforce repressive pornography law

Indonesia's mainly Hindu island of Bali has no intention of enforcing a controversial anti-porn law passed last year because it conflicts with local culture and tradition, the provincial governor said in an email interview.

The new law, which created much confusion over what would be considered pornographic, was slammed by religious minorities but backed by the Islamic and Islamist political parties allied to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyon.

As long as I am the governor of Bali, I, along with the head of the provincial government in Bali, have stated that we will not enforce this law in Bali, Governor I Made Mangku Pastika told Reuters, adding that the law is not appropriate for the people of Bali.

He said the most serious effect of the law would be its impact on Bali's culture and traditional art, which includes nude statues and often sexually explicit imagery.

Centuries-old traditions including outdoor bathing would also have to be banned if the law was properly enforced, added the governor.

Pastika said that he had not yet been reprimanded by the central government, despite his stated aim to disobey the law.


14th March

Update: Erotic Underams...

Sharia dress code law targets traditional dancers

The West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan has warned dancers of the jaipong dance – performed at official ceremonies and cultural festivals – to tone down their erotic moves and hide their underarms to comply with the law.

Islamic parties are also targeting the dance ahead of the April general elections, after parliament passed a controversial anti-porn law in December.

The dance shouldn't be too erotic, Tifatul Sembiring, a senior leader of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party, said: The worry is that once the anti-porn bill is fully implemented, the dance may be banned because it's too erotic.

Outraged and insulted, professional dance groups have called on Indonesians to teach the perpetrators a lesson at the ballot box come April.

What are they talking about? The dancers are all covered up in long-sleeved traditional kebayas, not sexy tubes, Mas Nanu Muda of the Jaipong Care Community, said.

Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, a candidate for presidential elections in July, said the anti-porn law was the most terrible thing in the process of building our nation. He said the law criminalises all works and bodily movements including music and poetry that could be deemed obscene and capable of violating public morality, and offers heavy penalties.


27th February

Update: Indonesian Dance Censorship...

Constitutional Court dances round student challenge

The Indonesian Constitutional Court has rejected an appeal by religious groups, students and a North Sulawesi Province youth organization to review the controversial antipornography law.

However, the rejection was made on trumped technical grounds and a future court hearing was not ruled out.

The plaintiff's demand is unclear, as they are not citing the content of the antipornography law, but instead that of the antipornography bill, judge Akil Mochtar said.

Also the group would have to reconsider grouping themselves under the name of the Ethnic Law Union of North Sulawesi because, Akil said, the group did not meet the requirements to represent the province's ethnic groups.

To add to the group's headache, their legal standing also was questioned by the court: It is not clear whether the plaintiffs have proposed the judicial review as individuals or as representatives of ethnic law, said Abdul Mukthie Fadjar, another judge. Mukhtie said that if the group claimed itself to be an ethnic law union, it needed to provide written proof from the organizations it named.


9th February

Update: Indonesian Dance Censor...

Governor denies dance ban BUT wants to discuss 'problems' with Jaipong dancing

West Java Governor and dance censor Ahmad Heryawan has denied using the controversial pornography law to ban Jaipong dancing, reports of which have drawn great criticism in the past few days.

There was no official statement on Jaipong dancing, he said, stressing that he had never made any statement relating to the folk art form.

The media had reported that the administration intended to forbid Jaipong dancers from wearing sexy costumes and executing provocative dance moves.

The governor said he would meet with the province's artists to discuss the problem. This rather suggests that Heryawan is being a bit more censorial than his denial suggests.

Based on article from

Previously it was reported that Indonesia's new regressive pornography law was targeting cultural heritage, West Java Governor Ahmad Heryawan was said to have used it as a legal basis to forbid Jaipong dancers from wearing sexy costumes and executing provocative dance moves.

The West Java administration's ban has prompted severe criticism from artists and legislators who blast it as a move to curb the traditional arts and culture of local people.

Bandung-born singer and dancer Dewi Gita said she did not see the need for the administration to delve into the matter when there were so many other problems affecting the province, including floods, poverty and expensive education: You see, Jaipong has nearly vanished. It is our unique heritage and we should do our best to keep it alive. But instead of supporting the internationally recognized dance, the authorities encourage its extinction.

Jaipong has nothing to do with pornography, it's merely a cultural expression. The dance is actually derived from the traditional ketuk tilu dance, which is a way that girls attract boys in Sundanese traditional customs. No wonder, the girl must be provocative and sexy, she said.

Update: Democratic Party of Struggle

17th February 2009. Based on article from

Opposing parties of Indonesia's controversial anti-pornography law vowed to annul the law at a public debate against the ruling party on Friday.

The law, ratified last October by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, was met with fierce opposition by the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, the Prosperous Peace Party and a number of civil rights groups on the grounds that it is a betrayal to the Balinese, said Nyoman Dhamantra of the Party of Struggle at the debate: With or without a majority, we will overturn the law.


24th December

Update: Unconstitutional Bikini Ban...

Bali to challenge Indonesia's new sharia dress code bill

Indonesian bikini

The Bali People's Component (KRB) organization has finished its draft judicial review of the recently signed anti-pornography law, the first legal challenge to the controversial measure.

We have decided to submit this legal motion on Jan. 7 asking the Constitutional Court to conduct a judicial review of the law, said KRB Coordinator I Gusti Ngurah Harta.

He said the move was part of the KRB's ongoing commitment to fight the law, which many Balinese regard as a threat to their cultural legacy and the integrity of the nation.

This highly-anticipated draft is the first legal challenge to the contentious porn law, which critics have slammed as an allowance for extremists to force one-sided morality against pluralist Indonesia.

The law vaguely defines pornography as any material that incites sexual desire, a clause that has triggered debate nationally.

The 50-page draft outlines the legal arguments around whether or not the law violates key constitutional rights, and looks at the issue from social, economic, artistic and cultural perspectives.

This law has trampled on at least five constitutional rights granted to all Indonesian citizens," said KRB's chief legal adviser, Palguna.

The integral constitutional rights arguably under threat are the right to be treated equally in any legal process, the right to demand a legal certainty from and during legal prosecution, the right to be free from fear and intimidation, the right to acquire beneficial gains from arts and culture and the right to pursue legal vocations.

Anti Bikini, Anti Alcohol Indonesia puts off Western Tourists


Indonesia's tourism ministry said on Tuesday it expects a decline in tourist spending next year because of the global economic crisis.

Some tourist areas, including the resort island of Bali, are heavily dependent on tourism for jobs and growth. A recent shortage of alcohol in Jakarta and Bali, and concerns over Indonesia's new anti-porn law -- seen by some as a threat to artistic, religious and cultural freedom in the diverse archipelago -- have led some tourists to complain or even threaten to stay away.

I understand that for foreigners alcohol is like tea or coffee for us, if there's no alcohol then tourists are reluctant to come here, Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik told a press briefing, adding that the issue was being resolved, particularly in top-tier hotels.

Update: Trampling on Rights

3rd January 2008. See article from

The Bali People's Component, known as the KRB, has finalized a judicial review challenging the recently ratified anti-pornography law and plans to present the review to the Constitutional Court on Jan. 9.

In its 50-page legal challenge, the KRB argues that the law has trampled upon at least five constitutional rights granted to all Indonesian citizens, said I Dewa Gde Palguna, chief legal advisor of the KRB, in that it denies Indonesian people in 21 separate professions their basic right to the freedom of expression, among other things. Some of the at-risk professions include dancers, playwrights, reporters, composers and gymnastics instructors, among others.

The KRB has estimated that the court will need about four months to come to a decision.


12th December

Update: Bali Poor Show...

Indonesia president signs repressive sharia anti-pornography law

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was strongly criticised after signing a repressive anti-pornography law which opponents have said threatens national unity.

The law, backed by Islamic parties in the capital Jakarta, criminalises all works and bodily movements deemed obscene and capable of violating public morality, and offers heavy penalties.

It prompted protests across Indonesia, with critics saying it could threaten art and traditional culture from temple statues on Bali to penis sheaths on tribesmen in Christian and animist Papua province.

The president's signing of the law late last month was made public last Tuesday.

Yudhoyono could have chosen not to sign it because there are still several provinces which strongly oppose the law, lawmaker Eva Sundari of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) told AFP. The opposing provinces, such as Papua, Bali, Yogyakarta, North Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara, say that the law threatened their culture and national unity.

I Gusti Ngurah Harta, head of the Bali People's Component, an organisation of local intellectuals and artists, said: We are disappointed that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed the law. We will not vote for him in the elections next year.

Bantarto Bandoro, political analyst from the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said: Yudhoyono's decision could shake the foundation of his presidential campaign for next year's election.

The law contains provisions for between six months and 12 years' jail for producers and distributors of pornography and up to four years in prison for downloading pornography.


29th November

Update: Plurality Under Threat...

Indonesia president advised to make gesture and not sign porn bill

Presidential Advisor Adnan Buyung Nasution recommended President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono not sign or ratify the recently passed pornography bill, as its enforcement could threaten the country's plurality.

I have recommended the President not sign or ratify the porn bill. He has the right to do so and it is not against the Constitution, he told The Jakarta Post.

Buyung said that by not signing the bill, the public would see that the President considers maintaining the unity of the nation a priority.

The House of Representatives passed the controversial porn bill last month despite opposition from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS). The bill has endured strong protest from human rights activists and pluralist organizations, as some articles in the bill were deemed contentious enough to spark disintegration.

The Constitution says a bill passed by the House is supposed to be signed by the president within 30 days. If not, the bill will still become a legitimate law. However, by not signing it, the president rejects the mainstream ideas and political interests of the House," Buyung said.


18th November

Update: Indonesia Gone West...

West Papua promises to secede from Indonesia over sharia bill.

The head of the West Papua Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) repeated the province's intention to secede from Indonesia if the anti-pornography bill passed into law, during a rally in front of the Bali governor office in Denpasar, on Saturday.

Jimmy Demianus Ijie told Balinese protesters that West Papua would galvanize international support for secession if the government enforces the anti-pornography bill in West Papua.

Jimmy said the West Papuans could not accept the bill because it smelled of Sharia law and it had no respect for the constitution, which, he said, embraces Indonesia's five major religions and its hundreds of cultures.

He said the bill was an insult to church congregations in West Papua, who had expressed their stand against the bill: The church played a major part in assisting the government in returning West Papua to Indonesia, and because the church is West Papua's representative, this is a stab in the back, too.

He further supported the Bali People's Component's (KRB) attempt to file a judicial review at the Constitutional Court: If the judicial review fails, we will secede .

KRB coordinator Ngurah Harta said the judicial review would be filed next week, pledging to hold a civil disobedience campaign if the review fails.


16th November

Update: Translucent Blouses in Indonesia...

Another Bali protest against sharia dress code law

Hundreds of people rallied Saturday in the Hindu-majority holiday island of Bali against a tough anti-pornography law branded by critics a threat to religious freedom.

About 400 people marched through the Balinese capital Denpasar in defiance of the law passed by mainly Muslim lawmakers in Jakarta last month.

Protesters denounced as too broad the law's definition of pornography, saying it was a threat to Indonesia's diverse non-Muslim minorities and could shatter national unity.

High-spirited protesters in traditional sarongs and translucent temple blouses marched toward the provincial governor's office, cheering wildly at traditional dances and performances by local pop singers in curve-hugging pants.

The chair of the West Papua provincial parliament, Jimmy Demianus Ijie, said the law passed after years of deliberation in Jakarta criminalised Papuan culture, where many people go semi-naked.

A challenge to the law would be launched in Indonesia's Constitutional Court next week, activist Ngurah Harta told the protest: We have to win this judicial review or we will hold a massive civil disobedience campaign .


11th November

Update: Burkhas on in Bali...

Police will enforce the new sharia dress code law

Burkha is the new bikini

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Teuku Ashikin Husein said his institution had no option but to enforce the new pornography law in the province.

I have no option. The police must enforce every positive law in the country, he said in Denpasar, as quoted by

Ashikin said the law would be implemented through a government regulation which had yet to be established.

Last week, Bali's governor and speaker of the provincial legislature announced that the province would not be able to enforce the newly passed law, saying it was not in line with Balinese philosophical and sociological values.

Bali leaders and members of the public have united in an organization named the Bali People's Component to challenge the new law through the Constitutional Court.


10th November

Update: Burkha is the new Bikini...

Erotic dancers arrested in Jakarta under new sharia morality law

Burkha is the new bikini

Indonesia watched its new anti-pornography law leap into action last weekend, as police raided a Jakarta nightclub and arrested three employees. The officers detained three erotic dancers in the raid. The women now face up to 10 years in prison.

The new law retains a broad definition of pornography that many fear could be abused by law enforcers and radical organizations. The law is wide open to interpretation and could even apply to voice, sound, poetry, works of art or literature, says Kadek Krishna Adidharma, one of many Balinese who see the law as an attempt by the Indonesian Muslim majority to impose their will on the rest of the country: Anything that supposedly raises the libido could be prosecutable.

The law has a long list of possible offenses. Anyone displaying nudity could be fined up to $500,000 and jailed for up to 10 years. Public performances that could incite sexual desire have been banned, and civil society groups will be allowed to help enforce the legislation.

While it is true that pornographic magazines and pirated DVDs are easily available in Indonesia, advocates for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities say the problem will not be righted by the new legislation. They point to existing provisions in the criminal law as sufficient to deal with the problem, and complain that the new law poses a threat to non-Muslim Indonesians. The law imposes the will of the majority that embrace Islam, is a form of religious discrimination and against the spirit of tolerance taught by the country's founders, says Theophilus Bela, chairman of the Christian Communication Forum.

Four provinces with sizeable non-Muslim populations — Bali, Yogyakarta, Papua and North Sulawesi — have already rejected the law and said it will not be enforced in their regions. It remains to be seen how and if that will be tolerated by Jakarta. Major protests are planned for this month in Bali, where the governor has been a vocal opponent of the law and pledged that it will not be implemented. Many Balinese are now calling for greater autonomy and say dire consequences lie ahead if their demands are not met. There is even a possibility that Bali will ask to separate from Indonesia, says Rudolf Dethu, a Balinese who has helped organize protests against the law: It's that serious.


3rd November

 Offsite: Energized Fundamentalists...

A Chilling New Anti-Obscenity Law in Indonesia

See article from


2nd November

Update: Bali Baulks at Burkas...

Unimpressed by Indonesia's new sharia dress code bill

Indonesian bikini

In a move of defiance against the controversial Indonesia pornography bill, Bali's governor and speaker of the provincial legislative council declared Friday the province would not be able to enforce the newly passed law.

In a two-point written statement, signed by Governor Made Mangku Pastika and Speaker Ida Bagus Putu Wesnawa, Bali made its historic mark as the first region ever to publicly declare an inability to implement a law passed by the House of Representatives.

With the passing of the porn bill on Thursday, we hereby declare that we cannot carry it out because it is not in line with Balinese philosophical and sociological values, Pastika said at the council building here.

We further implore every element of the Balinese public to keep calm, stay alert, not be easily provoked and maintain the appropriate atmosphere to maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

However, the legal force of the declaration remains unclear. Pastika did not elaborate on how the declaration would affect the island, calling it simply a statement from the people of Bali.

Asked whether the provincial administration would pursue a Constitutional challenge, Pastika said he and other leaders were still considering it, adding a legal challenge was the next most viable option.

The previous governor, Made Dewa Beratha, even stated during the bill's first introduction to the public in 2006 that Bali might as well declare independence if the bill was passed.

Update: Support

6th November 2008. Based on article from

Members of Bali's tourism industry declared their support Tuesday for efforts to legally challenge the recently passed pornography bill, calling the bill a violation of individual rights and an egregious monopoly on cultural values.

Head of Bali Tourism Board (BTB) Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya said the industry was ready to support any legal challenge made to the pornography bill, including the plan by the Bali People's Component (KRB) to file a judicial review with the Constitutional Court.

He regretted the passing of the bill, saying it was a violation of personal rights and a blatant attempt to standardize public values: Thus we are in full support of KRB's attempt to have a judicial review of the bill .

He further applauded the island's leaders, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika and Speaker of the Bali Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) Ida Bagus Putu Wesnawa, who last Friday had declared that the province would not carry out the law because it was not in line with the island's philosophical and social values: That was indeed representative of our Balinese feelings as a community. We salute and support the governor and DPRD speaker.


31st October

Update: Anti-Porn Bill Passed...

Indonesia retreats from the civilised world
burkha top bikini bottom

Indonesian bikini

Indonesia's parliament has passed an anti-pornography law despite furious opposition to it.

Islamic parties said the law was needed to protect women and children against exploitation and to curb increasing immorality in Indonesian society.

The law would ban images, gestures or talk deemed to be pornographic.

Artists, women's groups and non-Muslim minorities said they could be victimised under the law and that traditional practices could be banned.

The law has prompted protests across Indonesia, but particularly on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali - a favourite destination for tourists.

Critics particularly do not like a provision in the bill that would allow members of the public to participate in preventing the spread of obscenity. We're worried it will be used by hard-liners who say they want to control morality, Baby Jim Aditya, a women's rights activist, told Associated Press news agency.

This law will ensure that Islam is preserved and guaranteed, said Hakim Sori Muda Borhan, a member of parliament from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party.

The bill must be signed by the president before it comes into effect.

Violators face up to 12 years in prison and hefty fines.


30th October

Update: Pro Anti-Porn...

Reversing the social decay in Indonesia

Indonesian bikini

Hundreds of demonstrators in the Indonesian capital called on the government Wednesday to push through a controversial anti-pornography bill, saying it was the only way to reverse signs of social decay in the world's most populous Muslim nation.

The nearly 300 protesters in Jakarta pointed to everything from racy television ads and movies to touts selling Playboy magazine at stoplights as reasons the bill must pass.

I don't want my children to go to hell because we allow pornography, said Siti, a demonstrator.

More than 100 lawmakers stormed out of Parliament on Thursday to protest an anti-pornography bill.

But a vote on the legislation  was expected to go ahead later in the afternoon.

The bill, which outlaws pornographic acts and images, is opposed by members of two parties, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP) and the Christian-based Prosperous Peace Party, which together have 122 seats in the 550-seat Parliament.

They showed their displeasure by walking out, but the speaker of the house said a quorum had been reached, so the vote could go ahead.


20th October

Update: Repression Dressed Up...

Indonesia dress code bill to exempt tourist bikinis

Indonesian bikini

The Indonesian House of Representatives' special committee debating the controversial 'pornography' bill will allow tourists to wear bikinis at tourist resorts in a bid to ensure tourism is not negatively affected by the controversial legislation.

Tourists are allowed to wear bikinis in tourism resorts like Bali and Parang Tritis beach (in Yogyakarta). The porn bill will treat recreational and leisure areas differently, lawmaker Husein Abdul Azis of the Democratic Party said.

There have been fears among domestic tourism operators that the bill would deter tourists from visiting because it would recquire them to wear appropriate covering.

Head of the House's special committee deliberating the morality bill, Balkan Kaplale, said his team had made some changes to contentious articles in the bill, finalizing the terms before lawmakers begin their recess period starting on Oct. 30.

I can say there have been drastic changes in the bill, said Balkan of the Golkar Party. The changes act as a compromise to the growing opposition movements to the bill.

Lawmakers are still discussing the much criticized definition of pornography which includes anything in life even remotely sexy. Article 1 of the bill defines pornography as any man-made work that includes sexual material in the form of drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry, conversations or any other form of communicative message.


14th October

Update: Bali Dancing...

Balinese protest again against pornography bill

Thousands of protesters rallied on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali on Saturday to demonstrate against an anti-pornography bill denounced by critics as a threat to national unity.

More than 5,000 protesters surged through the streets of the mostly Hindu island's capital in opposition to the bill under deliberation in Jakarta.

The bill, which looked set to be passed several weeks ago but has been pushed back amid a public outcry, criminalises all public acts and material capable of raising sexual desires or violating community morality.

Protesters denounced the proposed law as too broad and a threat to local customs on the island, where naked temple statues proliferate and skimpily dressed foreign tourists relax on beaches.

Demonstrators turned up to the rally in traditional Balinese clothes including semi-see-through temple blouses, saying such clothes could be deemed too suggestive if the law was passed.


27th September

Update: Morality Bill...

Indonesian porn bill rejected by its National Commission on Human Rights

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) rejected the pornography bill as it is considered interfering with privacy. We clearly reject it. It is not ethical to generalize a perception of a moral value, said the Commission member Yoseph Adi Prasetyo in Jakarta yesterday.

Yoseph explained the regulation on the pornography issue actually can be covered under the Criminal Code. Special regulations can cause it to overlap with other bills.

Update: Rethink but not stalled

6th October 2008. From

Due to increasing pressure, legislators have agreed to revise the controversial anti-pornography bill, scheduled to be introduced to the House of Representatives later this year.

But after a series of public hearings -- held in Jakarta, Ambon, Makassar and Banjarmasin -- and a volley of criticism in which groups pointed to an expansive definition of pornography and vague wording in a draft of the legislation, it's not yet clear if that will be enough to pass the bill.

"We understand that this is a delicate issue," said Bahrul Hayat, secretary-general of the Religious Affairs Ministry. "It is not a one-day process."

Originally, supporters had pledged to pass the bill before the end of Ramadan, but critics pushed for more discussion.

The Ministry welcomes public input into the process, said Bahrul, but he emphasized that the bill still must move forward.

"As a law it is a common agreement. It cannot please everybody," he said. And, although the law would seek to protect cultural diversity in Indonesia, he added, questions of appropriate art would be settled in the courts.

Some artists and educators, however, remain anxious about the bill's potential effects on artistic expression and education.

While many agree with the need to curtail pornographic material -- especially for youth -- they cite the potential for abuse or misunderstanding and a general lack of clarity in exactly how the law would be enforced.


26th September

Update: Arousing Doubt...

Indonesian porn bill now stalled

The Indonesian parliament has postponed endorsing a controversial anti-pornography bill following opposition from social and religious groups, who say the unclear bill threatens to interfere in people's private lives.

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives on Sept. 23, 2003, and has been revised several times in response to criticism from various groups.

Nonetheless, opponents say the bill still does not clearly differentiate between pornography and obscenity on the one hand, and cultural, artistic and creative expressions on the other. They also fear the bill will allow the state to interfere in people's private lives, and especially to target women.

Chapter I Article 1 of the bill says, Pornography is sexual material made by humans in the form of pictures, sketches, illustrations, photos, writing, voice, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry, conversation, body movement or any other form of communication through various media and/or public performance that can arouse sexual desire and/or violate societal values.

This definition is too wide, the Jakarta-based Kompas daily maintained in its Sept. 22 edition, in a special section dedicated to an analysis of the bill. The paper also pointed out this could allow the state to control people's private sex lives.

Originally containing 11 chapters and 93 provisions, the bill's final draft has eight chapters and 44 provisions.


18th September

Update: Humiliation for Indonesia...

Balinese protest against pornography bill

About 1,000 Balinese dressed in traditional sarongs rallied Wednesday to protest against a controversial anti-pornography bill that critics say could hurt local cultural traditions.

The bill contains provisions that could jail people for kissing in public and criminalize many forms of art or traditional culture that hinge on sensuality.

Lawmakers have so far stopped short of passing the bill which has been in parliament for over three years because of criticism it would threaten Indonesia's tradition of tolerance.

But some political parties are hoping for its approval this month when the final draft is tabled in parliament. One Islamic party's lawmaker has said the bill would be a Ramadan gift.

We in Bali see the body as aesthetic, but the pornography bill sees the body as an object of sin, said Sugilanus, one of the protesters at the rally in Denpasar, capital of the predominantly Hindu island of Bali.

Reject the pornography bill, some protesters shouted as they performed a sensual traditional dance while others carried banners saying, The porn bill is not a gift but humiliation for the nation.


17th September

Update: Inciting Censorial Desire...

Indonesian Sharia anti-porn bill resurfaces

An anti-pornography bill which is before the Indonesian Parliament may hurt tourism on the island of Bali, some officials have claimed.

The bill, currently in draft form in the House of Representatives, defines pornography as acts that incite sexual desire.

The repressive legislation defines pornography as sexual materials in the form of drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry, conversations or any other form of communicative messages.

But some say the legislation could go as far as jailing people for kissing in public.

Experts see the bill as contentious, because traditional dress in Bali and the sparse clothing and swimwear worn by tourists, could be viewed as pornographic under the legislation.

The island's tourism will clearly suffer should the house pass the bill, said Ngurah Wijaya, head of the Bali Tourism Board.

Bagus Sudibya, a tourism expert, acknowledged the moral stance behind the bill's inception, but warned against hidden agendas in the process to pass it into law. Bagus said the bill should focus on defining explicit pornography designed to arouse sexual desire or exploit women, and not condemn artwork depicting nudity: Many of Bali's trademark attractions are in close connection with its arts, which occasionally depicts women in the nude .

Last Friday, an Indonesian Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party said the anti-pornography bill could be a Ramadan present" for Muslims.

The draft bill has been before the Parliament for three years and there is speculation that it may be passed in a few weeks.


12th December

Update: Veiled Repression...

Indonesian anti-porn bill includes sharia morality laws

For the past two years, conservative Islamic parties in Indonesia, often supported by paramilitary religious groups known for their intolerance have been periodically pushing to have elements of Islamic Law become the law of the land.

This time, social critics are pushing back. On 3 December, a diverse group of activists—including many from mainstream Islamic groups—urged the country's legislative branch to reject the proposed legislation.

What makes the debate noteworthy is the way that the Islamic hardliners have been able to disguise their end-game. In a brilliant political move, they penned a so-called “Anti-Pornography Bill” that would ostensibly protect women and children from the scourges associated with pornography.

In fact, the anti-pornography angle was just a veil. According to the authors of the document, pornography is vaguely defined to include just about anything that would offend their hyper-caffeinated moral sensitivities. Many forms of women's bathing suits, for example, would suddenly become illegal. Any publications or works of art that showed all but a fully-dressed female form, too, would conceivably be off limits. So would many cultural events, such as those in tourist destinations like Bali.

Worse, the bill calls on “all parties” to protect morality. This has been seen as a call to arms for the Islamic Defenders Front and their ilk, which have made a name for themselves raiding nightspots during the Ramadhan fasting month.

Secular political groups oppose this shift, which they correctly note would undermine the nation's cultural diversity. But because of the name of the bill, they are often left having to explain why they are defending “pornography.”

No date has been set for the final debate on the Anti-Pornography Bill. But with presidential campaigning set to unofficially start next year (the election is not until 2009), hard-line Islamic parties will probably try to flex their muscles—and make another push for passage of the bill—within the next two quarters.

Update: Definitions

16th December 2007

The definition of pornography according to the bill says: "Pornography is any man-made work that includes sexual materials in the form of drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry, conversation, or any other form of communicative messages; it also may be shown through the media in front of the public; it can arouse lust and lead to the violation of normative values within society; and it can also cause the development of pornographic acts within society".


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