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Details still fuzzy on changes to porn bill JAKARTA - Following a visit by legislators to Bali, Batam and Papua to gauge public opinion on the pornography bill, it's still a guessing game whether there will be major changes to the controversial bill. While House of Representatives special committee chairman Balkan Kaplale promised people in Batam there would be major changes to the draft of the bill, legislator Rustam E. Tamburaka said in Bali that "there may be some exceptions in the bill for Bali and Papua".

Members of the House committee returned Sunday from their visit to the provinces from where people had raised objections to the bill. A group of Balinese earlier told legislators how eroticism and sensuality were part of their culture. In a meeting with several groups in Batam, Balkan had previously asked the participants to contemplate the timeliness of the bill, saying that a series of recent natural disasters and tragedies that hit Indonesia were "a warning from God".

"This bill is a part of our efforts to strengthen the moral fiber of the nation, some of which has been damaged," the legislator of the Democrat Party said, referring to prostitution, human trafficking and the debasement of women in adult magazines and tabloids. Balkan added that of 167 groups and individuals invited by the committee to discuss the bill, only 22 rejected it, including well-known figures from the art world.

However, he was at a loss for words when a number of participants bombarded him with questions. One participant raised concerns that he would be arrested when going online to view a painting of a nude woman by Italian artist Michelangelo. Others questioned the possible arrest of athletes, who wear shorts or miniskirts, and models sporting revealing clothing in fashion shows.

Balkan only replied that the draft of the bill, containing 11 chapters and 93 articles, would see major changes during an upcoming deliberation on the bill next week. However Balkan's colleague, Rustam, said in Denpasar there would be possible exceptions in the implementation of the bill in Bali and Papua due to their unique cultural traditions.

"Both regions deserve consideration," he said amid a colorful protest against the bill. The Golkar Party legislator said that the bill would respect the Papuan tradition of wearing the koteka (penis sheath) as well as foreign tourists who sunbathe in bikinis, because "it is the tradition they bring from their countries".

Balinese artists are also allowed to make nude sculptures or paintings, he added. Rustam added that legislators may scrap articles on penalties, which reach billions of rupiah, but did not elaborate. Balinese legislator of the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), Ni Gusti Ayu Eka Sukma Dewi, said that she was opposed to the bill despite the fact that she was a member of the committee.

"It is useless for the government to discuss such a bill which displeases so many people, because it would waste time and money," she said as quoted by Antara newswire. During a plenary meeting last September, all factions, PDI-P included, unanimously threw their weight behind the establishment of a special committee assigned to deliberate the draft of the bill, which is supported by Muslim-based parties.

The factions have yet to officially announce their stance on the bill, but it appears that the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) is its main supporter. Criticism of the bill includes its failure to clearly define those guilty of producing pornography materials, thereby victimizing women.



Posted in Politics @ 06 March 2006 09:45 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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