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Indonesia; a country without Playboy and porn YOGYAKARTA - In between breakfast and lunch yesterday, Indonesian lawmakers gave their support for a law that is officially named 'Electronic Information and Transaction Law'. This indirect anti-porn legislation will be effective two days from now. Because of the quick pace this new monster against (press-)freedom was pushed ahead, there is little attention for it in mainstream Indonesian media. It almost looks like something that happens every day here, but it is completely absurd that a law that has been approved yesterday will become active in a matter of days, especially a law that has as many implications as this one. In theory that is.

The new law itself contains regulations that a person that produces or even just watches pornographic or ethically not responsible material can be imprisoned up to six years. On top of that a fine which can be as high as 1 billion Rupiah (70.000 euro). The creator is punished just as hard as the user. To prevent that a user will see those unwanted things on his or her screen, the future will bring an internet filter which is to be installed at internet providers. They have to block the unwanted content themselves later on. To speed up things a little the Ministry of Information has released a free filter on it's website which can be downloaded there.

With the description above it is pretty clear that this law is one big loophole, even if it was put in effect in a country where there was less chronic corruption than here. A government that states 'something to come' we all know about, let alone the Indonesian government. Not directly doing something usually means it will never happen anyway, so we can probably forget about the nationwide filter. But when it will be built, it will need continuous maintenance, which is another very weak thin here in Indonesia. If it will ever be there, it will be outdated in a matter of days, and something that is outdated is put away until it has been eaten by termites.

A recent cover of FHM Indonesia. No nude already, but will this picture still be allowed for Indonesian internetters? © FHM Indonesia.
A recent cover of FHM Indonesia. No nude already, but will this picture still be allowed for Indonesian internetters? © FHM Indonesia.

Adopting a law is something different than executing it. The punishment for a producer as well as the one who is just looking is the same. Strange, but a fact. And if you don't want to go to jail, you can also pay up to 1 billion Rupiah (70.000 euro) for just watching a picture of a woman on the internet which is wearing just less than average the amount of clothing you will find in FHM, because that is pretty naked already here, so everything more naked must be classified as porn or something. That is the next problem. I didn't read the new law, but the word 'porn' must be subject to wide interpretation.

A producer of pictures featuring women that are dressed with a little less clothing than usual will not rate their pictures as being porn, but art or at least free expression of the mind. On the other side however, a man that is stating that foreign tourists are nothing more like maggots and snakes will probably have the opinion that women dressed with less than a burqa (those penguin-suits indeed) is terribly naked, let alone the average tourist on Bali, like the man already told us himself. Seen the big diversity in views and opinions, it was much better to classify 'porn' directly, however that might end up to be a ridiculous, see for yourself:

"A picture of a woman where the shoulders are completely uncovered and where you can see the armpit under any angle. The woman should be wearing clothing that is at least two sizes bigger than the real size of clothing of the woman, to cover any visible shapes of the body, since this may lead to visibility of any underwear. The hair of the woman has to be at least ten centimeters longer than the shoulders to avoid any naked skin on the back to be visible." And then we aren't even thinking about the real porn which this law most likely doesn't take into account at all, since these kind of products aren't produced in Indonesia, at least that is what the legislators believe, so no law is required for this.

At a random photo-shoot for a website like FHM you will need a police representative at the scene to check on the situation. If something is wrong you should most likely supply him some extra pocket money and also a free view on what is happening in trade for his services. It would be plain ridiculous when it would ever come that far that people would be checking up on things on the street or the internet. That latter one is more likely however, because if you raid a random internet café, those who enter it, will trade the retracted licenses for some more money. This is not related to any law, but plain old theft with a new law as stick to hit with.

What has to be feared more is those people who completely voluntarily, and often in name of a religion, offer themselves as the protector of the uneducated people as law enforcers with their own look at the law. They are most likely to be delighted with the release of this new and unclear law, which they can steer in the direction they want to use it. A new stick to hit with, even before the offline anti-porno laws are passed anyway. But with a group of weak representatives like you can find in this People's Assembly it can not be hoped that more of those radical laws can be stopped. Where it will stop, no one can tell, but instead of this bullshit they should keep themselves busy with the real necessities in Indonesia. Child porn for example, because there is not a single person that will tell me it doesn't exist.

Related websites
· Report: Islamic cleric Bashir likens tourists to 'maggots'
· Ministerie van Informatie en Communicatie
· FHM Indonesia


Tags: general, indonesia, porn, nude, indonesian, fhm, playboy


Posted in General @ 28 March 2008 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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