Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Pornography Law

Last week the Constitutional Court rejected the requests filed by several non-government organizations for Judicial Review on the Pornography Law, therefore the law would be validly effective in Indonesia.

However, according to Kompas (below) the provinces of Bali and Papua have refused to obey said Law.

Considering that according to our Constitution, all laws issued by the national government together with the national parliament in Jakarta should be valid in the whole territory of Indonesia, it would be very interesting to know how will the reactions would be.

Indonesian Provinces Plan to Ignore Anti-Porn Law
Sabtu, 27 Maret 2010 | 07:57 WIB

JAKARTA, — Authorities in two Indonesian provinces said Friday that they will not comply with a controversial anti-pornography law they say would stifle traditional Balinese and Papuan culture. The Constitutional Court upheld the law a day earlier, rejecting appeals arguing that it defined pornography too broadly and could be used to impose conservative Muslim values on other groups and to justify attacks on art.

Legislators in Papua province — a largely tribal region where women customarily go topless — said the law  passed in 2008 has never been implemented there  because it can’t be effectively enforced. The governor of Bali, a Hindu island that draws many tourists, said he has consistently opposed the law because it goes against Balinese society.

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,” he said.

The legislation passed with strong support from conservative Islamist parties, though more than 100 legislators walked out to protest its approval. It outlaws overtly sexual images, gestures and even conversations. Violators can be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison and fined up to $795,000.

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,” he said, speaking to a group in the provincial capital of Denpasar.

Ninety percent of Indonesia’s 235 million citizens are Muslim, most practicing a moderate form of the faith. But many of its islands have large Christian and Hindu populations.

In January, four exotic dancers, along with two club managers, were arrested in the Java city of Bandung, where the mayor had announced a crackdown on behavior considered un-Islamic. The six were believed to be the first to be prosecuted under the law. 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,” he said.


Iosif said...

Authorities in Indonesia and actually around the world, should be aware that sex and prostitution is the oldest profession in the world and can not stop in any way .....
I at least I think so! Congratulations on posting interesting!
Greetings with respect and please read and comment and our blog is written in 55 languages!

Luke said...

The demands of a few outweigh the needs of the many. For me I see this law like the rest, full of good intention but lacking in understanding of the bigger picture. I may be wrong but any law that restricts mearly pushes the matter out of the public eye and underground when it should be the reverse.
I dont know how this will be enforced but I guess Blok M will only get busier!!! no one would dare close that down. What will the Bule do without Topgun or Mybar?

H. Nizam said...

Thank you for dropping by.
I would like to clarify that the law is about pornography which can possibly be related to sex, depends on a person's opinion. But, it has nothing to do with prostitution.

I think that this law will not be easy to enforce, just like other laws e.g the copyright law which has been amended 3 times since 1982, but still very easy to find pirate DVD in places like Ratu Plaza, Mangga Dua etc.
What's frightening is that this law will give legal grounds for vigilante groups like FPI to take the law in its own hands.
We can only hope and pray that law enforcement will improve.

Yari NK said...

Hmmm.... I don't know much of the exact content of the law. But if I'm not mistaken pornography by definition is the sexually explicit picture or graph and it does not deal with any living people wearing skimpy clothes and the likes. But that's only by definition I don't know how the actual law reads.

I can't comment much on this topic. Basically I agree with this law but I don't mind either if eventually sometime in the future they would undo it.... I'll live on with or without the law... hehehe...

colson said...

Of course national laws should apply to all parts of the countrty an to all citizens.


a) Shariah bylaws are exceptionsd to this rule
b) the anti Pornography law does not do justice to Bali and Papua traditions

these provinces do have a point however.

H. Nizam said...

Beside the definition of Pornography, the law also enable vigilante group, under certain circumstance, to initiate action against anyone they consider doing pornography.

The law provide exception for
provinces that have specific culture and tradition like Bali, Papua, and perhaps North Sulawesi.
But there is no guarantee that extremist radicals would honor them.

pj said...

I think that this law will be so selectively enforced that it will be easy for the police to ignore here in Bali. Who whould complain? (no FPI action in Bali)

That was an excellent point Harry about the law allowing certain groups to take action against others whom they perceive to be doing porn. Ironically UU pornografi is a law that actually promotes lawlessness. I suppose we can look foward to more extremists beating women and children with sticks while the police are busy with watermelon thieves and the like.
All this makes me glad I moved to Bali 10 years ago.

H. Nizam said...

I agree that it it would be best if the law can be enforced selectively, which means that it should be amended. I am not sure whether law makers would want to do that.
The most important thing is that the police should be more serious in handling the extremist groups.

crisc23 said...

very interesting blog :)

Peter said...

a very interesting post, keep it up.

Kiwi Riverman's Blogesphere said...

An interesting law. I wonder at the motives behind it?


H. Nizam said...

Thank you for your visit and the kind words.

Thanks a lot

This law was made in 2008, several months before the election on April 2009. Lawmakers are trying their best to win the heart of religious people so that they may want to vote for them.