Indonesia's Muslims told to switch off gossip TV

JAKARTA (Reuters Life!) - Indonesia’s highest Islamic authority has forbidden Muslims from viewing gossipy content in the country’s media after a celebrity sex clip scandal dominated television news in the past month.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued the edict this week because of concerns that some media programs were not meant to educate but went beyond the barriers of decency toward pornography, said the MUI’s Ma’ruf Amin.

“The problem is not about infotainment but its content which contain slander, rumors.. also the shows lead to pornography,” Amin said.

He said the organization had recommended the government follow up the edict through regulations to control such “infotainment” content.

The communications ministry, led by a minister from an Islam-based party, aims to pass a controversial regulation controlling internet content by the end of this year, which critics see as an effort to clamp down on freedom of expression. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is also planning use a controversial anti-pornography law to restrict porn websites in the next few months.

The moves come after anger from Islamic groups over home-made sex clips widely circulated on the internet that allegedly feature a pop star and his celebrity girlfriends.

Reporting by Telly Nathalia; writing by Neil Chatterjee, editing by Miral Fahmy