Reuters logo
Indonesian party seeks anti-porn bill as Ramadan gift
September 12, 2008 / 7:32 AM / 9 years ago

Indonesian party seeks anti-porn bill as Ramadan gift

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian Islamic party is hoping an anti-pornography bill that has been in parliament for over three years will be passed within a few weeks as a “Ramadan present” for Muslims, a newspaper report said on Friday.

<p>Muslims pray during Friday prayers at a parking area in Jakarta's central business district September 12, 2008. REUTERS/BeaWiharta</p>

Lawmakers in the world’s most populous Muslim nation have so far stopped short of passing the bill, which aims to shield the young from pornographic material and lewd acts, because of criticism it would threaten Indonesia’s tradition of tolerance.

“It will be a Ramadan gift,” Mahfudz Siddiq, a Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) member of parliament was quoted by the Jakarta Post newspaper as saying. He said the bill was urgently needed because of widespread moral decadence in Indonesia.

The fasting month of Ramadan began on September 1 and ends with Eid-al Fitri celebrations a month later.

The Jakarta Post said a parliamentary committee deliberating the bill is set to table the final draft in parliament in the next few weeks.

A politician from Golkar, the main party in the ruling coalition, said the passage of the bill was inevitable, given the unwillingness of groups supporting it to seek a compromise.

“Unless there are widespread rallies against the bill across the country, the constellation will not change,” Harry Azhar Azis was quoted as saying in the Jakarta Post.

Golkar, former president Suharto’s political vehicle, is a strongly secular and nationalist party.

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

Illegal explicit material is available in Indonesia, and television programs regularly feature bared flesh and sexual innuendo.

Lawmakers watered down the bill following criticism and street protests over the issue early last year. Critics say it could pave the way for vigilante groups to take the law into their own hands under a pretext of upholding morality.

Militant Muslim groups in Indonesia, particularly since the fall of the autocratic Suharto presidency in 1998, have sporadically taken vigilante action against red-light areas or liberal publications deemed offensive.

Indonesia restricted access to pornographic and violent sites on the Internet after parliament passed a new information bill early this year.

Reporting by Telly Nathalia; Editing by Sugita Katyal and Bill Tarrant

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below