Anti-Porn Law in Indonesia

A front for the implementation of shariah

17th September

Update: Inciting Censorial Desire...

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Indonesian Sharia anti-porn bill resurfaces

An anti-pornography bill which is before the Indonesian Parliament may hurt tourism on the island of Bali, some officials have claimed.

The bill, currently in draft form in the House of Representatives, defines pornography as acts that incite sexual desire.

The repressive legislation defines pornography as sexual materials in the form of drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry, conversations or any other form of communicative messages.

But some say the legislation could go as far as jailing people for kissing in public.

Experts see the bill as contentious, because traditional dress in Bali and the sparse clothing and swimwear worn by tourists, could be viewed as pornographic under the legislation.

The island's tourism will clearly suffer should the house pass the bill, said Ngurah Wijaya, head of the Bali Tourism Board.

Bagus Sudibya, a tourism expert, acknowledged the moral stance behind the bill's inception, but warned against hidden agendas in the process to pass it into law. Bagus said the bill should focus on defining explicit pornography designed to arouse sexual desire or exploit women, and not condemn artwork depicting nudity: Many of Bali's trademark attractions are in close connection with its arts, which occasionally depicts women in the nude .

Last Friday, an Indonesian Islamic party, the Prosperous Justice Party said the anti-pornography bill could be a Ramadan present" for Muslims.

The draft bill has been before the Parliament for three years and there is speculation that it may be passed in a few weeks.


31st October

Update: Anti-Porn Bill Passed...

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Indonesia retreats from the civilised world
burkha top bikini bottom

Indonesian bikini

Indonesia's parliament has passed an anti-pornography law despite furious opposition to it.

Islamic parties said the law was needed to protect women and children against exploitation and to curb increasing immorality in Indonesian society.

The law would ban images, gestures or talk deemed to be pornographic.

Artists, women's groups and non-Muslim minorities said they could be victimised under the law and that traditional practices could be banned.

The law has prompted protests across Indonesia, but particularly on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali - a favourite destination for tourists.

Critics particularly do not like a provision in the bill that would allow members of the public to participate in preventing the spread of obscenity. We're worried it will be used by hard-liners who say they want to control morality, Baby Jim Aditya, a women's rights activist, told Associated Press news agency.

This law will ensure that Islam is preserved and guaranteed, said Hakim Sori Muda Borhan, a member of parliament from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's Democratic Party.

The bill must be signed by the president before it comes into effect.

Violators face up to 12 years in prison and hefty fines.


2nd November

Update: Bali Baulks at Burkas...

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Unimpressed by Indonesia's new sharia dress code bill

Indonesian bikini

In a move of defiance against the controversial Indonesia pornography bill, Bali's governor and speaker of the provincial legislative council declared Friday the province would not be able to enforce the newly passed law.

In a two-point written statement, signed by Governor Made Mangku Pastika and Speaker Ida Bagus Putu Wesnawa, Bali made its historic mark as the first region ever to publicly declare an inability to implement a law passed by the House of Representatives.

With the passing of the porn bill on Thursday, we hereby declare that we cannot carry it out because it is not in line with Balinese philosophical and sociological values, Pastika said at the council building here.

We further implore every element of the Balinese public to keep calm, stay alert, not be easily provoked and maintain the appropriate atmosphere to maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia.

However, the legal force of the declaration remains unclear. Pastika did not elaborate on how the declaration would affect the island, calling it simply a statement from the people of Bali.

Asked whether the provincial administration would pursue a Constitutional challenge, Pastika said he and other leaders were still considering it, adding a legal challenge was the next most viable option.

The previous governor, Made Dewa Beratha, even stated during the bill's first introduction to the public in 2006 that Bali might as well declare independence if the bill was passed.

Update: Support

6th November 2008. Based on article from

Members of Bali's tourism industry declared their support Tuesday for efforts to legally challenge the recently passed pornography bill, calling the bill a violation of individual rights and an egregious monopoly on cultural values.

Head of Bali Tourism Board (BTB) Ida Bagus Ngurah Wijaya said the industry was ready to support any legal challenge made to the pornography bill, including the plan by the Bali People's Component (KRB) to file a judicial review with the Constitutional Court.

He regretted the passing of the bill, saying it was a violation of personal rights and a blatant attempt to standardize public values: Thus we are in full support of KRB's attempt to have a judicial review of the bill .

He further applauded the island's leaders, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika and Speaker of the Bali Provincial Legislative Council (DPRD) Ida Bagus Putu Wesnawa, who last Friday had declared that the province would not carry out the law because it was not in line with the island's philosophical and social values: That was indeed representative of our Balinese feelings as a community. We salute and support the governor and DPRD speaker.


3rd November

Offsite: Energized Fundamentalists...

A Chilling New Anti-Obscenity Law in Indonesia

Indonesia Goes Burkha

The House of Representatives pushes through an overly broad bill that could energize Islamic fundamentalists even more

Analysts and critics are warning that the bill will embolden the country's already-unswerving Muslim fundamentalists.

Provisions of the Bill

  • Article 29
    Any person who manufactures, produces, duplicates, reduplicates, distributes, broadcasts, imports, exports, makes for sale, trades in, leases or makes available pornography shall be punished with a prison term of 6 months to 12 years and/or a fine of Rp250 million or Rp6 billion.
  • Article 30
    Any person who makes available pornography …shall be punished with a prison term of 6 years and/or a fine of Rp250 million to Rp6 billion
  • Article 31
    Any person who loans or downloads pornography…shall be punished with a maximum prison term of 4 years and/or a fine not to exceed Rp2 billion
  • Article 32
    Any person who exhibits, possesses or stores pornography shall be punished with a maximum prison term of 4 years and/or a fine not to exceed Rp2 billion
  • Article 34
    Any person who consents to be a pornographic object or model shall be punished with a maximum prison term of 10 years and/or a fine not to exceed Rp5 billion
  • Article 36
    Any person who exhibits themselves or others in a performance…that contains nudity, sexual exploitation, coital acts or other pornographic content shall be punished with a maximum prison term of 10 years and/or a fine not to exceed Rp5 billion.

...Read full article

Update: Papua Protests

5th November 2008. Based on article from

About a thousand Christians in the Indonesian province of Papua have protested against an anti-pornography bill passed by parliament last week, saying it conflicts with their traditional culture.

The protesters say the bill, which has the support of a number of Islamic parties, could threaten Indonesia's national unity.

Minority groups, especially Christians and Hindus, say the new law is too vague, and a threat to artistic, religious, and cultural freedom.


10th November

Update: Burkha is the new Bikini...

Erotic dancers arrested in Jakarta under new sharia morality law

Burkha is the new bikini

Indonesia watched its new anti-pornography law leap into action last weekend, as police raided a Jakarta nightclub and arrested three employees. The officers detained three erotic dancers in the raid. The women now face up to 10 years in prison.

The new law retains a broad definition of pornography that many fear could be abused by law enforcers and radical organizations. The law is wide open to interpretation and could even apply to voice, sound, poetry, works of art or literature, says Kadek Krishna Adidharma, one of many Balinese who see the law as an attempt by the Indonesian Muslim majority to impose their will on the rest of the country: Anything that supposedly raises the libido could be prosecutable.

The law has a long list of possible offenses. Anyone displaying nudity could be fined up to $500,000 and jailed for up to 10 years. Public performances that could incite sexual desire have been banned, and civil society groups will be allowed to help enforce the legislation.

While it is true that pornographic magazines and pirated DVDs are easily available in Indonesia, advocates for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities say the problem will not be righted by the new legislation. They point to existing provisions in the criminal law as sufficient to deal with the problem, and complain that the new law poses a threat to non-Muslim Indonesians. The law imposes the will of the majority that embrace Islam, is a form of religious discrimination and against the spirit of tolerance taught by the country's founders, says Theophilus Bela, chairman of the Christian Communication Forum.

Four provinces with sizeable non-Muslim populations — Bali, Yogyakarta, Papua and North Sulawesi — have already rejected the law and said it will not be enforced in their regions. It remains to be seen how and if that will be tolerated by Jakarta. Major protests are planned for this month in Bali, where the governor has been a vocal opponent of the law and pledged that it will not be implemented. Many Balinese are now calling for greater autonomy and say dire consequences lie ahead if their demands are not met. There is even a possibility that Bali will ask to separate from Indonesia, says Rudolf Dethu, a Balinese who has helped organize protests against the law: It's that serious.


11th November

Update: Burkhas on in Bali...

Police will enforce the new sharia dress code law

Burkha is the new bikini

Bali Police chief Insp. Gen. Teuku Ashikin Husein said his institution had no option but to enforce the new pornography law in the province.

I have no option. The police must enforce every positive law in the country, he said in Denpasar, as quoted by

Ashikin said the law would be implemented through a government regulation which had yet to be established.

Last week, Bali's governor and speaker of the provincial legislature announced that the province would not be able to enforce the newly passed law, saying it was not in line with Balinese philosophical and sociological values.

Bali leaders and members of the public have united in an organization named the Bali People's Component to challenge the new law through the Constitutional Court.


24th January

Updated: No Fun in Indonesia...

Exotic dancers arrested in Indonesia under the repressive anti-porn law

Indonesian authorities will prosecute four exotic dancers arrested at clubs on New Year's Eve for allegedly violating a new anti-pornography law, a police spokesman has said.

The female dancers and two male club managers were detained in the city of Bandung said West Java provincial police spokesman Col. Dade Ahmad. They appeared to have been preparing for a striptease and were wearing sexy clothing, Ahmad said, when the police raided the Bellair Cafe and the Music Lounge after midnight.

Indonesia's 2008 anti-pornography law was pushed through parliament by conservative Muslim parties, but opposed by rights groups that argue it criminalizes traditional dance and art, particularly in far flung provinces where partial nudity is culturally accepted.

Ahmad said that they could be sentenced to prison terms of five to 10 years if convicted. Ahmad said the six will be the first people prosecuted under the law in Bandung.

Bandung Mayor Dada Rosada said he was also considering revoking the cafes' operating permits.

Update: Empty Tables at the Belair Cafe

24th January 2010. Based on article from

The arrest of four women for sexy dancing during a Hogmanay party in Bandung has raised worries this may be the prelude to wider Islamist restrictions in Indonesia. The women, as well as a manager and event organiser, could become the first people charged under a one-year-old anti-pornography law banning public displays of naked flesh.

The law was brought in with the backing of the small but influential Islamist political parties in the country. Critics said the parties' real intention was to use the law to spread fundamentalist Islam to control artistic and cultural expression in a multicultural society. The law, they warned, threatens pre-Islamic cultures, which have long co-existed with moderate Islam.

Hafizh Utsman, leader of the West Java branch of the Indonesian Ulama Council, the leading clerical organisation, is pleased with Islam's growing influence in Bandung, and would like to see a more widespread crackdown: We are trying to eliminate the non-Islamic parts of West Java's traditional culture, to make it more Islamic, Utsman boasted. For example, he said that participants at weddings are urged to celebrate by reciting Koranic verses, not by dancing, as is the custom.

Though a couple of weeks have passed since the arrests, it was still not clear what happened at Belair, which showcased bikini-clad women dancing on a bar counter.

Arman Achdiat, the Bandung police chief of detectives, said the authorities had received complaints, via text messages, that the dancers had gone beyond bikini dancing and offered customers flashes of full nudity. This happened at private table dances, said Achdiat, declining to say whether investigators caught the dancers in the act.

Holding a copy of the anti-pornography law, Achdiat said more questioning of the dancers was needed to determine whether to charge them under the criminal law or the more severe anti-pornography law, which entails punishment of up to 10 years in prison for the dancers and 15 years for the manager and organiser.

Clubs such as Belair came to Saritem in Bandung more than a decade ago, and about 10 now offer what is known here as sexy dancing, often featuring some nudity, said Budi Rajab, a sociologist and expert on Bandung at the local Padjadjaran University.

The crackdown seems to be working and Saritem's business has yet to recover fully. On a recent evening there were few customers in the district's warren of narrow streets, where family-owned brothels employed young women from rural Java. A lot of people think Saritem is still closed, or they're afraid to come, said Rully, whose family has worked in Saritem for four generations.


13th March

Update: Obscene Law...

Erotic dancers jailed in Indonesia

An Indonesian court jailed six people under the country's anti-pornography law for performing an erotic dance at a bar in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The four female dancers, the show promoter and bar manager received a two and half months each for a performance in Bandung, West Java, which violated a repressive anti-pornography law that came into effect in October 2008.

They have been proven guilty of showing an erotic dance in front of the public, prosecutor Dodi Junaidi told AFP, adding that the judge in his ruling also fined them one million rupiah ($109) each.

The law criminalises all works and bodily movements deemed obscene and capable of violating public morality.







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