Cartoons are not the only thing that’s being protested these days in the Muslim world. Pornography in Indonesia is another example of a clash of cultures, morals and ideals between the western and eastern civilizations.
News that the raunchy Playboy magazine has signed a deal to produce a local edition has fuelled the controversy.
Parliament is expected to pass a new anti-pornography bill by the middle of this year but the draft legislation is proving divisive.
A series of demonstrations has taken place in the capital, Jakarta, in support of the tightening of the laws.
The head of the parliamentary committee which drafted the new legislation, Balkan Kaplale, said Indonesia was in a state of moral decline. “These are Indonesian magazines,” Mr Kaplale said, spreading a selection of pornographic tabloids across the table.
“It is terrible, our poor country. We are a religious people but now Indonesia is third worst in the world for porn after Scandinavia and Russia.
“It is so easily available and it is going unchecked. That is why we need this law,” he said.
For some reason, banning something usually makes the demand for it increase. If Playboy launches in Indonesia, it’s going to be a huge success.
I think Jordan does have anti-porn laws some place some where. But you don’t get blocked websites or religious police knocking on your door. So the law is as good as banning air. I do think they stop pornographic material at customs, I’ve heard of something like that but I can’t be sure.
back to the article…
In a narrow, busy alleyway in Jakarta’s Chinatown, there are stalls selling pirated DVDs.
In front of most of the stalls there is a cardboard box where the pornographic films are kept.
The DVDs are openly displayed – it is pretty graphic stuff.
Few people in Indonesia would argue against the need to control the sale of such material. And yet the proposed anti-pornography bill has come up against strong opposition.
The draft document includes articles which would make it an offence to show what it calls sensual body parts, including the navel, hips and thighs.
Those found guilty of breaking the law could face a two-year jail sentence.
This reminds me of Jordan when I go to buy a “dvd” movie from one of those street vendors and the guy will whisper or nudge me and ask if I’m interested in pornos. This is usually followed by a very awkward moment. But that’s the price you pay for buying a 2 Dollar copy of War of the Worlds.
Husna Mulya, a women’s rights activist, said the anti-pornography law had been hijacked by groups pushing a hardline conservative agenda.
“The people behind this are using religious values to make their argument, especially Muslim groups. It is not stated in the bill, but the standard being used is the standard of Sharia law.
“They say people are not dressing in line with Indonesian culture. But the fashion in Indonesia now is to wear trousers that are tight around the hips, and even traditional clothes are often designed to show off a woman’s breasts,” she said.
I think this may be true of the recent flood of protests over the Danish cartoons. I found it amazing how messages and pamphlets were dissiminated so quickely by local groups after the cartoons emerged. Even stranger is the fact that not all protests were violent, some were quite peaceful like the ones which took place in Jordan this past week. So it’s possible to assume that there are hardliner groups exploiting the anger and are somewhere in the maddening crowd, inspiring it or leading it.
p.s. i actually did look up www.playboy.go.to_hell as was printed on the poster in the image above, but i got nuttin.