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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Indonesian Entertainers Protest Law on 'Pornography' and Blasphemous Music Content

Politics

7Dnews London

Mon, 11 Feb 2019 21:03 GMT

Indonesian entertainers have rallied against a draft law that seeks to ban blasphemous and "pornographic" music content, which critics said could be used to clamp down on freedom of expression in the Muslim-majority nation.

According to AFP, more than 100 protestors, many carrying placards or playing guitars and drums, took to the streets of Bogor, near Jakarta, on Sunday, February 10th, to demonstrate against the proposed law. An online appeal calling for the vaguely worded bill to be scrapped has been signed by nearly 270,000 people.

Under the proposed law, musicians would be prevented from "bringing negative influences from foreign cultures and/or degrading human dignity" in Indonesia.

As well as cracking down on blasphemous and "pornographic" content, it imposes onerous new requirements on musicians, such as undertaking competency tests to gain certification.

The legislation, which is being considered by parliament, could see musicians jailed or fined for failing to comply. Artists said the vague wording of the draft law could lead to misuse by authorities.

Danilla Riyadi, who initiated the petition on behalf of a coalition of concerned musicians, said the bill is "very dangerous and could be the gateway for a group of people to persecute the creative process of people they dislike".

Musician-turned-politician, Anang Hermansyah, who is on the committee that drew up the bill, has been quoted as saying the goal was to strengthen Indonesia's entertainment industry and that the details could still be changed.

It is not clear why the bill suggests banning foreign influences and "pornographic" content or what would be classified as “pornographic content” in music.

Almost 90 percent of Indonesia's more than 260 million people identify as Muslim but the vast majority practise a moderate form of the religion.

However, foreign artists have occasionally found themselves in the cross-hairs of religious conservatives or fallen foul of the country's censors.

Last year, a TV ad featuring members of K-pop super group, Black Pink, dressed in miniskirts was banned because the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission deemed it indecent.

Asia