Press Freedom Watchdog Slams Multimedia Draft Regulation


The Alliance of Independent Journalists has slammed the Communication and Information Ministry’s draft regulation on multimedia content, stating that it threatened freedom of the press.

“If the draft was passed, the Indonesian press would face a new era of bans and censorship,” stated the alliance in a press release.

The alliance, known as AJI, stated that the draft’s principle was to ban all internet providers from distributing illegal content and to require them to filer and block illegal content such as pornography and other content which was considered to be “violating decency.”

“The definition of illegal content poses dangers to the press, because there are no definitions about pornography and it could cause multiple interpretations,” AJI chairman Nezar Patria said.

Nezar said that there was nothing in the draft stating that the regulation would not be applicable to the press, even though the draft was contradictory to the Press Law.

“The journalism code of ethics is the only content regulation for press be it print, internet or broadcast,” Nezar said.

Meanwhile, a researcher with Imparsial said that the draft showed that the ministry was heading in the direction of becoming a New Order era censorship board.

“I think the Communication and Information Ministry would be like the Information Ministry during the New Order era,” Al Araf told Metro TV.

He said that multimedia regulation must also consider the public domain.

“The government must apply extra caution regarding the public domain and they must have strong reasons to apply such censorship,” he added.

Imparsial noted that the ministry under Tifatul Sembiring had issued two controversial drafts — the wiretapping draft and the multimedia content.

“The drafts did not have clear orientations and the ministry has a huge authority in both drafts. This is very orthodox and conservative,” he said.


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Hard-Line Indonesian Muslims Seek Shariah End to HIV


Hundreds of hard-line Muslim protesters staged rallies in cities across the country on Sunday to urge the government to prevent the spread of HIV by implementing Islamic law.

Ahead of World AIDS Day on Tuesday, members of the group Hizbut Tahrir took to the streets in several major cities, including Jakarta, Solo, Yogyakarta and Makassar in South Sulawesi.

“We urge everybody to support the application of Shariah in an Islamic caliphate so that, God willing, all of us will be free from the threat of HIV/AIDS,” Hizbut Tahrir spokeswoman Febrianti Abassuni said in a statement.

In Jakarta, more than 200 female demonstrators urged the government to close down brothels and ban condoms, which they said encouraged “free sex and unhealthy behavior.”

One banner read: “Prostitutes, drug users and homosexuals are the agents of immorality.”

In Pekanbaru, Riau, hundreds of high school students joined a Hizbut Tahrir rally, marching along Jalan Sudirman with posters and banners asking the government to clamp down on the sex industry and drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS.

The protesters said government efforts to counter the spread of the deadly virus did not address the root causes of the problem, which they said were the prevalence of casual sex and homosexuality.

“As a result, the number of HIV/AIDS cases in Indonesia has increased quite sharply, as much as sixfold in the last three years,” said Noveriyanti, the chairwoman of the Riau branch of Hizbut Tahrir.

According to data from the Ministry of Health, she added, as of June 2009 there were 17,699 cases of AIDS in the country.

“This situation makes us worry about the future of Indonesia,” she said, “because about 80 percent of the 298,000 people living with HIV/AIDS are in the 20 to 39 age group, so that this nation is in real danger of having a ‘lost generation.’ ”

The protesters called on Indonesians to be obedient to God in all things and asked Muslims to live according to Shariah.

They also demanded that programs providing free condoms for male and female prostitutes be ended and that the sex and pornography industries be closed down.

Around 270,000 Indonesians are estimated to be infected with HIV, and AIDS has claimed about 8,700 lives in a nation of 228 million people, according to the UNAIDS agency.

AFP, Antara

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Indonesia minister says immorality causes disasters


A government minister has blamed Indonesia’s recent string of natural disasters on people’s immorality.

Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring said that there were many television programmes that destroyed morals.

Therefore, the minister said, natural disasters would continue to occur.

His comments came as he addressed a prayer meeting on Friday in Padang, Sumatra, which was hit by a powerful earthquake in late September.

He also hit out at rising decadence – proven, he said, by the availability of Indonesia-made pornographic DVDs in local markets – and called for tougher laws.

According to the Jakarta Globe, his comments sparked an angry reaction on the internet, particularly among those who followed him on social networking site Twitter.

Why focus on public immorality when there was so much within the government, one respondent reportedly asked.

More than 1,000 people died in the Padang earthquake, which toppled hundreds of buildings in and around the city.

Padang lies to the south of Aceh province, which was devastated in the December 2004 Asian tsunami.

Indonesia lies across a series of geological fault-lines and is prone to frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.


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Tomorrow, nightspots in Jakarta must be closed

Translated from:,20091125-210426,id.html

TEMPO Interaktif, Jakarta – All night entertainment places are to be closed starting Thursday (26/11) until Friday (27/11), in respect to the Eid al-Adha (muslim holiday) that fall on Friday (27/11).

“In respecting the religious festivity”, according to DKI Head of tourism and culture Arie Budhiman, Wednesday (25/11). If any of those places insist to stay open, Arie stated that night entertainment place would be sealed or their licence will be suspended.

The night entertainment places that expected to close are; night clubs, discotiques, saunas, massage parlours, gambling, and independent bars.

While there are two places that are allowed to continue operating, Karaoke and live music. But their operating hour is limited only for five hours, starting at 20.30 until 01.30

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Sharia Law Replaces Civil Law in Poor Indonesian Islands – Lewis Simmons

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No Kissing Allowed in Jombang


TEMPO InteractiveJombang: The Regency government of Jombang will highly restrict members of its community from showing affection, hugging, and kissing, all of which could lead to sexual activity in public.

This has already been arranged in a new regional decree No.15/2009 about prostitution restriction.

“Certain sanctions and fines will be imposed on those violating the rule,” said Agus Purnomo, from Jombang’s regulation and legal division, on Thursday (12/11).

However, the regulation is not in force yet as it is still waiting for the regency to issue a guideline for its implementation.

Besides forbidding kissing, the regulation also disallows acts of prostitution or even persuading people to be involved in prostitution.

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Tight pants a no-no for women in Indonesia’s Aceh


JAKARTA, Indonesia – Muslim women would be banned from wearing tight pants in a devoutly Islamic district of Indonesia’s Aceh province under proposed regulations to take effect Jan. 1, an official said Wednesday.

It is the latest effort to promote strict moral values in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, where most of the roughly 200 million Muslims practice a moderate form of the faith.

Any Muslim caught violating the dress code, which also prohibits shorts for men, will be told to put on government-issued full-length skirts or loose pants, said Ramli Mansur, head of West Aceh District.

Patrolling Shariah, or Islamic police, will determine if clothing violates the dress code, he said.

“Wearing tight jeans exposes their bodies, which is strictly banned under Islam,” said Mansur, who appealed to civil servants to go beyond the rules and refuse government services to women wearing the banned clothing.

Islamic law is not enforced across the vast island nation. But bans on drinking alcohol, gambling and kissing in public, among other activities, have been enforced by some more conservative local governments in recent years.

Opinion polls show that a majority of Indonesians oppose the restrictions on dress and behavior that are being pushed by a small fringe of hardliners in the secular democracy.

Aceh, a semiautonomous region, made news last month when its provincial parliament passed a Shariah lawmaking adultery punishable by stoning to death. It also imposed prison sentences and public lashings against homosexuals and pedophiles.

Rights groups say the law violates international treaties and the Indonesian constitution.

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