Indonesia Legislature Passes Anti-Porn Bill

The Indonesian legislature passed a controversial anti-pornography bill that has been denounced by human rights activists and many women groups. Many minority groups and those who defend social justice fear the new bill will erode free speech rights. One opponent argued: “We agree we must protect our nation from pornography, but we can’t accept the substance of this bill.” The bill defines pornography in terms that could place an artist or a comedian or a woman in danger of being arrested. For example, it defines “gestures” that incite pornography as illegal, a definition that could cast a wide variety of behaviors as tantamount to pornography.

The bill allows local groups to take the law into their own hands by acting to get rid of pornographic materials or take action against an individual who they believe is fostering pornography. The bill is so vague that an art exhibition which is termed “pornographic” by a local group can be halted and the organizers thrown in jail.