Indonesian Women Fight For Rights

A coalition of Indonesian women groups is fighting against proposed government legislation which, ostensibly, would halt the spread of pornography, but which they regard as a subtle attack on women rights of expression. Rena Herdiyani, director of the women’s group, Kalanamitra, said, “the bill regulates something that shouldn’t be regulated. It would restrict women’s freedom of expression. It’s not that we are pro-pornography, but they (lawmakers) regard women as only objects, not subjects.” She believes the bill is so vague as to the definition as to what constitutes “pornography” that it could be used to silence the right of women to deal with issues pertaining to their lives and bodies. For example, dances or song lyrics could be classified as “pornographic.” Of course, who would be making the definition as to what constitutes pornography?

Democracy means the open expression of ideas. The prospect of a group of fundamentalist Muslim clerics deciding what constitutes pornography is frightening to say the least.