The recent passage of a new law dealing with pornographic material continues to raise serious issues of free speech in Indonesia. Six experts representing various sectors of Indonesian society presented their views to the Constitutional Court. They argued the law imposed restrictions on some cultures in Indonesia, it made unclear the meaning of morality, and violated freedom of speech. “We all agree pornography has to be eradicated,’ said Professor Sulistyowati but she expressed concerns the law prevented some cultures from engaging in dances or displaying art work they regard as appropriate. If implemented it would be more destructive of cultural practices and do little to address genuine concerns about pornography.
The issue of pornography continually crops up because one person’s view as to what is “immoral” is simply not that of other people. Indonesia has dozens of cultural groups and their dances or art work might offend another group. Obviously, Muslims are more restrictive in what can be publicly displayed of the human body, but other religions and cultures have not such feelings.