An update on this story, with an interesting detail not included in the first report. The statement from a member of an “Islamic-based” party that the bill would be a “Ramadan gift” to Muslims further explains the urgency with which religious minorities protested it, along with its deliberately vague content.
“Indonesia: Porn bill’s passage deferred amid protests from Balinese,” from Adnkronos International with additional reporting from the Jakarta Post, September 19:
Jakarta, 19 Sept. (AKI/Jakarta Post) – The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) and other hard-line Islamic groups may not be able to present the much-criticised pornography bill as a “Ramadan gift” as the Parliament has delayed passing it amid increasing public resistance.
On Friday, Balinese legislators, artists and tourism operators came to Jakarta to lobby MPs for the bill to be dropped. The bikini-clad tourist centre of Bali (photo) may have to cover up if the bill is passed.
The attempt to define pornography and set a moral tone across the vast, mainly Muslim archipelago of Indonesia has won the support of Golkar, the country’s largest party, but is opposed by the Democratic Party of Struggle, backed by the former president Megawati Sukarnoputri.
The bill was initially scheduled to be brought to a plenary session of the Parliament next Tuesday for endorsement, but this has been indefinitely postponed following protests from several provinces nationwide.
Democratic spokesman Made Arjaya said the Bill could hurt Bali’s tourism industry, which is still recovering from the terrorist bombings of 2002-2005.
A member of the Parliament’s special committee deliberating the bill, Yoyoh Yusroh, said on Thursday it needed to extend the deliberation period.
The schedule for a plenary session to pass the bill into law remains tentative as the deliberation process is subject to change, said Yoyoh, a legislator with the Islamic-based PKS.
PKS faction chairman Mahfudz Siddiq said last week the bill, which was presented to the Parliament three years ago, would be passed within a few weeks as a “gift” for Muslims during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Yoyoh said the next hearings, scheduled for after the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, would include meetings with the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Justice and Human Rights Ministry, the Communications and Information Ministry and the State Ministry for Women’s Empowerment.
The bill continues to spark controversies, with some critics saying it threatens the right to privacy as well as pluralism in the country. Many of its articles are “contentious and vague”, they added.
Opponents also say the bill may spark national disintegration, and that it is not urgent as it overlaps with the Criminal Code and existing laws, including on child protection, broadcasting and the press.