IBRAHIM ISA'S - SELECTED NEWS AND VIEWS
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
PRESIDENT SBY SIGNS PORN LAW, PROTESTERS DESPAIR
Abdul Khalik , The Jakarta Post, Jakarta|Tue,12/09/2008
Defying persistent protests by a number of provinces and scores of civil society groups, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has signed the anti-pornography bill, ratifying a law that criminalizes any sex-related materials deemed to violate public morality.
Yudhoyono’s special staff for legal affairs Denny Indrayana said Monday the President enacted the law right after he returned home from a two-week world tour on Nov. 26.
“It becomes Law No. 44/2008 on anti-pornography. The President signed it because it was already a national consensus,” Denny told The Jakarta Post.
He said the government was now preparing a regulation to implement the law.
However, resistance to the law remains widespread, with some provinces — including Bali, Papua, North Sulawesi and East Nusa Tenggara — rejecting it out of hand.
Balinese and the island’s local administration have threatened to forge a civilian disobedience to protest the law, and other rights and religious groups have said they would file a judicial review with the Constitutional Court (MK) if the law were ratified.
Kamala Chandrakirana, chairwoman of the National Commission on Violence Against Women, said she was gravely disappointed with Yudhoyono’s decision, saying his action had diminished public trust in his leadership and his cause to promote pluralism.
“It is a betrayal of our own national values. Komnas Perempuan and many other organizations are now consolidating and seriously studying each article within the law to be ready to submit a judicial review with the MK soon,” she said.
The ratification of the law also means Yudhoyono has defied one of his advisors, Adnan Buyung Nasution, who recommended the President not sign or ratify the law, warning it could threaten national unity.
“I was too late. I sent a letter on Nov. 27 telling the President not to sign the bill. But I learned later he had signed it. I will meet him Wednesday to ask him about it,” he said.
Wednesday is International Human Rights Day.
Buyung, however, said he was optimistic the MK would grant a judicial review, adding that the law violated the Constitution as it could not be enacted equally throughout the country.
The passage of the bill into law at the House of Representatives in October was also met with strong opposition from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS).
The bill has survived protracted protests from rights activists and pluralist organizations who have said some articles could lead to national disintegration.
An article that allows members of the public to take action to destroy pornographic material has raised fears several groups could take the law into their own hands and have grounds to justify the use of violence and intimidation.
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Fri, 12/12/2008 10:36 AM | Reader's Forum
For those opposed to the anti-pornography bill, please read the text of the law carefully (academically) and compare them with laws in the U.S. (i.e., Texas's Penal Code Ch.43 on Offenses against public order and decency, or Alabama's Penal Code Ch. 12 on Offenses Against Public Health & Morals).
You will see that word by word the text of the anti-pornography bill is not that much different from the U.S. law. The U.S. law evens use the much-hated terminology "community standard" for decency and "arouse interest" (the merangsang word most people hate so much).
If you consider the West as a benchmark for democracy and law, then you should be very happy and should not complain. The fact that the Indonesian law even put in an exception (in article 14 if I'm not mistaken) for culture, arts, bikinis, and etc., is already a step forward to address the fears of our friends in Bali, Papua, or our photographer friends, photo models, sculptors, painters and etc.
As for you who still hate Tangerang's bylaw on prostitution, please read California's penal code on loitering for sex (street prostitution).
You will see that even one of the most liberal states still has regulations for public order. And yes, the law on loitering for sex in California also allows law enforcers to arrest woman/man if they "look like a prostitute or act like a prostitute or even stand beside the street in places where prostitutes hang out" with the last article on the section giving the law enforcers the ability to judge whether or not these people should be arrested based on the law enforcer's perception as to whether or not they may be prostitutes.
The only difference, the Tangerang law does not put you in jail while these other laws do. So for the anti-public order or anti-morality law people, please kindly realize that this is a step forward which should be applauded.
The Texas and Alabama state laws are in fact penal codes for prostitution, not pornography. The states have very different sets of laws concerning those issues. In the U.S. (or at least most of it's states, as far as I know) porn is legal but regulated.
The real kicker, however, is your comparison between California and Tangerang. Prostitution is illegal in most states, yes. California police officers have the right to arrest, you're right.
The difference is California police officers are not reckless and corrupt. They are actually trained to know the difference between a passerby and an actual prostitute. Also, arrests here do get you in jail, just as the arrests in Tangerang do.
The difference is that the Californian prostitutes get a real and fair hearing with a real judge, while Tangerang "prostitutes" do not get a fair trial and are judged by a bunch of sexist dimwits. To compare California and Tangerang is really like comparing heaven and hell.
I heard on TV one that "Indonesia is a nation with the most frequent access to pornography, beating out the U.S., European countries and Russia." If it's true, then how alarming, how shameful it is. I am speaking as a father of a child.
This law makes women criminals. It doesn't protect women at all. And SBY didn't consider other people from several provinces who still resist this racial law. I don't think SBY knows what he's doing. He has wounded our Bhineka Tungal Ika.
SBY sets the bar low for Indonesia and even lower for himself, way down to the lowest common denominator. You have just gone back 50 years Indonesia, what westerner will want to come there for a holiday.
This president finally made a major decision - sends his country back to the dark ages and opens the door to vigilante. Indonesia, you don't deserve neither the Porn Law nor this president! With a crisis looming that will impact latest after the first quarter 2009 this government concentrates on fatal trivialities.
You pick two of the most backward states in the US- Texas and Alabama. You know, they execute more people than just about any other state. Should Indonesia really use the most backward of the United States as a model example? In Alaska, they have a law on the books criminalizing sex with a moose, should Indonesia adopt that law too? It's a silly argument.
As per the reference California, there is a distinct difference between a woman waiting for a bus in the late evening because she had to work late and a prostitute. If the authorities in Tanggerang or Jakarta fear the rise in prostitution, they should work hard to break up human trafficking rings, not harass women who work hard to provide for their families and as a result, must leave for home after dark
The question is, do you really trust the Indonesian government and police to apply the law fairly and equally?
The crucial part of the law is the definition of pornography, which the law still defines as pretty much anything (including writings and conversations!) that contain "obscenity" or "violates the norms of community".
What is obscenity? Who gets to decide the norms of the community? And which community does the law refer to? The law does not say, and that's what makes it a terrible law.
If a woman is wearing a tanktop in public, under this law she could be arrested for being obscene because the law is so vague that a lawyer could argue she is violating the norms of society (in this case "the norms of society" are the norms of the Islamic extremist taking over the government) and being obscene by showing her shoulders. If you think that is ridiculous and that the courts would throw out such a case, then I ask you, have you ever been to a court in Indonesia? They are complete jokes where the worst kinds of people get to be judges and a little bit of money will buy a lot of injustice.
The law does not define it and that leaves such vague things as PUBLIC sex to be loosely interpreted by, often, bigoted and medieval minds...the ones who find themselves offended by such. imised. And you don't see those things unless you go to the pages, which are accessed voluntarily.
Dear Mr. Wackel Dackel,
If we don't want Muslims to force Syariah on us then don't force liberal immoral values on us either. We're not ready for that. We're struggling with making a decent living already to be exposed to such immorality. We don't want to be like like Thailand where many western tourist only come to enjoy the red light districts full of strippers & hookers. I heard even poor farmers there were selling their children to prostitutions to make money. The police there are so corrupt they pretend not to know. If this is the alternative then I'd rather support the porn law even as a Christian from eastern Indonesia. We have let immorality goes unchecked so there must be consequences.
It is very clear, the government wants to have civil and religious war in indonesia.
Thats the only reason why someone can sign such a crap of law..
Dear Mr. Joshua
That Law is very hostile against different Cultures in this Country. What Authorities will do against the old Statues, specially in Bali, where a Penis or a Breast is Shown, because it is Part of their Culture ? Destroy it ? Cover it ? Deny the existence of Genitals because it is "Pornography" ?
If you are so concerned about the safety of the Children's why the Government is not implementing a better Education System or does something against Child work, or having a better Health care System or .. or .. or ... , Indonesia indeed has way bigger Problems than enforcing that useless Law.
Before presiding over the finer points of public morality perhaps the Muslim 'leaders' behind this unecesary law should first get their own house in order.
Loudspeaker volume contests between local mosques make it difficult to pray or to read the Quran in peace. In other countries there are fatwas and laws to regulate this disturbance. The minaret is for making the Adhan, not for announcing who has given money to the mosque or for children to learn how to scream at a microphone. We have enough people in this country who can make too much thoughtless noise without educating any more.
A priviliged Muslim who should be setting an example to others instead made a public show of marrying an underage girl after selecting her by a beauty contest. Others have made a public show of giving alms or Zakat.
Hajj funds, which is money from ordinary Muslims who have saved their whole lives to make the Hajj to Makkah is squandered and embezzled.
When we have these things attended to, Mr President, then maybe we can afford the luxury of laws that duplicate existing ones.
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