Activists Sue over ‘Porn’ Law

JAKARTA ~ Activists filed a lawsuit this week against parliament over a controversial anti-pornography bill that would criminalize kissing in public and erotic dancing.

They said the bill would divide the nation by imposing strict Islamic values on non-Muslim people’s such as Bali’s Hindus and Christians and traditional tribes in Papua.

They also alleged irregularities in drafting the law, and claimed two different versions were distributed to legislators, according to whether they supported or opposed the proposed legislation.

“We ask the court to order the parliament to stop and dissolve the anti-porn bill drafting committee,” Daniel Panjaitan, the group’s lawyer, told reporters.

The move will be a legal precedent if it goes to court.

“The law is not about (bare women’s) navels and behinds. It will be used as a point of entry for cultural uniformity and it won’t stop at that.

“This is a threat that we have to stop before it divides the country,” said singer Frankie Sahilatua, a member of the Bhineka Tunggal Ika alliance, a phrase often used to describe Indonesia that means Unity in Diversity.

“Five provinces have stated that they will break away from Indonesia if this law is passed,” he said.

The bill – which is awaiting a vote in parliament – would make organizing a public display of erotic dancing an offence punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine of Rp1 billion (about US$100,000).

Performing dances deemed erotic, or kissing on the mouth in public, would be punishable by five years in prison or a Rp250-million fine.

Critics say some provisions in the anti-pornography bill would curtail artistic freedom and violate women’s rights.

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