Balinese Rally Again over Porn Bill

ruu.jpgDENPASAR ~ Around 1,000 people protested in Bali on Tuesday against a proposed anti-pornography law.
Governor Made Mangku Pastika told the crowd the bill overlapped with existing legislation and trampled local customs in a country of ethnic, religious and cultural diversity.
“The parliament should enforce other laws on the sex industry but don’t endorse a new law on pornography, especially if that law only accommodates a single group’s perspective and disrespects others’,” he said.
He said regulations in the media law, the criminal code, the broadcasting law and the child protection law should be enough to control pornography and set a moral tone for the country.
The bill before parliament in the mainly Muslim country has drawn criticism for being too vague in its definition of pornography and for encouraging vigilante groups to take the law into their own hands.
Critics in mainly Hindu Bali say it will threaten local religious and cultural traditions, and hurt the lucrative tourism industry.
The bill would criminalize all public acts and material capable of raising sexual desires or violating “community morality,” including dance, music and poetry.
Tuesday’s protest was held outside the governor’s mansion, the second such demonstration against the bill in less than a week.
They performed traditional dances, songs and poems that could be deemed pornographic under the broad terms of the bill.
Activists have pledged to wage a campaign of civil disobedience if the bill is passed into law, but Governor Pastika said he would not support such action.
“We will think it over and find the best way to respond,” he said.
The bill has been pushed by conservative Muslim parties and has won the backing of the main secular Golkar Party, which is struggling for votes ahead of elections next year.
Lawmakers have postponed a vote on the bill until later this year in response to the public outcry.

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