Internet a Risk to Indonesia Says Minister


The country’s communications minister says a celebrity sex video scandal shows the internet is a threat to the nation and has vowed to issue a decree to curb its use.

“We want to minimise the negative impact from the internet as it will destroy this nation,” Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring, from the Muslim-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), told reporters on Wednesday.

The country has been titillated and scandalised in equal measure by the appearance on the internet of two explicit clips showing a popular local rock singer having sex with two models and television presenters.

The stars have claimed they are being defamed but have not denied it is them in the videos, amid a police probe that could see them jailed for lengthy sentences under a controversial anti-porn law passed in 2008.

Sembiring has condemned the celebrities and used the scandal to revive his ambitions to restrict access to morally suspect sites on the Internet, after an earlier plan was shelved due to widespread opposition.

He said the decree would be dusted off and issued soon after receiving the backing of lawmakers in the parliament’s Commission I, which is in charge of communications and information affairs.

The decree would make it illegal to distribute or provide access to pornography or gambling services on the Internet, as well as anything that spreads religious hatred or threats, and any news deemed “misleading.”

Web content that “humiliates the physical condition or abilities… of other parties” also could be blocked, along with anything which violated privacy by, for example, disclosing someone’s educational background.

Sembiring said he would also implement a request from the commission to require all internet cafes and schools to install software to filter websites with content listed as negative.

“This is very good… we will implement it soon,” he said.

Critics say the measures have not been thought through and represent a throwback to the era of information control under the dictatorship of military strongman general Suharto, who was ousted in 1998.

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One Response to “Internet a Risk to Indonesia Says Minister”

  1. Chris @ nomad4ever Says:

    The ‘communications minister’ is saying that the internet poses a risk and will destroy the country? Ah yes. Big FAIL! 🙁

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