Indonesia Must Resist Internet ‘Frenzy’: President


President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono says the country must not stand “naked” before modern information technology, signalling his support for an Internet filter to block porn.

The world’s most populous Muslim-majority country has been scandalised by the recent online release of homemade X-rated videos apparently showing popular local celebrities engaging in hardcore sex.

The celebrities — rock singer Nazril Ariel and television personalities Luna Maya and Cut Tari — deny uploading the clips but could still face up to 12 years in jail for breaches of the country’s 2008 anti-pornography law.

Until now Yudhoyono had steered clear of the scandal, but when reporters asked him to comment the normally taciturn ex-general unleashed a torrent of criticism at the internet and its supposed threat to Indonesian values.

“We have increasingly realised that our nation should not stay naked and be crushed by the information technology frenzy, because there will be many victims,” he said on Friday.

The scandal highlighted the need for further regulation of the Web, he said.

“Other countries have already have regulations on this… The incident has made us think about the best thing that should be done. Negative impacts on our society should be avoided,” he said.

Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring, of a conservative Islamic party, has used the “Peterporn” scandal — named after Ariel’s band Peterpan — to revive plans to filter the internet for content deemed “negative” and immoral.

Sembiring received the backing of influential lawmakers this week and has promised to issue a ministerial decree by the end of the year to “save the young” from Internet porn.

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most-populous country and has about 40 million internet users, according to Internet World Stats.

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