Porn bill a ‘threat’ to national diversity

Dicky ChristantoThe Jakarta Post ,  Denpasar   |  Thu, 09/18/2008 10:35 AM  |  Bali

An estimated 5,000 Balinese flocked to the local legislative council building here on Wednesday, demanding legislators’ support in rejecting the pornography bill currently being deliberated at the House of Representatives.

Traditional musicians and dancers wearing semi-transparent clothes participated in a mass-rally organized by the Bali People’s Component (KRB) comprising human rights and student activists.

During the rally, which was also attended by members of the Inter-religion National Integration Movement, protesters marched from Bajra Sandhi Renon Square to the legislative council compound.

“We want to show (the rest of) Indonesia that all ethnic groups in Bali are united against a legal product which will hurt our constitution as an archipelagic nation,” Sugi Lanus of KRB said.

He said the bill was the product of a single group’s perspective and did not represent the perspectives of the rest of Indonesia’s ethnic groups.

“Balinese believe the human body has an aesthetic value while the porn bill supporters view it as if it were the source of sin and lust. This is the major difference between us and them,” he said.

Luh Anggraeni, another activist, said the bill was a serious threat to the country’s unity as it discriminated against many other cultures in Indonesia.

Council speaker Ida Bagus Putu Wesnawa who attended the rally vowed that the local council would act.

“We will tell them we will reject the porn bill if it is passed into law,” Wesnawa said.

He said a team comprising local legislators was scheduled to go to Jakarta on Sept. 23, when legislators at the House were slated to commence a final hearing for the bill’s deliberation.

Commenting on the plan, Ketut Kariayasa, head of Commission IV overseeing religion and culture, said he had prepared documents to be used as the team’s basis of arguments once they were in Jakarta.

“If the government insists on passing this bill, the local legislative council here will stand by the Balinese by conducting civil disobedience. That is a promise,” he said.

Balinese musicians also expressed their worry on Tuesday that the enactment of a law on pornography would limit expression through music.

Ari Astina of the band Superman is Dead said anything including songs associated with pornography under the would-be law could be subject to legal punishment, regardless of lyrics.

“Actually whether its pornographic or not depends on how it is seen,” said Ari (aka Jerinx).

— Luh De Suriyani and Ni Komang Erviani contributed to this article.

About erviani

Jatuh cinta dengan dunia jurnalistik sejak bergabung dengan Lembaga Pers Mahasiswa Indikator, Fakultas Ekonomi Universitas Brawijaya. Sempat bekerja untuk Harian Warta Bali, 2003 - 2005, Koresponden Majalah GATRA untuk wilayah Bali, anggota redaksi Media HIV/AIDS dan Narkoba KULKUL, TPI, dan Koran Seputar Indonesia. Menulis lepas kini menjadi aktivitas keseharian. Kini aktif sebagai kontributor untuk beberapa media yakni Bali Daily-The Jakarta Post, Mongabay Indonesia, dan Khabat Southeast Asia.
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