Pastika sends anti-porn bill letter to govt

Ni Komang Erviani ,  Contributor, The Jakarta Post ,  Denpasar   |  Wed, 10/08/2008 10:31 AM  |  Bali

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has sent an official letter to the central government in Jakarta announcing the province’s rejection of the controversial porn bill, a senior official said Tuesday evening.

“The letter describes the background and reasoning behind the Balinese people’s position in rejecting the bill,” Bali administration spokesperson Nyoman Puasha Aryana said.

He said the governor had signed the letter Tuesday afternoon.

“And I immediately had a courier take the letter to Jakarta in the evening,” he added.

The letter was addressed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and House of Representatives Speaker Agung Laksono.

Mangku Pastika promised to draft and send the letter during a speech before hundreds of protesters in a street rally on Sept. 23. The rally, organized by the Bali’s People Component (KRB), demanded the governor and the head of the Bali legislative council denounce the bill in an official letter to the central government. The head of the Bali legislative council, IBP Wesnawa, who was present at the rally, agreed to do so.

Aryana said the governor took so long to send the letter because the administration’s legal bureau insisted on assessing every angle of the issue while drafting the letter.

“The bureau had to take into consideration the prevailing social dynamic of the issue, including the public’s general perception of the bill. Most importantly, we had to craft the wording of the letter in a very meticulous manner so it would be able to convey the substance of our rejection clearly and elegantly,” he said.

The core message of the letter, he said, did not differ greatly from a letter sent in 2006 by the then Bali governor Dewa Made Berata. In that year, following a series of street rallies across the island opposing the anti-pornography bill, the governor and the head of the Bali legislative council sent an official letter to the central government declaring the province’s rejection of the bill.

The national House of Representatives eventually postponed the deliberation of that bill until July this year when legislators of several Islamic political parties in the House introduced the revised and shortened version of that bill under the title of pornography bill. Amid protests from various regions across the nation, the legislators are pushing for the bill to be passed before the end of this year.

It has been reported that the House will pass the bill on Oct. 14.

The bill is seen by a majority of Balinese thinkers and activists as a direct threat to the country’s diverse cultural and religious heritage. It is accused of being based solely on the moral standards and religious beliefs of one particular group. Some activists have even said it is high treason against the nation’s founding principle of Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).

Mangku Pastika has repeatedly stated that each and every piece of national legislation must take into consideration the local wisdom and culture of every society in the country. He has urged the national government not to draft any legislation that might compromise the nation’s unity and integrity.

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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