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Ramadan Means a Crackdown on Porn for Indonesia

by Tanya Thomas on  August 12, 2010 at 10:33 AM Lifestyle News   - G J E 4
Indonesia, gripped in recent months by a sex scandal involving local celebrities, will mark the start of Ramadan Wednesday with a campaign against pornography.
 Ramadan Means a Crackdown on Porn for Indonesia
Ramadan Means a Crackdown on Porn for Indonesia
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Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring, a member of the conservative Islamic party, called a news conference on the eve of the month-long period of dusk-to-dawn fasting at which he renewed a promise to act against porn sites.

Quoting a poem, Sembiring called on Muslims to "keep hearts clean in the holy month," and said that he would target websites and media that carried sexual content.

Already 200 Internet service providers in Indonesia have since last month agreed to block sites that displayed sexual activity and nudity, and "their efforts are extraordinary," Sembiring said.

"It's not an easy task as there are four million local and international porn sites," he said, but added that he was unable to say how many sites had been shut out of Indonesia.

"I've promised before there will be efforts to close porn sites... This Ramadan hopefully traffic to porn sites can be reduced by more than 90 percent," he said.

Sembiring's call follows President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's support for a Web filter, saying in June that his country must not "stay naked and be crushed by the information technology frenzy."

With 240 million people making it the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, Indonesia was scandalised in June by the online release of videos apparently showing local celebrities engaging in sex.

Rock singer Nazril Ariel, 28, a divorcee, is still in police custody on pornography charges after his arrest in June.

Ariel appears in separate videos with models and television personalities Luna Maya, 26, also his current girlfriend, and ex-girlfriend Cut Tari, 32.

Both women have been questioned but not arrested over the videos.

A music engineer with the initials "RJ" was arrested in July for allegedly uploading the videos to the Internet.

The footage, which was widely distributed across the Internet, prompted clerics to issue an edict banning Muslims from watch certain gossip shows on Indonesian television.

Shows which dished out intimate details of people's private lives were immoral and threatened society, said the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI).

Gossip shows should be allowed only if they "uphold the law, warn the public and help people," said MUI chairman Maaruf Amin, who hoped that "pornography and immoral content" would be kept out of all TV programmes during Ramadan.

"Hopefully, Ramadan will set a momentum for the media to clean up their programmes and keep them free of pornography and filth. If we can't wipe them out totally, at least minimise them," he told AFP.

Freelance magazine photographer Ahmad Fadilah, 35, who admitted to watching Internet porn occasionally, said hoped access will restricted only to hardcore porn sites such as those showing bestiality and unnatural sex.

"Go ahead and block the really vulgar and disgusting ones but please leave the beautiful, artistic ones alone. Anyway, if sites are blocked, there are other ways to access porn, like from VCD," Fadilah said.

"Sometimes people like to say Ramadan is a month to cleanse your heart and mind. But people still watch porn and who will find out if they do it quietly?"

Source: AFP

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