Cultural concerns hold up Indonesia porn Bill

 

INDONESIA:Indonesia's parliament has postponed plans to table a controversial anti-pornography Bill after growing opposition from critics who say it could damage native cultural traditions.

The Bill aims to shield the young from pornographic material and lewd acts, but also contains provisions that could see people being jailed for kissing in public and could criminalise many forms of art and traditional culture that hinge on sensuality.

Parliamentarians in the world's most populous Muslim nation have so far stopped short of passing the Bill because of claims it could jeopardise Indonesia's tradition of tolerance and polarise the country.

Some political parties had been hoping for the Bill's approval this month as the final draft was due to be tabled in parliament on September 23rd.

So far at least two parties - the Christian Peace and Welfare Party and the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) - have rejected the proposed Bill.

Parliament has also watered it down following criticism and street protests over the issue early last year. Critics say vigilante groups could take the law into their own hands under the pretext of upholding morality.

Opposition has mounted in the past week, especially on the predominantly Hindu island of Bali, where about 1,000 people marched in protest.

"We are a country of very plural characteristics," said Agung Sasongko, a PDI-P deputy. "And the way people dress from the westernmost tip to the easternmost tip are varied, some more covered and some more revealing."

Nude sculptures and paintings are common in culturally rich Bali, while in the eastern province of Papua some tribal men wear just penis gourds. - (Reuters)