Protest by Yogyakarta residents ridicules anti-pornography law

Source – September 22, 2008
Banner reads 'Reject the Anti-Pornography Law' (liputan6)
Banner reads 'Reject the Anti-Pornography Law' (liputan6)

Bagus Kurniawan, Yogyakarta – Scores of residents in the Central Java city of Yogyakarta held an action today opposing the enactment of the Draft Anti-Pornography Law. The reason, the draft law will harm the Indonesian nation’s spirit of diversity.

The action by protesters from the Yogyakarta Forum for Diversity (YUK!) was held on the ground of the Yogyakarta Regional House of Representatives building on Jl. Malioboro on Monday September 22. The action was joined by representatives from a number of different organisations.

Action coordinator Emanuel Fanen said that the substance of the current draft is not very different from the earlier one and it still contains many elements that are in conflict with social life and could be misleading. “The draft law is very much in conflict with the spirit of Article 45 of the 1945 Constitution and does not reflect the spirit of reformasi”, said Fanen in a speech.

According to Fanen, those who formulated the law do not realise Indonesia is a multicultural society and people cannot just be lumped together. The state cannot be allowed to interfere with how its citizens dress and act. If this is done it will be a violation of human rights. The draft law could also give rise to potential horizontal and vertical conflicts and threatens the unity and integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia. “If the draft law is ratified we are concerned that it will be taken advantage of by a handful of people or certain rogue elements”, she said.

A number of other participants also took the opportunity to make fun of the law. They said that if the draft anti-pornography law is ratified women will no longer be able to play futsal (a kind of soccer game with eight players played on a small field) wearing tight shorts. Dangdut (Arabic and Indian-infused pop music) dances during the celebration of Independence Day will also be banned. Even swinging the hips while walking will be forbidden because all of these things can be deemed to be a form of pornography.

The protest action proceeded in an orderly fashion with police simply standing guard in the vicinity of the location. They plan to continue the demonstration later in the afternoon in front of the Gedung Agung Yogyakarta Presidential Palace on Jl. Ahmad Yani with a number of artistic attractions.

The protesters also brought a number of posters and the state symbols of the Garuda Pancasila bird and the red-and-white national flag. These were brought as a way of reflecting the nation’s spirit of diversity.

The poster that were brought, included messages such as “The draft pornography law will ban girls from playing futsal”, “The draft pornography law will ban the wearing lipstick in front of the house” and “The draft pornography law will ban the sale of bras and underpants in markets”. (bgs/djo)

[Translated by James Balowski.]