Crime | Indonesia | Religion

Indonesia: No Porn During Holy Month

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Happy Ramadan to you! Sadly, it will be a sweaty and restless Ramadan in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, for Indonesian Information Technology Minister Tifatul Sembiring shall attempt to eliminate the viewing of online porn during the holy month:

“As this is the Ramadhan fasting month, we need to strengthen our efforts,” ... Sembiring told reporters at a press conference at the ministry on Wednesday. 

Tifatul, known for his antics such as claiming he was “forced” to shake the hand of US First Lady Michelle Obama during a visit to Jakarta, said that the crackdown would focus on local Internet service providers (ISP).

The viewing of porn is always illegal in Indonesia, thanks to the 2008 Pornography Law -- which outlawed both pornography and "pornoaction," which may include kissing one's spouse, wearing bikinis, or the baring of a lady's shoulder -- but, according to The Jakarta Post, porn is especially dangerous during Ramadan:

[According to Ashwin Sasongko, the "director for informatics applications" at the Communication and Information Ministry,] the crackdown was launched for the benefit of Muslims, who were expected to refrain from sexual intercourse during daylight hours during Ramadhan, among other things.

“We are responsible for protecting the younger generation from consuming destructive pornographic content on the internet,” Ashwin said.

“This is really important especially ahead of Ramadhan. We hope that Muslims can fast peacefully,” Ashwin added.

At least one million pornographic websites have been blocked in Indonesia so far. There are at least one million more to go, according to te Communication and Information Ministry, though their math may be untrustworthy -- the Ministry also claims to have received "at least" 100 million complaints about online pornography in the last year, which equals rather a lot of Indonesians Googling pages they don't want to see. (The year before, the Ministry reported just over 800 such complaints.)

The Global Post notes that some Indonesians have been unable to resist porn's evil allure, including at least one Indonesian in Tifatul Sembiring's own political party:

... Tifatul's views are significantly more conservative than the norm in Indonesia, where voters have time and again offered only scant support to his fundamentalist Prosperous Justice Party ... Last year, a parliamentarian with the party resigned after fellow lawmakers caught him watching porn on his mobile phone.

In parliament.

The Jakarta Post notes a Google report that Indonesia ranks third in the world in internet users seeking pornography, behind only China and, for some reason, Turkey. 

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Comments

  1. These religious leaders - of any persuasion, in any capacity - are pure and simply mind-controlling religious fascists!And now comes word that if the Mormon cultist Willard Mittens Romney becomes President, his administration, among many actions devasting for the GLBT community, will crack down on all forms of pornography. There's one way to prevent this waste of tax-payer money and government manpower on this effort - vote for Obama. We don't need a Mormon puppet in the White House dictating how we should live our lives under a Mormon theorcracy.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Jul 21, 2012 9:40:49 AM


  2. As with most religions, the most important concern of the Muslims is to make sure no one is enjoying sex too much, and that when they do enjoy sex, it is according to very specific guidelines, usually set up by people who swear off sex altogether. All morality is ultimately located somewhere in the pelvic region.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jul 21, 2012 9:42:31 AM


  3. Tacky and disrespectful picture, especially during this holy time for Muslims.

    Posted by: patrick | Jul 21, 2012 10:01:03 AM


  4. don't know why the government is all into sex and even dictating the lives those non-muslim Indonesians who don't give a f**k about Ramdan altogether. They should better be giving out 'fatwas' on not raping and killing the society with their obnoxious moral standards.

    Posted by: David | Jul 21, 2012 10:08:16 AM


  5. You know, I thought the point of religious periods like Ramadan and Lent was to encourage meditation and growth in spirituality through *personal* deprivation. Banning porn would be like banning food--you'd make sure the laws were technically followed, but the following would be spiritually meaningless because it requires no personal willpower.

    And @Patrick: I'm not sure that the pic is meant to be disrespectful (I didn't see it that way until you mentioned it, and even then I had to look for a few seconds to see that possible interpretation). But even if it is, why does a religion deserve or need that level of respect from non-adherents? I'm Catholic and we're regularly mocked in all sort of media. Maybe Muslims should just get used to it and be happy with the religious freedom they get in so many countries.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jul 21, 2012 10:26:29 AM


  6. I'm from Indonesia and I feel both annoyed and amused at the same time by this story. Mr. Sembiring is a joke and everyone's making fun of him, but he does have his supporters. Newly-democratic Indonesia in the verge as more and more people are not afraid of showing their love freedom but the same thing goes for the hardline religionists. As of now, Indonesia is not an Islamic country but this could change if more people are lenient toward hardcore religious interpretations. I'm counting on idiotic people like Tifatul Sembiring to make a joke of themselves and steer our way out of that frightening future.

    Posted by: darkorient | Jul 21, 2012 10:38:45 AM


  7. Why is the picture disrespectful? All I see are people praying.

    Posted by: lessthan | Jul 21, 2012 10:54:25 AM


  8. Porn consumption is always high in sexual repressed societies. In the US Utah and some southern states have the highest rates of online porn subscription

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 21, 2012 11:02:49 AM


  9. Is this really news? I've been to muslim countries before and had sites like gay.com blocked in a place as "progressive" as say Dubai. (yes, it was a long time ago heh)

    Posted by: zeddy | Jul 21, 2012 11:34:25 AM


  10. Patrick--I feel no need to show respect for a religion which treats gays as deviants and sinners. They deserve the same lack of respect as right wing Catholics, fundamentalists evangelicals and orthodox Jews. I am willing to ignore the superstitions of tolerant religions. The rest of them get my middle finger.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Jul 21, 2012 11:35:09 AM


  11. ZEDDY: Please don't be ignorant. Dubai is a part of UAE, which is an Islamic country. Indonesia is not an Islamic country, we have beers, strip clubs and weeds here. Our Muslim women don't have to wear veils like in UAE, they are free to drive, have a career and even lead the country. Yes, we had a female president before.

    But it is true that we are the country with the largest Muslim population, and there are indeed religious extremists. They are a minority, for the time being. Indonesia needs more support from the rest of the world and especially from USA to prevent it to fall into the extremist's side.

    Posted by: darkorient | Jul 21, 2012 12:04:18 PM


  12. I've heard it said that the areas with the highest porn consumption are the most socially conservative, and it's easy to see why this would be the case. Although most religions view porn as sinful, porn does satisfy certain needs people have and satisfy them in a relatively harmless way. Although I've never been a fan of porn (although I've seen some porn in my lifetime) I can see why many religious people feel that porn is less harmful than adultery or pre-marital or extra-marital sex. No woman got pregnant from porn. And most men won't fall in love with women they see in porn ads/sites. When I was married my husband kept some porn magazines/videos in the house. He was not a religious believer, so it wasn't a question of violating his beliefs. I didn't feel threatened it at all and viewed the situation pragmatically.

    Posted by: Mary | Jul 21, 2012 12:06:26 PM


  13. Who cares about their religion, the only usefull thing you can do with a koran is whipe your ass with, they are a bunch of goatfucking, child molesting, barely human sadists!!!

    Posted by: Charcus | Jul 21, 2012 12:45:45 PM


  14. Charcus, next time tell us how you REALLY feel.

    I didn't think anything about that picture until Patrick posted. And then I saw it as extremely humorous.

    Imagine having to go around kissing an east-pointing rug 5 times a day when some fanatic starts yodeling into a microphone. Sorry, just more religious mind-control being foisted on an ignorant, superstitious populace. Basically the same as the incense-swinging, fish-hat wearing guys in the red dresses with all the latin mumbo-jumbo being bandied about.

    Organized religion is nothing more than evil mind-control and a money machine.

    Long live spiritualism, it's the only way.

    Posted by: johnny | Jul 21, 2012 1:29:04 PM


  15. Shouldn't he just try to ban it during daylight hours?

    Posted by: BobN | Jul 21, 2012 1:48:16 PM


  16. Indeed I personally think that the world would be a better place without religions. But that doesn't mean I have to hate religious people. How can you hate people for being naive and delusional?

    Posted by: darkorient | Jul 21, 2012 1:59:09 PM


  17. To DarkOrient: Thank you for your insightful comments and you make an excellent point; that when a country is stigmatized by the media for being a statistic, few are willing to look deeper into the situation. Of course, you must also take into consideration that although the three major abrahamic religious faiths of the world have been at odds with one another since their respective beginnings, we have once again escalated our divisiveness in light of the last two decades of wars and terrorist attacks, both internally and externally and involving many countries, rather than seeking common ground.

    Pointing a journalistic finger at one country's SUGGESTED attempts at overtly-controlling morality using a religious context/holiday is just as foolish as the reality of old adage about turning that hand upward to see that three more fingers point back to the accuser.

    Even as open-minded as I would wish to think myself, I cannot, with willing spirit, find any sense of reason within the leadership of any country (including my own) that would attempt the use of religious rhetoric and legislative attempts to dictate morality to me to determine my life's direction. We are just as embattled within the U.S., fighting for our own equality within what is supposed to be a secular form of government, but what we know all too well, is not entirely true. So, to you I say, "Stand up for what you believe in." I have no idea what the consequences of that idealism would be, but for myself, I know that nothing in life is guaranteed.

    If you seek the support of others from around the world, then you must educate them and become an outspoken member of a global community of reason, and you will build your support system. We are all plagued by fundamentalists from time to time which can become a dangerous reality, so it is in our own best interests to see to it that they DO NOT EVER take control of our lives.

    Posted by: ESA | Jul 21, 2012 3:58:59 PM


  18. I think India is the country with the largest Muslim population or the two counties are essentially equal. Neither performs a particularly good census.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 21, 2012 6:18:37 PM


  19. Any place that contain groups, cultures, institutions, religions that has issue with sexuality is where you find the most violent crime.

    Posted by: Wyett Earp | Jul 21, 2012 6:58:15 PM


  20. Its wounder full step of a Muslim country.porn site damage only Muslim new generation.Un fortunately many Muslim countries including my holy country Pakistan not take proper steps against these sites,

    Posted by: Muhammad Nawaz Tahir | Jul 21, 2012 7:23:59 PM


  21. @Anon: India is third, after Indonesia and Pakistan, according to Pew. http://features.pewforum.org/muslim-population/

    Posted by: Rick | Jul 21, 2012 7:57:49 PM


  22. THIS ARTICLE IS SILLY. HOW CAN THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT KNOW WHO HAS "SMUGGLED" ADULT ENTERTAINMENT INTO THEIR HOMES? TWO OR THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING - "PRIME-TIME" FOR ADULT-ENTERTAINMENT VIEWING - DOES NOT SEEM LIKE A TIME IN WHICH GOVERNMENTAL OFFICIALS ARE PEEKING-THROUGH WINDOWS.

    CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON

    Posted by: CHRISTOPHER ALLEN HORTON | Jul 21, 2012 8:19:31 PM


  23. As an Indonesian I can say that this fuss doesn't affect me at all. Either because 1) my ISP didn't participate in the blocking or 2) this blocking is just overblown news, while in reality has very limited scope

    Anyway, that porn law's enforcement is very lax, and usually only affect street vendors that sell bootleg CDSs. Kids still freely date, people can still donwload whatever they wanted, etc.

    Posted by: Al | Jul 21, 2012 11:58:49 PM


  24. @Darkorient: you expressed my views exactly.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 22, 2012 2:19:26 AM


  25. "Holy month" Don't you love it that there are crazy people like this still alive on planet earth in the 21st century.

    Posted by: andrew | Jul 22, 2012 5:48:01 AM


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