The first Indonesian version of Playboy magazine came out today. Despite the fact that it does not contain nudity and is not any more raunchy than other established magazines its publication has met with much opposition.
Playboy, first edition cover.
The magazine costs 39,000 rupiah or about $4.50. The cover features the model Andhara Early and inside she is featured in about 5 photos, sexily posed but with the important bits covered. It is mainly article based and features an interview with the celebrated novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer.
Andhara Early with underpants clearly visible.
Opposition to the magazine has come from predictable quarters. The Islamic Defenders Front were first out of the blocks, saying it's all about the name:
The first edition might be tame, but it will get more vulgar. Even if it had no pictures of women in it, we would still protest it because of the name.
said FPI spokesman Tubagus Muhamad Sidik, who may or may not have been frothing at the mouth as he spoke.
The Front staged a demonstration outside the offices of Playboy and one member was seen to be stamping on a copy of the offending magazine to show his opposition to what he called "the right hand of America".
I refuse to read this.
Hidayat Nurwahid, the speaker of the parliament, said that the publication was a kick in the teeth for the people of Indonesia, who were largely opposed to it.
He said that freedom had to be qualified by responsibility towards society and asked the people to reject Playboy firmly but without violence. Hidayat Nurwahid, who is a former leader of the PKS, was another who harped on the name thing.
Just by looking at the name of the magazine the people reject it.
Dumb people then. From the point of view of what is actually inside the magazine, he said, the first edition was a trick and later editions would be full of sex and pornography.
Meanwhile the Minister for Youth and Sport, continuing the stream of thick-as-two-planks commentary, said that Playboy had to be rejected because it had connotations of pornography and nudity.
And in the city of Makassar in south Sulawesi province about 30 morally motivated university students demonstrated against the sale of Playboy in their fair town, saying it was "forbidden". As is the tradition in this rather rough neck of the woods tires were burned and streets blocked as the students also demanded that the regional government ban the magazine.