Press Freedom & Playboy

Jun 10th, 2006, in News, by

There is debate over whether Indonesian Playboy magazine can be considered part of the press or as something else.

Antara reports that the Indonesian Journalists' Association, Persatuan Wartawan Indonesia (PWI), has "rejected" Playboy as a product of the press and instead regards it as a product of the pornography industry. The PWI further says that laws regulating the press cannot apply to Playboy and the magazine must be hurled out of the happy Indonesian media family and be subject to criminal law, rather than press law.

The chairman of the PWI, Tarman Azzam, explained:

As a product of the sex industry Playboy is not fit to receive the protection of the press law.
(Sebagai produk industri seks maka Playboy tidak selayaknya mendapatkan perlindungan hukum pers.)

He added that Playboy was just an example of American degeneracy which had made the unwelcome journey to Indonesia. Absolute nonsense of course, there are plenty of magazines in Indonesia, both for male and female audiences, that are far more sexually suggestive than Indonesian Playboy. What's more much of the content of the magazine is clearly serious journalism, actually of a better quality than that which is found in many daily newspapers.

It seems the PWI fears that if the government Press Board agency, the Dewan Pers, takes the view that Playboy is under its authority and then takes action against it then that will encourage the Board to be more pro-active in regulating, and interfering with, other publications. Azzam says:

We don't go along with the view of the Press Board because that means the government is interfering with the freedom of the press.
(Kita tidak sejalan dengan pandangan Dewan Pers tersebut, karena hal ini berarti adanya campur tangan pemerintah dalam peri kehidupan pers.)

So instead of standing up for the right of a harmless glossy like Playboy to publish, and thereby standing up for freedom of the press in the first instance, the PWI tries to disassociate itself from the initial problem, - circling the wagons while leaving one comrade outside to be ripped apart.

Meanwhile the Minister for Communications and Information, Sofyan A. Djalil, has asked the Press Board for clarification over the matter, a "fatwa" regarding the status of the mag.

I will go to the Press Board and ask for a fatwa whether Playboy is a product of the press or part of the pornography business.
(Saya akan datang lagi ke Dewan Pers, meminta 'fatwa', apakah Playboy merupakan produk pers atau bagian dari bisnis pornografi.)

The minister says that if it regarded as porn it can be banned and its publishers arrested. If the Board rules that it is a legitimate part of the press then there is nothing the government can do, it is up to the Board.

The police however have used their eyes and looked at the offending magazine and, as Antara reports, have not yet found anything pornographic, says Brigadier General Bachrul Alam:

If there is pornography in it then we will take action. It's just that until now we haven't found anything pornographic in it.
(Kalau memang ada pornografinya, ya tetap akan ditindak. Hanya saja sampai saat ini tidak ditemukan unsur pornonya.)

But they are still looking.


3 Comments on “Press Freedom & Playboy”

  1. avatar Laura says:

    Islam is not the only religion that wants moral purity. Christians in America may be non-violent in our opposition to pornography, but we suffer in silence. We are surrounded with “soft” porn. Our children are engulfed in it. The constant temptations to “pleasure” do not help our society or our children. I wish Moslems and Christians together could influence society to rid ourselves of this evil.

  2. avatar chacha says:

    hey”¦. wake up to those who they think they do everybody favor. this country need to star to have fridom in every form. to much rule does not even fit with millinium. what a big deal these pretty model only showing what god have blessed her. and those women need to star to embrace themself. you go girls”¦”¦

  3. avatar Lina says:

    I do not understand why it is really big matter. In Middle Eastern Countries which are Muslim Countries have a traditional dancing called belly dancing with really minimum clothes (kind of bikinis), but they are still okay with that. Why fanatic Indonesian Muslims have a problem with Playboy Magazine? Don’t be so naive! When everywhere has some the restrictions, so there are sex abuse or raped cases happen. Because it is something new and they want to try. How many raped cases in Indonesia? Many. So before you complain or protest about anything, think about yourself first. Be smart!

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