Erwin Arnada

Dec 16th, 2006, in News, by

The trial of Playboy editor Erwin Arnada.

PT Velvet Silver Media launched a tame version of Playboy magazine in Indonesia in April 2006 and managed to put out three editions, 1, 2, 3, which drew protests from conservative Muslim groups who demanded it cease publication. Its office was relocated to the safe haven of Bali (although not all Balinese were pleased) after its Jakarta office was attacked by the Islam Defenders Front, Front Pembela Islam (FPI).

Erwin Arnada
Erwin Arnada, happy early but not now.

A complaint was filed against the magazine’s editor, Erwin Arnada, and his trial for publishing indecent material began on 7th December. He faces up to three years imprisonment if convicted.

The man whose complaint to police led to the prosecution of Arnada was Baharuzaman, the co-chairman of the FPI. He testified on the 14th in court that Playboy was “the world’s icon of pornography” and that it “violated norms of morality and politeness”. He also pointed out that the publication of such material was in violation of a Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI) fatwa of 2001. metrotv

Baharuzaman, or Bahar, went on: republika

I reported the magazine to the police because it did dirt on society, especially children.
(Saya laporkan pada polisi bahwa majalah ini meresahkan masyarakat terutama anak-anak.)


The name “Playboy” means a man who likes to play around with women. It’s an icon of world pornography.
(Playboy dari judulnya saja Lelaki Hidung Belang, suka mempermainkan perempuan. Ikon majalah porno dunia.)

Indonesia, as a Muslim majority nation, could not allow Playboy to publish, he said, as it would damage the nation’s morals.

FPI Power
FPI Power – FPI men remind the court that God is great.

Meanwhile Syamsul Huda of a group called Anti Pembajakan dan Pornografi testified that the magazine was openly sold on the streets, even near religious schools.

The trial will continue on the 21st of December. Two of the models who appeared in the first edition, Andhara Early and Kartika Oktavini, will go on trial shortly.

December 21st

Arnada’s trial was continued today but the hearing was closed to the public.

A number of Islam Defenders Front (FPI) members expressed their disappointment over Judge Efran Basuning’s decision, saying that the two previous hearings were not carried out behind closed doors.

Judge Basuning did not give his reasons but promised that the verdict would later be read in an open session.

January 17th 2007

Erwin’s trial continued today behind closed doors. He is threatened with two years and eight months imprisonment

Two models who appeared in the magazine, Andhara Early from the first edition, and Xochitl Pricilla alias Fla Pricilla from the second edition of Playboy, as well as photographer Okke Gania, appeared in court as witnesses.

Muslim protestors at the court
More fists in the air.

As the three were leaving the court scuffles broke out between police and members of hardline Islamic groups, the Islam Defender’s Front, or Front Pembela Islam (FPI), the Misi Islam, and the Muslimah Peduli Umat Bekasi. One member of Misi Islam was arrested. Protesters were heard to have called Early a “cheap prostitute” who would go to hell and said “I hope your daughter gets raped”. antara


March 13th 2007.

The prosecution have requested a two-year sentence for Arnada. The defence will respond on 22nd March. antara

The head of the Majelis Mujahiddin Indonesia (MMI) Abu Bakar Ba’asyir attended the trial and expressed his great disappointment at the leniency of the 2-year sentence proposal. Baasyir requested that Arnada be sentenced to death, because the latter had damaged the morals of the nation. About 400 police armed with two water cannons were on standby outside the courthouse. detik


March 23rd 2007.

The defence pled their case yesterday, saying that the pictures of women in the magazine were artistically done and meant to show the beauty of the subjects. The prosecution will respond on 5th April. l6


March 30th 2007.

Article in the Wall Street Journal on Playboy and Arnada, subscribers only wsj. Some excerpts:

The Playboy affair captures the world’s most populous Muslim country’s steady slide toward intolerance. But the silence with which it has been greeted in the U.S. “” no press releases from the Committee to Protect Journalists clog my inbox “” also underscores the cringe of bien pensant America toward the export of popular culture, especially to Muslim lands. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an NGO head or professional pundit eager to stand up for Playboy, or for that matter for Baywatch or Desperate Housewives. For the most part, such fare is seen as a provocation. Why give the permanently angry Muslim street another excuse to seethe?

In reality, the problem is not Playboy’s predilection for the scantily clad, but Islamists’ tendency to fly into a rage over a flash of thigh or a bare midriff. (There’s no nudity in the Indonesian edition.) American popular culture ought to be celebrated rather than derided. In its crass commercialism and blithe disregard for Islamist sensibilities lie the greatest hopes of bringing Muslim societies to terms with modernity.

In practical terms, Islamist movements around the world “” from Hamas in the Palestinian territories to the Jamaat-e-Islami in the Indian subcontinent to Indonesia’s Justice and Prosperity Party “” follow a two-pronged strategy. They seek to emulate the West’s science and technology while walling off their societies from the taint of Western culture. These groups see the path to an Islamist state through the creation of a fundamentalist society. This requires shutting down anything that gets in the way.


April 5th 2007.

Erwin Arnada was not convicted. Judge Erfan Basuning said the prosecution had used the wrong law in its charges against Erwin. The prosecution had only employed the criminal code in its charge sheet however because Playboy was a product of the press and contained not only pictures but reading material the relevant law was the Press Code, said the judge. Legal costs were awarded against the state.

The prosecutor’s office have seven days with which to decide whether to charge Erwin under a different statute – a spokesman said they would think about it.

Erwin Arnada
Erwin Arnada in court.

When the verdict was read out members of Islam Defenders’ Front, Front Pembela Islam (FPI), remained quiet. After leaving the court room they broke into cries of “Allahu Akbar” and one said: detik

This country is now a pornography country.

Hidayat Imran of the FPI says his organisation will in May file suits against other mens’ magazines such as Popular and Maxim. republika

After the verdict Erwin met the press, holding a picture of the Playboy bunny symbol with the words “God Save the Bunnies” on it, and said that today was like a first birthday gift for Playboy Indonesia, because the magazine was one year old. detik

18 Comments on “Erwin Arnada”

  1. Tomaculum says:

    And the spreading of true, hard core pornography in internet goes on and on.

  2. Mohammed Khafi says:

    There are many Indonesian mens magazines which are much more graphic than Playboy so I am told. Whilst I am not suprised that FPI are involved in this as they are “religious thugs for hire” I am somewhat dismayed that the police have also allowed themselves to be bought off. I would not be suprised if there are not other players in the background pulling the strings and facilitating all of this! All it does is divert the police, judiciary and maybe more importantly the public’s attention away from more important matters, or perhaps that is the reason?

  3. Tomaculum says:

    to my opinion pornography exists in one’s thought. When I see a naked woman in a picture or as a painting (Picasso a. e.) I wouldn’t call it pornography, because I would surely not turned on by such things.

  4. Mohammed Khafi says:


    I agree with you completely, the female form is a thing of beauty in most of it’s various shapes and sizes. One of Gods amazing creations to be appreciated and admired.

  5. Andrew says:

    Call that that same magazine something else, and we’ll see a different treatment.
    Popular has similar content, yet nothing happens to it.

    Those dogs are barking up the wrong tree.

  6. Ihaknt says:

    One word to these people: MUNAFIK!!! And yes Andrew and all of the above post-ers, I cant agree with you more! I wonder where their brains are? Religious thugs for hire, and they call themselves as religious/religion defenders? They’re just f***ing perverts and ignorant twats. All things that go wrong in their lives, they blame it on American influence. The more they protest the more they show that they are all just in a huge ‘sandiwara’ in the name of religion. Indonesians, what have you become? more and more behind by the day…


    If playboy is banned than should the other men magazines that show that kinda pictures. Do these people think about the potential job loss? I guess their brain is too small and may hurt if they ever use it!

  7. Fanglong says:

    Again with Tom (Dec. 16, 1:28 pm) I do agree. Does anyone need links to beauty-butchers’ sites ? Maybe should we cut FPI’s right fists : aren’t they stealing people’s freedom with their hystery ?

  8. Karlira Kanakahuko says:

    I hope Erwin Ananda is not guilty, because his playboy edition magazine has no nudity. In fact, local magazine is something more “x-rated” and more lustrous than playboy magazine. Playboy magazine is banned in Indonesia? I hope it is false. I always watch more pictures and videos of nude Indonesian men/boys and women/girls uncensored or x-rated, including sex scandal of Yahya Zaini and Maria Eva. All FPI are hypocrite. I also see pictures of nude Indon man on one sex website who is member of FPI, that’s why we call them hypocrite.

  9. Arthur Wneir says:

    I like to contact mrs Arnada. I’m a french journalist. I would like to speak with him about his trial.

  10. Until He returns says:

    Playboy?? If you are a normal man then looking at porn is a turn on! There is a difference in art and porn and I believe we all know that. The question would be this…Would God be pleased with the material we look at? I believe not! He calls for purity and a clean heart. The old testiment clearly shows how people continued to put idols before God and yet we continue to do the same thing. When will we learn? You all know that porn is wrong, grow up and get some type of morals in your life!

  11. Andrew says:

    FPI and it’s kind is poisoning Indonesia in the name of a religion. Their movement is a cultural revolution shrouded in religious excuse. They intend to wear out Indonesia’s own culture and identity, and replace it with Arab’s – or whatever it is.

    Unfortunately, a lot of Indonesians bite the bait. They think wearing robes, turbans, growing long beards and shouting Arab words are way cooler than wearing traditional costumes and speaking native languages. They think hating westerners is more important than resolving domestic issues. They think denouncing western leaders is more important than bringing corrupt Indonesian officials to justice.

    Apparently 50+ years of being independent did not make (most) Indonesians wiser. Maybe it is true that Indonesia is destined to be occupied by other nations/cultures – one way or another. Sad? yes, but that seems to be the truth.

    God, open their eyes and minds.

  12. pj_bali says:

    For an interesting discussion on this issue have a look at the “Indonesia anonymus” site, specifically have a look at the entries titled “we are infidels” and 127 hatemails, VERY amusing.

    As for the morality issue I will steal a quote from the past.

    “We have, in fact, two kinds of morality side by side: one which we preach but do not practice, and another which we practice but seldom preach. ”

    as for the FPI

    “The people who are regarded as moral luminaries are those who forego ordinary pleasures themselves and find compensation in interfering with the pleasures of others. ”


  13. Robert says:

    This will put Indonesia on the Worldmap, a trial for a person who is publishing a magazine with fully clothed women, while people who take the law into their own hands walk around free. This atmosphere of lawlessness surely won’t attract foreign people or investors, they will observe Indonesian developments argus-eyed.

  14. Andrew says:

    Have they done anything to Popular’s editor? definitely the 2 magazines are in the same league.

    Oh, I forgot, this is Indonesia, where the law bends down to the demand of anyone who speaks louder and threatens worse. Where everybody with money is above the law.

    I guess if BOBO switched name to “Penthouse”, its editor would be sued, too for “damaging the morals of the nation”.

  15. Robert says:


    You are right, it’s all in the title. Erwin Arnada should have given the magazine another name like “Popular Electronics”, “Indonesian Medical Review” or “Homecooking”. Then ABB wouldn’t have even noticed.

  16. Ihaknt says:

    That FPI dude who yelled out that it’s now a pornographic country probably went to get a copy himself. What a waste of money for the state, people with sanity knows that he’s not doing anything wrong. Not a smart thing to do, perhaps, but I don’t think he is doing anything wrong. I have seen the PB, it’s far tamer than other mags or tabloids. The people who should be prosecuted are those of FPI.

  17. Alfred says:

    I have arrived here after reading the BBC story on the prosecution and subsequent release of the editor of ‘Playboy Indonesia’. I really wanted to write to the FPI directly but could not find an email address suitable, hence using a public BBS.

    Devout Muslims and relgious people in general are such hypocrites! To make demands about a magazine that publishes photos of models who are paid and treated much better than the poor girls working the brothels frequented in secret by men of the cloth/book/church/mosque is just laughable! I am sure that if you asked every prostitute in every small town in Indonesia if any devout Muslim men had ever paid them for sex they would all say yes. Alawi Usman himself is probably one of the great users of young girls (or boys). He looks to be at the right age to engage in such pursuits.

    Wake up dreamers. There is no God! Using your imaginary friend to persecute others is just cowardice.

    Alfred Yamasetra

  18. Dragonwall says:

    How about changing the name of Playboy magazine into ‘FPI Telanjang Bulat’.

    They will held praise to say that it must be good for them and their fellow followers.

    You said well MK, thugs for hire.

    These people don’t seemed to wake up.

    During the NEw Order, there were so many magazines sold at Pasar Baru, Hayam Wuruk, Gajah Mada and we don’t seemed to see any of the MF FPI thugs around at that time.

    To be honest. When a country legalize gambling in Singapore and elsewhere, prositutiton and pornography like the US. There is an intention to that. They want people to be more engross to such rather than politics. Under such condition, there isn’t much to politicize about therefore not much chaos. Unlike now, they restrict this and that, for a cause. POLITIC. Simple as that.

    The real problem is that these people are no politicians, but merely figureheads covered showing off with envelopes passed to them.

    Here is one very good example and this is before the riot.

    When I was staying at the Mandarin Hotel right in front of the Bunderan HI. Those people came by busload and they are with military precision. Came after 10am and off at 5 pm. Shouting propagandas etc. Ya a days salary without having to work hard with food provided. That is also one way to make a living for a sad cause.

    If the Indonesian government cannot do away with those FPI crap, then there is no peace to Indonesia. And stop saying that the Playboy annoys them. The least to say that guy in MPR, Golkar, Ma’ruf would be very happy with such publications in their bed I suppose.

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