Bali Will Not Enforce Porn Law

Ariana Rodriguez
DENPASAR, Indonesia — Bali’s governor and speaker of the provincial legislative council declared Friday that the province would not be able to enforce a newly passed wide-sweeping anti-pornography law. Bali’s tourism industry and churches in East Nusa Tengarra also have joined in defiance.

The current draft of the bill defines pornography as "man-made sexual materials either in the forms of drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, texts, voices, sound, moving pictures, animations, cartoons, poetry, conversations, gestures or other forms of communicative messages through various kinds of media; and performances in front of the public, which may incite sexual desire and or violate moral ethics in the community."

Gov. Made Mangku Pastika and Speaker Ida Bagus Putu Wesnawa signed a written statement publicly declaring Bali’s inability to implement the law passed by the House of Representatives.

"With the passing of the porn bill on Thursday, we hereby declare that we cannot carry it out because it is not in line with Balinese philosophical and sociological values," Pastika said at a meeting.

"We further implore every element of the Balinese public to keep calm, stay alert, not be easily provoked and maintain the appropriate atmosphere to maintain the integrity of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia."

Pastika did not elaborate on how the declaration would be put into effect, simply calling it a “statement.” He said the signed document would not be sent to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono or any government officials.

“This declaration will reach them anyway,” he said.

According to Pastika, pursuing a constitutional challenge is still being considered by the provincial administration, however was the next most viable option. On Tuesday, members of Bali’s tourism industry declared their support of this next step.

Head of Bali Tourism Board Ida Bagus Ngurah said the industry was ready to support any legal challenge to the bill and applauded the declaration made by Pastika and Wesnawa.

"That was indeed representative of our Balinese feelings as a community. We salute and support the governor and DPRD speaker" Ngurah said.

Head of the Bali Tourism Workers Union Badung I Putu Satyawira also declared his support for a judicial review of the pornography.

"We are in full support of the judicial review because it is obviously detrimental to our business and our livelihood," he said, adding that the bill would hurt employees in the tourism industry because it might discourage visitors to the island.

On Tuesday, churches in East Nusa Tenggara also rejected the passage of the bill.

Rev. Eben Nuban Timo of the Timor Messiah Evangelical Church said the bill could provoke national disintegration and hamper people’s creativity in preserving local traditions.

Timo said the churches would join in support of a judicial review with the Constitutional Court.

The organizations are waiting for further development, including the president’s signature on the bill. Under the Indonesian legislation system, if a bill is not signed within 30 days after the House passes it, it automatically becomes legally binding.

The pornography bill was passed with support from 10 of 12 factions in the House. The remaining two, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle and the Prosperous Peace Party walked out during the voting.

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