Indonesia Forms First-Ever Anti-Porn Task Force

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The Indonesian government has formed its first ever anti-porn task force to monitor and enforce a 2008 law that prohibits the possession, distribution and manufacturing or adult products.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who formed the group under a presidential regulation signed on March 2, spearheaded the creation of the Pornography Prevention and Management Task Force in an effort to enhance coordination among state bodies.

“The task force will work under the President and be responsible to the President, and will serve as a coordinating institution, which will coordinate efforts to curb and handle pornography,” the government website stated.

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali will serve as executive chairman of the task force and Agung Laksono, coordinating minister for people’s welfare, will act as the organization's chair.

Other members include State Minister for Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Gumelar, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin and Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh.

In addition to banning porn, the task force can also direct the activities of local anti-porn branch offices at the provincial and district levels.

But some critics say the action may just be a smokescreen to distract the public from a fuel price hike plan.

"The task force is unnecessary because there are more important things that need our attention, the need to eradicate corruption for example,” House of Representatives Deputy Speaker Pramono Anung told the local media.

“The establishment of such a task force is a waste of time and will lead to other problems," he added.

Mahfud Siddiq, a lawmaker on the House’s Commission I overseeing defense and foreign affairs, said that the public should better focus on the government's plans to raise fuel prices.

"We welcome the task force as an effort to fight against pornography. But, we hope that this is not merely a tool to distract the public's attention from their objections to the fuel price hike plan. The President and members of the task force must prove that their intentions are sincere by, for instance, reducing the downloading of pornographic content nationwide," Siddiq said.

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