Indonesia plans anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law over ‘national security’ issues
Indonesia is believed to be drafting its own anti-gay ‘propaganda’ bill.
Following on from Russia’s 2013 bill, signed by President Putin, banning the ‘promotion of non-traditional sexual relations’, Indonesia could be getting its own.
Amid a crackdown on LGBT content on sites like Facebook and Tumblr, the Communications and Information Minister is reportedly drafting a bill to comprehensively ban LGBT “propaganda”.
Speaking to the Jakarta Post, a spokesman for the ministry, Ismail Cawidu, said it was setting up a panel to discuss the issue.
“The House commission has urged us, so we have to follow up on their proposal. However, the panel will still refer to the mechanism [to ban such websites] as stipulated in the prevailing provision,” said Cawidu on Friday.
The law has been proposed by the House of Representatives Commission, the chair of which Mahfudz Siddiq, suggested that the issue was a matter of “national security”.
“LGBT issues can damage national security, identity, culture and the faith of Indonesians,” Siddiq told The Jakarta Post, going on to say that it could trigger societal unrest.
Despite this, Indonesia Ulema Council chairman Din Syamsuddin said people should not direct hatred towards LGBT people.
”We need to give the LGBT people direction, especially for the LGBT people who realise that homosexuality is indecent behaviour,” said Din.
This is the latest in a series of moves to crack down on LGBT content online.
The Indonesian Government last month instructed social media operators Facebook and WhatsApp to remove gay-themed emojis.
According to reports, the emojis, only introduced in recent years, and which show same-sex couples and families, have already been dropped by messaging app Line.
The government in the increasingly conservative Indonesia has now urged other major social media players to remove the icons for users.
Indonesia also last month announced that it plans to ban access to the blogging site Tumblr.
Under the 2008 Pornography Law, a Government spokesman said he had written to Tumblr demanding that the explicit content be removed.
The Communications and Information Ministry’s e-business director Azhar Hasyim has written to Tumblr.
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In January, higher education minister Muhammad Nasir suggested LGBT people should be banned from universities if they engage in public displays of affection.
Last year, an Indonesian province introduced a harsh new law that re-introduces caning as a punishment for homosexuality – and it also applies to foreign tourists.
The brutal practise takes place in the province of Aceh – the only part of the Asian nation which enforces Islamic Sharia law and has autonomous control over crime and punishment.
The country’s leading mental health authority last week said it believes homosexuality should not be left ‘untreated’.
Indonesia has banned men from behaving effeminately or dressing in women’s clothing on television.
The country’s Broadcasting Commission (KPI) has also issued a directive banning men from behaving “like women”, after receiving complaints from viewers.