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Heaven Knows, Anything Goes!

Bali's Governor Pastika Say Anti-Pornography Law Unenforceable in Many Areas of Indonesia.

(3/29/2010) The refusal by Indonesia's Constitutional Court to entertain challenges to the controversial 2008 Anti-pornography law has prompted Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika to reiterate his position that the national law is inapplicable in Bali.

Quoted in BeritaBali.com, Pastika said, "As my government has said in the past, if the law (anti-pornography) is not implemented, it is because it is opposed to the sociological and philosophical values (of Bali)."

The governor made his statement during a dialogue with a civic group that called at his office on Thursday, March 25, 2010, following the rejection of the judicial challenge to the anti-pornography by the Constitutional Court that included one dissenting judge's opinion. The civic group called on the governor to strengthen his opposition to the unpopular law.

Luh Anggreni, a women's and children's rights activist in Bali said: "The definition of pornography contained within the law is dangerous. It threatens many people with criminalization, particularly women and children."

The 2008 law broadly defines pornography. The law views as pornographic any picture, sketch, illustrations, photography, writing, voice, sound, motion picture, animation, cartoon, discussion, physical movement or other means of communication in any media or public presentation that is lewd, exploits sexuality or trespasses moral norms. The law also allows individual and groups to "self-define" what constitutes pornography and encourages vigilante enforcement against those perceived to be engaged in lewd activities.

Many outlying regions of Indonesian have roundly condemned the new law, seeing it as an effort to eliminate cultural diversity. Since its inception in 2006, the law has been the cause of numerous street demonstrations by groups opposed to the law.

Pastika added: "Bali is the Island of Peace. We also reject criminal pornography, but the new law is not in keeping with the Indonesia's diversified society."

Pastika said that he personally does not favor the production of vulgar souvenirs in Bali, such as the widely sold key chains made in the shape of a male phallus. He, however, has no issue with tasteful representation of the female form.

Illustrating his point to the press, Pastika explained: "I served for years in Irian Jaya and have no reaction seeing a ‘Koteka' (traditional penis gourd). It's just a matter of taste."

The governor said it would be an impossibility to implement the law in all regions of Indonesia. To do so would necessitate the closing down of television and the Internet which often carry information and images that might be considered pornographic. Because of this, said Pastika, "the law is useless."