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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Indonesian Musicians Protest Attempt to Ban Western Music

JAKARTA – Hundreds of musicians in Indonesia have come together to prevent the ratification of a draft law on music that bans content with negative western influences, blasphemy or pornography.

The campaign on Change.org has collected more than 100,000 signatures in less than 24 hours on Monday, and is endorsed by more than 200 artists, who denounce the draft law that is being currently debated in parliament, as trying to stifle creative freedom.

A copy of the text accessed by Efe shows article 5 of draft law outlawing content mentioning drugs, gambling, sexual violence or anything that brings negative influences from foreign countries and degrades human dignity.

Spokesperson of the campaign, singer Danilla Riyadi, said in the petition that the proposal also contradicts existing laws or makes them redundant, and marginalizes independent musicians in favor of bigger companies.

Riyadi stressed that the law, which was proposed by the musician and politician from the National Mandate Party, Anang Hermansyah, has shot up in priority from 183rd position in 2018 to 48 in 2019.

“There were times that control of art or music was there but they were doing it silently or not so blatantly,” pianist Adra Karim told EFE, adding that all his musician friends have signed the petition.

In December, the Broadcasting Commission banned a commercial in which singers of a South Korean pop band were dressed in mini skirts and short dresses, considering them to be immoral influences.

Following this, conservative groups in the country had launched a campaign which gathered steam through social media.

Audiovisual and photographic content on the internet, television and movies that shows partial nudity or erotic interactions are often censored in Indonesia, a country that is gearing up for its presidential elections in April.

Indonesia is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, accounting for 88 percent of its 260 million inhabitant.

Most of them are moderate Muslims, although in recent years activists have warned of an increase in influence of conservative groups in society and politics.

 

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