From Paras Indonesia http://www.parasindonesia.com/read.php?gid=394
July, 21 2006 @ 11:09 amLegislators & Police Back Playboy Indonesia’s Asinine Critics
Playboy Indonesia this week went ahead with the publication of its third edition, even though its chief editor and a former centerfold and are now facing prosecution for indecency.
The very tame magazine, which contains no nudity, has faced vehement opposition from Indonesia’s radical Islamic fringe since it commenced publication in April. The second edition had to be postponed for a month after the notorious Islamic Defenders’ Front (FPI) vandalized Playboy’s original office in South Jakarta.
Although two FPI members were arrested over the attack and are now on trial, Playboy’s publishers decided to relocate to the resort island of Bali, which is predominantly Hindu and more tolerant of semi-covered women’s bodies.
Sadly, police seem to be buying FPI’s hogwash that Playboy Indonesia will “destroy the nation’s young generation”. Even more worrying is that legislators and several moderate Muslim leaders have eagerly joined the chorus of condemnation against Playboy. Groups ranging from the Indonesian Ulemas Association (MUI) to radical cleric Abu Bakar Baasyir’s Indonesian Mujahidin Council (MMI) have accused the magazine of deliberately trying to provoke the country’s Muslims.
It is totally ludicrous to protest this harmless magazine in a country where the vast gap between morality and reality means that hard-core pirated pornographic videos can be sold to minors due to police corruption. Really, just check out the main DVD market in Glodok, West Jakarta, where a police office is located right at the front, only meters away from vendors doing a brisk business in pirated porn. Admittedly the porno DVD covers contain warnings of X-rated content, but then again, Glodok’s pirated copies of Bambi and other children’s films have been stupidly R-rated for “drug use and scene of sexuality content”. Anyway, the vendors have no qualms about selling porn to kids and the police do nothing to stop them, apart from the occasional raid which is done primarily for the television cameras to create the impression that authorities are doing their job.
The uproar over Playboy merely diverts attention from serious issues, such as corruption and the ongoing refusal of police to take action against the senior intelligence officers who ordered the 2004 assassination of human rights campaigner Munir. The vast amount time and resources squandered in official debates on Playboy and pornography coud have been better used to help provide the country with a tsunami early warning system.
Worse still is the fact that many of the public figures kicking up the huge moral outcry over Playboy seem unconcerned by Indonesia’s thriving child prostitution and sex trafficking industry.
Only last month, Vice President Jusuf Kalla urged Arab men to come to West Java’s mountainous resort of Puncak to buy short-term contract wives, even though such marriages are not recognized by the state. Women’s rights activists point out that such marriages are a form of prostitution and encourage poor families to sell their daughters for sex.
Despite Kalla’s support for what is little more than a sex trade cloaked in Islamic respectability, he is among those calling for a strong anti-pornography law to put a stop to Playboy, which he claims is not in line with Indonesian values.
Kalla on Wednesday (19/7/06) said he had ordered Communication and Information Minster Sofyan Djalil to thoroughly investigate whether Playboy Indonesia’s latest has broken any rules. "We are checking. Yesterday I asked Mr Sofyan to research all of his rules," he told the press.
He said Djalil was ordered to take firm action because Playboy’s third edition violated regulations by failing to publish its editorial address. “The third edition also has a more vulgar cover," he added.
The covergirl of Playboy Indonesia’s third edition is Visensa Nyssa Yuliani, whose somewhat skimpy attire – black panties and a grey sort of cardigan thing that reveals her not so ample bra-less cleavage – has added fuel to the cries of moral indignation.
Regular readers say the content of Playboy Indonesia’s third edition is much more racy then the first and second editions, presumably in an effort to boost sales. In addition to Visensa, the other models in the new edition are Julia Estelle and Irene Anastasia.
FPI on Trial
The two FPI members now on trial at South Jakarta District Court over the April 12 attack on Playboy’s office are Zainal alias Ali Zaenal, and Agus Irawan alias Ustaz Agus. Police did not bother to arrest any of the other approximately 500 FPI members involved in the attack, in which the mob spent 20 minutes smashing the office building’s windows, glass doors and external lights.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in jail if convicted of violating Article 170 of the Criminal Code on the willful destruction of property.
Defense lawyer Ichwanudin Tuankotta on Wednesday urged presiding judge Eddy Joenarso to throw out the case and order his clients’ release from detention “for the sake of the law”.
He claimed the prosecution’s indictment against his clients was flawed, although his argument was not particularly convincing. “The public prosecutor’s indictment has indeed fulfilled formal conditions and material, but it’s unclear, incomplete and not thorough in relation to the charges against our clients," he was quoted as saying by detikcom.
Elaborating, he said the prosecution had failed to clearly clarify the contents of Article 170 of the Criminal Code. "So it must be declared void for the sake of the law," he said.
The trial will resume on July 24 to hear the prosecution’s response to the defense’s opening arguments.
Playboy Facing Trial
Jakarta Police on June 30 announced that Playboy Indonesia’s chief editor Erwin Arnada and first edition centerfold Kartika Gunawan had been formally named suspects and should be tried for indecency.
The pair, who had been brought in for questioning several times, are not being detained but could face up to 30 months in jail if convicted of violating two of the Criminal Code’s articles related to vice.
More recently, two new suspects have been named: publisher Ponti Carolus and first edition model Andhara Early.
Models who appeared in the magazine’s second and third editions have also been reported to police.
FPI Files Complaints
FPI on Tuesday went to Jakarta Police headquarters to file a complaint against Playboy Indonesia’s third edition.
The complaint said the magazine’s editorial staff, photographers and models had committed immoral actions and must therefore be charged with violating public decency.
Not only that, the complaint also named ‘Samsons’ – a popular new Jakarta rock band – for having placed an advertisement in the magazine. FPI said the advertisement constituted support for Playboy’s circulation.
"They [Samsons] were reported by us because they support the circulation of Playboy magazine because advertisements have to be paid for,” said FPI Investigation Agency head M. Alawi.
He said the people involved in the magazine had violated Article 169 of the Criminal Code on public order. "They will also be accused of violating Articles 281, 282, 283 and 533 of the Criminal Code concerning immoral action," he added.
The FPI complaint was filed by four members of the radical group: Alawi, lawyer Adnan Assegaf, FPI Mujahidda (Women’s Force) deputy head Lilis Isnawati and Al Mubarok Foundation head Jauhari Mubarok.
FPI upped the ante on Thursday by reporting music diva Krisdayanti to Jakarta Police. Her alleged crime? She appears in an advertisement for Bonia brand watches on page 5 of the magazine’s new edition.
In filing their report, which carries the memorable title of 2756/K/VII/2006/SpkunitVII, Alawi and Assegaf said Krisdayanti had violated Article 169 of the Criminal Code because she had deliberately become involved in a criminal activity.
“As a diva, she should not have done such a thing. She must watch out for herself,” said Alawi, adding the singer should face a maximum punishment of six months in prison.
In addition to Krisdayanti, FPI also reported all companies that placed advertisements in the third edition.
Krisdayanti’s husband and manager Anang seemed perplexed by the complaint. "Just loosen up. This must not be blown out of proportion,” he told the press.
Dubious Office Address
Playboy lists its office address as No.99 Jalan Tukad Citarum, Denpasar, Bali. That is actually the residence of Made Artha, a senior member of Bali’s Hindu community, who has supported the magazine since its inception. Reports say that no editorial activity takes place at the building, which is considered a bogus address.
Sure enough, Artha is at the building every day and on Monday claimed he had no idea the magazine’s third edition had been published. "I really didn’t know that Playboy was published again. I’ve only found out from you,” he told journalists.
He said chief editor Erwin Arnada had not informed him of the news and almost never visits the office, except for when he held a press conference there in June to launch the second edition.
Despite Playboy’s relocation to Bali, the magazine was not easy to find on sale there earlier this week. Several magazine agencies, kiosks and vendors on Monday said they had not received their consignment of the magazine.
"It has not come yet. Possibly later today or tomorrow. The agencies still don’t have it yet, let alone me,” said Putu Suwartini, the owner of a magazine kiosk on Jalan Pattimura in Denpasar.
Suwartini orders the magazine from the Corsica Agency, which when contacted said it might take two more days for stocks to arrive. Despite its relocation to Bali, Playboy is still published in Jakarta.
Endang Sancayarini, owner of the Swasti Agency, said he had ordered 400 copies of the latest edition but they had not yet arrived in Bali. “I don’t know when they’ll arrive. I’ve checked at the airport but they’re not there yet.”
Sancayarini said he expected brisk sales of the magazine, although he would not be certain until he had seen its content. "I don’t know yet. It’s like a cat in a sack, because I haven’t seen what’s inside yet.”
People’s Consultative Assembly speaker Hidayat Nurwahid, the former leader of the Islam-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), on Monday said the emergence of Playboy’s third edition was very regrettable and showed that young women were behaving recklessly by agreeing to appear in the magazine.
"Probably the new covergirl will be reported to the police again. Officers are also probably prepared to investigate her,” he said.
He urged the government to set a good example of law enforcement by taking action against Playboy. The Press Council and journalists’ associations should also respond firmly to Playboy, he added.
But he said anarchy should not be used to oppose Playboy. "I reject the use of anarchic behavior in dealing with this case. Let the authorities take action.”
Parliament speaker Agung Laksono, a member of Golkar Party, on Monday said Playboy Indonesia should suspend publication pending the planned trials of its editor and models.
"Better not to force themselves before the case is settled in court. Yes, stop circulating first. Respect the community's objections,” he said.
“There’s no verdict yet and the magazine can’t be banned because we still don’t have a law for that. So understand the community’s objections,” he said.
Deputy parliament speaker Zaenal Maarif, a member of the Islam-based Reform Star Party (PBR), said the greater raciness of Playboy’s latest edition was an act of defiance that must be stopped because it was "insulting and hurting the feelings of Muslims”.
"Police must immediately close down the magazine’s office. This is criminal," he fumed.
He also demanded that firm action be taken against politicians and public figures who have dared to voice support for the magazine. "The groups that have given support must be thoroughly investigated.”
‘Miss Universe Insensitive’
Legislators not content with criticizing Playboy have also been criticizing Indonesia’s entrant in this year’s Miss Universe beauty pageant, curvaceous model Nadine Chandrawinata (21). They are particularly upset that she wore a white bikini (even though it wasn’t very skimpy) in part of the contest. Indonesian bloggers have said the bikini was no problem, although they did complain about her poor command of the English language, demonstrated when she said Indonesia was a city.
Nadine is a former Miss Indonesia winner, former ambassador for the 2006 Petronas Malaysian F1 Grand Prix and has appeared in advertisements for Ponds skin care products. A photo of her clearly destroying the morals of the young generation can be seen via this link.
Latifah Iskandar, a legislator from the National Mandate Party (PAN), on Monday said Nadine’s decision to wear a two-piece swimsuit had displayed a total lack of sensitivity toward efforts to eradicate pornography in Indonesia.
Iskandar is a member of parliament's Commission VIII on religious, social and women's affairs. She also chairs a special parliamentary committee deliberating a bill on human trafficking bill.
She said Nadine should not have worn a bikini for the swimsuit section of the pageant on July 13. "I am sad we still have Indonesians who are like that, at a time when we are concerned about pornography. This really should not have been done,” she told journalists.
Iskandar also complained that the third edition of Playboy Indonesia appears to be stronger than its predecessors. "This shows that current legislation that is supposed to protect our citizens is very weak. The press in this case is also responsible because pornography is a stowaway in the press,” she said.
Perhaps the daftest criticism of Playboy Indonesia has come from Abu Bakar Baasyir’s MMI, which claimed the magazine is part of an international Zionist conspiracy to destroy the morals of Muslim children.
“The proof is that Israel does not publish Playboy magazine,” MMI spokesman Fauzan Al-Anshari was quoted as saying by the Republika daily.
That’s true, but Israel does broadcast Playboy TV International, which is the Jewish state’s only adult entertainment pay-television provider. Israeli conservatives and feminists succeeded in having Playboy TV pulled off the air in 2002, but a year later the government ruled the network could resume broadcasting. Furthermore, Playboy Israel chief executive Amos Naim has expressed interest in producing a local version of the magazine.
Al-Anshari said the publication of Playboy Indonesia was a deliberate provocation of Muslims. “If Muslims protest, we are considered to be anarchists,” he said.
He expressed disappointment that police were not taking harsher action against the magazine’s publishers and editorial staff.
Police Taking It Easy
Jakarta Police spokesman Ketut Untung Yoga Ana on Monday said police won’t take any action to stop the circulation of Playboy until the editor, publisher and models of the first edition are put on trial and a verdict is received.
He said police dossiers on the suspects have already been handed over to the Attorney General’s Office, which is yet to announce when or if a trial will commence.
"We are waiting, if later the first ones are sentenced, then the others will be next in line,” he said.
He urged Playboy’s opponents to be patient and not to take the law into their own hands. “Police are the only pillars for upholding of the law.”
Communication and Information Minister Sofyan Djalil is apparently feeling a bit bewildered by all the complaints against Playboy Indonesia.
Legislator Abdillah Toha, a member of PAN, on Wednesday said he had not received a clear response when he asked the minister why the magazine was not banned yet. "I telephoned the minister to ask why there is no method for stopping the circulation of Playboy magazine. The minister was confused, or claimed to be confused,” he told detikcom.
Toha said the minister informed him that perhaps the Press Council or the Trade Ministry could resolve the Playboy problem. "But apparently there is still confusion," he complained.
Djalil had earlier said he would seek the advice of the Press Council. "If the council says the magazine is part of the porn business, I will ask the authorities to take action and close it now," he was quoted as saying by state news agency Antara.
He said the magazine’s owners or publishers could be arrested, but added his ministry’s hands were tied if the Press Council views the magazine as a product of the press.
Toha said Playboy should be banned because it is immoral and its publishers probably “receive backing from outsiders who seek to carry out a cultural invasion of Indonesia”.
He said that even though Playboy’s decision to continue publishing was an act of obstinacy, concerned groups should not respond with violence lest such action backfire by generating sympathy for the magazine. “Let's follow the legal route,” he told Republika.
The Press Council on Wednesday asked police to investigate whether the third edition has violated the Press Law and the Journalistic Code of Ethics.
"The police could check whether the content of Playboy’s third edition is like that of the first and second editions," Press Council member Leo Batubara said in a report submitted to parliament.
He said Playboy Indonesia’s first edition violated the Journalistic Code of Ethics because the publishers allowed the magazine to be sold by street vendors, thereby reneging on a promise that it would not be easily available to minors.
Playboy executives had met with the Press Council prior to the magazine’s April launch and pledged that distribution would be controlled to prevent children and teenagers from buying the magazine.
Batubara said Playboy had also breached its cover slogan of ‘Entertainment for Men’ because children might have been able to buy the magazine. “Because of this, the magazine violated the Journalistic Code of Ethics in relation to the protection of children and adolescents," he said.
The Press Council urged the publishers and managers to abide by the Code of Ethics by ensuring that distribution is in accordance with the prior agreement.
Batubara also urged the government to immediately issue a regulation controlling the distribution of adult publications.
Meanwhile, corruption thrives, development stalls, domestic violence is largely ignored and cases of human rights abuse remain unresolved. But who cares when the nation's leaders seem more focused on attacking a mere magazine?
By: Roy Tupai | Category: The Press