09/22/2008, 00.00
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Lawmakers postpones debate on anti-pornography bill

Indonesian public opinion is largely happy with lawmakers’ decision to postpone discussion of controversial law. Representatives slam dirty tricks like forged signatures and exclusions from debates meant to favour bill approval.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) – Indonesia’s House of Representatives has decided to postpone the debate over the anti-pornography bill. Known in Bahasa Indonesia as Undang-undang Pornografi, Uu App, the bill has been very divisive across the country. Yet lawmakers do intend to pass a law that could bring everyone on board before the end of the year.

Public opinion has by and large welcomed the decision. For many Indonesians the bill is a waste of energy which could be better spend in doing something else.

A number of lawmakers have complained that some signatures needed to get a quorum to vote on postponement were forged. Others have said that only those who backed the law were allowed to take part in parliamentary discussions.

“We were once banned from a bill deliberation meeting at the House, whilst parties (supporting the bill) were not,” said Beny Wijayanto from the Women's Legal Aid Foundation.

The anti-Christian bill is backed by the country’s main Islamist parties like the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), and some radical groups. It is opposed instead by the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI-P), the Prosperous Peace Party (PDS) and the Democratic Party (PD).

At the heart of the dispute lies the bill’s vague definition of “pornography” because could include any form of art like “drawings, sketches, illustrations, photographs, text, sound, moving pictures, animation, cartoons, poetry” as well as clothing.

Critics slam the bill because it would eradicate all cultural differences and threaten national unity. For many it is an attempt by Islamic fundamentalist to introduce Sharia law and turn the country into another Saudi Arabia.

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