The Supreme Court’s judgment — incarcerating (former Playboy Indonesia editor) Erwin Arnada for two years for the crime of publishing photographs of “scantily” clad women is an aberration of justice.
Arnada has committed no crime that other “glossies” haven’t committed, which was depicting women wearing little or no clothing. Walk down some streets of Jakarta and you can buy publications that are smutty and blatantly sexual.
One well known publication even printed detailed illustrations of sexual positions. If Erwin is guilty of printing “indecent” photographs then we will have to jail most of the people in Bali. Why are just those from Jakarta imprisoned? Is it because the hard-liners cannot influence the Balinese?
It is evident that the Pornography Law has been applied. If this is so then most glossies, advertisements, massage parlors and tourists on the beaches of Bali would also have to be jailed.
The independent judiciary has been subject to influence by hard-liners, who have become the self appointed guardians of morality. They have subverted justice by claiming that an icon of American culture, Playboy, was harmful to the “morals” of the Muslim population of Indonesia.
This is pathetic and downright absurd.
Indonesia has struggled to shrug off its dark and turbulent past and has emerged as a vibrant, modern and progressive state under the dynamic leadership of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It is the republic with the largest Muslim majority population in the world. This is a miracle. Unfortunately, your ruling has given the impression that Muslim hard-liners control Indonesia and that their diktats rule supreme in Java (but thankfully not in Bali).
In Bali, old black-and-white photographs of topless women are sold. One can purchase coffee table art books with these pictures. The images are beautiful, haunting and reflective of a vibrant ethos. Do we convict the photographers, sellers, publishers and seize all this material? Why not? If we can convict Erwin Arnada for the crime of showing scantily clad women, then the aforementioned “offenders” should be given life sentences, as per the views of the lobotomized hard-liners.
For me and many of my friends in Indonesia it is truly a sad day when we witness justice dispensed selectively. It is a message to the world that Indonesia is under threat from hard-liners, who think that free speech depends on their interpretation and that free thinkers in Indonesia now live under a sword of damocles.