Gaga cancellation could lower world opinion of Indonesia
The cancelation of Lady Gaga's concert could lead to negative international perceptions on Indonesia's ability to be a democratic country that guarantees freedom of expression and multiculturalism.
"The world community may still see that Indonesia is a democratic country despite the outcome of this Lady Gaga incident, but they will see the country as one where freedom of expression and different opinions are hampered," Otho Hernowo Hadi, a University of Indonesia social science and politics professor told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
"It may even be possible that the handling of this controversy could lower Indonesia's democracy index."
The public could also lose trust in the police, Otho said.
"I am certain that strong pressure from minority groups had an indirect influence on the police's decisions throughout this controversy, even if they won't admit it," he said.
Hard-line groups have condemned the Grammy Award-winning pop diva and accused her of advocating pornography and promoting satanic values. The Islam Defenders Front (FPI) threatened to send its members to intercept the singer if she landed on Indonesian soil.
Lady Gaga was scheduled to perform at Jakarta’s Bung Karno Stadium on June 3.
The Jakarta Police, who refused to recommend that the National Police issue a concert permit, have constantly denied allegations that their decision was made in response to hard-line Muslim groups’ demands.
Whatever the motive of the police, Otho said that the outcome of this controversy is "a defeat for security".
"The public will see that the state is bowing down to these little groups, and it will set a bad precedent on freedom of expression. It could be that people will be afraid to freely express themselves unless they do so according to the limitations set by these little groups," Otho said.(png/iwa)