The Jakarta Post
Hostility against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT ) community continues, with the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission ( KPI ) being the latest agency to enact a discriminatory rule against LGBT people.
In a statement published on its official website, the KPI said it discouraged broadcasters, television and radio stations from running programs that promote the activities of the LGBT community as part of an effort to protect children and teenagers from exposure to their lifestyle.
'The P3 [broadcasting code of conduct] and SPS [broadcasting program standards] regulations have made clear the values and norms of decency and courtesy. It is also clear with regard to the banning of programs that encourage children and teenagers to adopt indecent behaviors,' KPI deputy chairman Idy Muzayyad said.
The KPI issued the ban following a closed-door meeting between the agency and the Indonesian Child Protection Commission ( KPAI ) on the issue of deviant sexual orientation.
KPAI spokesperson Erlinda said Saturday her commission fully backed the KPI's ban as it was in the best interest of children and teenagers in the country.
KPAI maintained it acknowledged the rights of members of the LGBT community but was concerned with the increasing number of television programs promoting or starring members of the LGBT community, such as the popular transgender actor and comedian Dorce Gamalama.
Erlinda said the commission was concerned that many young boys were starting to cross dress or adopt feminine characteristics because they had been 'brainwashed' by these television programs.
'The KPAI has stated clearly we reject any LGBT campaigns or propaganda because it goes against our regulations that promote child protection. The commission demands that the government protect our children from deviant sexual orientation,' she said.
The commission based its stance on the 2002 Child Protection Law, amended in 2014, which stipulates the government must ensure that children acquire written or spoken information that is suitable for their age and development.
Discrimination against members of the LGBT community has gone on for years but the group has recently faced increasing hostility from high-ranking government officials and lawmakers who have described the minority group as 'immoral' or 'a danger to adolescents'.
Even the freewheeling entertainment industry has buckled under the pressure, with the banning of comedian Kabul Basuki, widely known as cross-dresser Tessy, from appearing on the small screen.
Tessy recently said he had become frustrated after being banned from performing on television in drag, a trope he had played for many years as part of the popular Srimulat comedy group.
Meanwhile, National Commission on Human Rights ( Komnas HAM ) commissioner Muhammad Nurkhoiron has lambasted the KPI's ban and said the commission should instead encourage programs that could shed light on the LGBT community.
'In Komnas HAM's perspective, the LGBT community is a vulnerable minority group that is often discriminated against not just by the public, but sometimes by their own families, because they are seen as second-class people. The media should be doing more to provide educational information on the LGBT community so that people realize they must be protected and given the same rights as everyone else,' he said.
Most of the discussion regarding the LGBT community in local media is focused on encouraging hatred and intolerance against members of the community, Nurkhoiron said.
'Most of the coverage [on LGBT] breeds more hatred and discrimination by using religion as an excuse. The media should become a source of information to make the public more tolerant towards diversity because [Indonesia] will become more diverse in the future,' he said.
Although the State Palace has yet to publicly comment on the discrimination against the LGBT community, Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan stepped up on Friday and became the first government official to defend the LGBT community by saying that, as citizens of the state, they had equal rights.
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