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Music bill continues to spark protests from musicians

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Wed, February 13, 2019  /  10:15 am
Music bill continues to spark protests from musicians

Musician Glenn Fredly said several points of the bill strayed from the focus of managing the music industry in a comprehensive manner. (Shutterstock/Barna Tanko)

Draft legislation on music proposed by the House of Representatives has been met by criticism from musicians, who have called it “ridiculous” and “unnecessary”.  

On Feb. 4, a coalition comprising 262 musicians submitted a petition that rejects the bill. Singer-songwriter Danilla Riyadi posted the petition on, which has drawn 270,000 signatures.

Among provisions in the draft many musicians consider troubling is Article 5, which says: “In creating, everyone is prohibited from […] bringing negative influences from foreign cultures or demeaning a human being’s dignity.”

Article 50 states that anyone who is found “bringing negative influences from foreign cultures […] could be convicted with imprisonment or a fine”.

Arian13, vocalist of rock band Seringai, which is known for its biting lyrics on social and political issues, tweeted, "I find that the draft bill on music to be unnecessary. Issues of the music industry, copyright and trade are already regulated in the laws; let’s improve those. The draft bill also includes many catchall articles that could curb creativity. There is no such law found in any other country because it is not necessary.”

Musician Glenn Fredly said several points of the bill strayed from the focus of managing the music industry in a comprehensive manner.

Glenn was among a number of musicians who met with members of the House’s Commission X on Jan. 28 to discuss the bill. A follow-up discussion is scheduled for mid-February.

Since early February, a number of musicians have initiated public discussions on the bill across the country, including in Bandung, Malang and Palembang. On Feb. 10, dozens of Surabaya musicians declared their rejection of the bill at the memorial site of WR Soepratman, the composer of Indonesia’s national anthem, “Indonesia Raya”.

Read also: Draft legislation on music sparks criticism from musicians

True to their art, bands such as Voice of Baceprot (VoB) and Navicula expressed their rejection of the bill through song. Hailing from Garut, West Java, VoB comprises three high school students playing metal. They posted “Kentut RUUP” (Bill Fart) on Instagram as a protest, with the lyrics “Musicians are shackled, voices are condemned, freedom is imprisoned”.


Mengurai kebijaksanaan. Dari sejak mula memikirkan bermusik keras sebagai salah satu pilihan hidup, kami belajar tau dan bersiap terhadap segala resiko yang akan menyertainya. "resiko adalah harga dari apapun pilihan. Keberanian menanggungnya, itulah kebijaksanaan." kata abah kami waktu itu. Hari ini, sedari tadi.. Kata-kata itu jadi obrolan kita bertiga.. "Jika memaksakan RUUP yang bermasalah sejak dari naskah akademik adalah pilihan, maka munculnya penolakan keras dari banyak musisi itu berarti adalah resiko. Maka penolakan atas opsi revisi pun itu adalah resiko. Lalu jika dibangun lagi.. Ya, itulah resiko. Itu adalah harga yang harus ditanggung bersama, harga dari sebuah awal yang..." Dua dari kami sudah tertidur.. Saya, memilih meng-upload tulisan ini dan bersiap dengan resiko.. Selamat tidur kebijaksanaan. #tolakruupermusikan #koalisinasionaltolakruupermusikan #bijak #voiceofbaceprot #news

A post shared by VoB (Voice of Baceprot) (@voiceofbaceprot) on

The Bali-based and grunge-playing Navicula released “Dagelan Penipu Rakyat” (Farce of the Public Deceiver) on YouTube. The band stated that the song was its response to the bill, “which is full of troubling articles yet placed as a priority”. The song includes lyrics such as, "When the House is colonized by liars, there is only one word: Fight!"  

On Monday, around 100 musicians, scholars and members of music communities in Malang gathered to declare their rejection of the bill. “We reject the bill, including any notion to revise it,” said musician Nova Ruth, a member of the group Filastine.

“A lot of the bill’s articles fail to protect musicians, instead they restrain us. It proposes nothing to solve the problems in Indonesia’s music industry,” she added. “The bill has the potential to negatively impact the freedom of musicians.”  

The discussion was held after a number of Malang musicians met with legislator Anang Hermansyah from House Commission X during his visit to the East Java town on Feb. 8. In the meeting, Anang who is also a musician, asserted that he rejected Article 5 of the bill, while adding that he considered some articles in favor of the musicians.

“My wish is for musicians to prosper and for the government to facilitate the music industry,” he said. (wng)

The Jakarta Post correspondent in Malang, East Java, Nedi Putra AW, contributed to this story.

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