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SpongeBob SquarePants too violent for Indonesia's broadcasting watchdog

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, September 15, 2019  /  05:53 pm
SpongeBob SquarePants too violent for Indonesia's broadcasting watchdog

A still from 'The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie'. (YouTube/File)

The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) sent a warning letter to television station GTV on Sept. 5 for broadcasting The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

Posted on the KPI’s website, the letter said the airing of the movie was considered in violation of the broadcasting code of conduct (P3) and program standards (SPS).

The movie, aired on Aug. 6 at 11:14 a.m. on GTV’s “Big Movie Family” program, was said to have contained violent acts, such as hitting a face with a board, dropping a bowling ball on the head, throwing a hammer at a face and throwing a pot of cactus with the help of a racket.   

The movie, which aired again on Aug. 22 at 3:02 p.m. on GTV, reportedly contained the violent acts of throwing a cake at a face and hitting with the use of wood.

The KPI deemed the movie as potentially violating Article 14 of the KPI’s code of conduct, which states that a broadcasting unit must adhere to the interests of children in every aspect of broadcasting production.

The letter also includes Article 37 of the commission’s program standards, which states a broadcasting program with the classification of R is forbidden to show content that might encourage children and teenagers to learn about inappropriate behavior.

A wildly popular American animated television series, SpongeBob SquarePants chronicles the adventures of the title character and his friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom.

First airing in 1999, the series was made into a feature film, The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie in 2004. The second movie, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, came out in 2015, while the third is slated for a 2020 release.

Read also: Please stop the music: 17 songs too sexy for broadcasting watchdog

The series has received many awards, including Emmy awards for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program in 2010 and Outstanding Children’s Animated Series in 2018.

The warning letter to GTV from the KPI was among others sent regarding 14 programs.

Kompas.com reported that KPI deputy head Mulyo Hadi Purnomo said the commission had sent the warning letter. “According to the law, a warning letter is due as this is the first violation,” he said.

Along with the movie, the KPI also sent warning letters to Trans 7, ANTV, TV One, Metro TV, Trans TV and radio station Gen FM. Programs that are deemed inappropriate include Rumah Uya (House of Uya), Headline News and Rumpi No Secret (Gossiping with No Secret).

The violations range from acts of violence, horror and supernatural scenes, sexual dialogue and gestures, private conflicts and harassment.     

The KPI has sent out similar warning letters, such as in December last year when 11 stations were warned for broadcasting a Shopee commercial deemed too salacious.

In February, the West Java branch of the KPI limited airtime for 17 songs and radio and television in West Java for sexual content.

In August, it planned to formulate rules expected to serve as a legal umbrella for monitoring content on digital media outlets, such as YouTube and Netflix. It aims to ensure digital content is worth watching, promotes educational values and keeps netizens away from low-quality content. (wng) 

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