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Jakarta Post

Ministry allows Vimeo, keeps ban on pornography

  • Yuliasri Perdani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, November 7, 2014   /  09:20 am

Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara aims to lift a ban on the video-sharing site Vimeo, which has been blocked since May by the previous administration for hosting '€œpornographic and nudity'€ content.

During the two weeks since he took the oath of the office on Oct. 27, Rudiantara has been trying to contact Vimeo executives to offer the New York-based firm the opportunity to regain access to Indonesia.

'€œI just received an email from Vimeo. Its CEO and legal consultant acknowledged my request and they wish to have a video conference with me next Tuesday,'€ the minister told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Thursday.

The controversial ban of the popular site was made by the previous minister, Tifatul Sembiring, a senior politician from the Islamic-based Prosperous Justice Party (PKS). Tifatul claimed that ministry research uncovered more than 7,000 examples of nudity on the site.

The country'€™s creative communities and rights groups strongly opposed the decision, which they deemed to shackle freedom of expression.

Because of its high-definition feature, the site had become a popular medium for moviemakers and musicians, including those from Indonesia, to share their works.

While paving a way for Vimeo to reclaim access to Indonesian netizens, Rudiantara reiterated that the video-sharing site must abide by Indonesian law, including respecting a total ban on nudity and pornographic videos, as regulated in the 2008 Pornography Law.

Some commentators accused Tifatul of blocking the site after it hosted a false video campaign of a PKS legislative candidate, which featured a singer performing a sensual dance. Tifatul denied the claim.

'€œMy position is to support Vimeo operating in Indonesia with the hope that it can support the country'€™s creative communities. However, I insist that the site must not provide pornographic or nudity contents in Indonesia,'€ he said.

Through Ministerial Decree No. 19/2014 on the handling of negative Internet content, the ministry has blocked 745,022 sites that were found to host pornographic contents.

Critics have accused the ministry of not being transparent while compiling the negative-content list, which they say have caused it to mistakenly identify some websites, such as websites promoting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender [LGBT] rights, as pornographic.

Separately, Donny Budhi Utoyo, Information and Communication Technology Watch (ICT Watch) cofounder, applauded Rudiantara'€™s move.

'€œIt is good to have Vimeo back. I hope in the future the new minister can reassess websites on the negative list and involve the public in the process,'€ he said.

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