The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has issued a statement saying that it currently has no plan to issue a fatwa against digital content service platforms, including popular streaming service Netflix.
Public criticism recently arose after MUI fatwa commission head Hasanuddin was quoted by media as saying the council was ready to issue a fatwa against Netflix should the platform be reported and found to have hosted "negative" content.
In a statement on Thursday, issued by Hasanuddin and the commission's secretary Asrorun Niam Sholeh, the commission said it had never deliberated, let alone decided, on issuing a fatwa against such platforms.
"A fatwa is issued once there are questions and further studies regarding the issue at hand. If it's related to a certain discipline, then the fatwa commission would take into account experts' opinions," the statement read.
However, it added that digital content service firms should not create platforms that sell, distribute or create prohibited content, be it in legal or religious terms. If this was not respected, they said, then it was the state authorities that had the authority to enforce the law to protect the people.
"The MUI fatwa commission has issued various fatwas on the social community, other than on worship, including on the development of information and communication technology. For example, the MUI has issued fatwas on [social interaction] through broadcast media, specifically social media. There are things that are allowed and not allowed to be done," the statement said.
Netflix, meanwhile, has refused to comment on the polemic surrounding the MUI's previously reported plan to issue a fatwa against the streaming platform, Antara reported on Friday.
Much attention has been put on Netflix recently after Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate, a 63-year-old politician from the NasDem Party, recently drew criticism from local Netflix subscribers for reportedly asking the streaming service to stop streaming its popular original series to give space for Indonesian films.
Johnny later clarified that he had never asked Netflix to stop streaming foreign movies but that what he meant was that Netflix should not produce its own Indonesian films for now and should focus on streaming movies owned or produced by Indonesians. Such a request, he said, was intended to develop and protect the rights of local filmmakers.
Since 2016, Netflix has been blocked by cellular and internet service providers belonging to Telkom group, including Telkomsel, IndiHome and Wifi.id. To justify the block, Telkom has contended that Netflix has not yet fully complied with Indonesian regulations regarding media content.
The Education and Culture Ministry, helmed by former Gojek CEO Nadiem Makarim, recently announced a US$1 million partnership with Netflix to train local scriptwriters. (ars)