Indonesia’s Constitutional Court threw out another challenge to the controversial anti-pornography law. According to Jakarta Post, activist lawyer Farhat Abbas filed a complained alleging that the law contradicted itself by punishing the storage of pornographic materials, but creating an exemption for personal use. The Court responded that the law is constitutional, and the court’s jurisdiction only allows it to determine the constitutionality of laws, not resolve internal contradictions. In the U.S., I suspect one might argue that the law’s internal contradictions make it “unconstitutionally vague” (and indeed much of U.S. vagueness jurisprudence seems to revolve around porn/obscenity cases), but I’m not aware of any such doctrine in Indonesian law.
Category Archives: pornography
When Paris Hilton was caught in a sex video, she became a celebrity. In Indonesia, when a video allegedly depicting rock star Nazril “Ariel” Irham, his girlfriend Luna Maya, and another woman thought to be Cut Tari engaged in sexual acts, the former was arrested and the women faced charges under Indonesia’s controversial Anti-Pornography Law. According to the The Jakarta Globe:
National Police spokesman Chief Comr. Marwoto Soeto said that Ariel was charged under Article 4 of the pornography law, which prohibits “producing, creating, reproducing, copying, distributing, broadcasting, importing, exporting, offering, trading, renting or otherwise making available pornography.”
Ariel allegedly filmed the videos. He could face up to 12 years in jail and fines of up to Rp 6 billion…
Asking if Ariel’s female “co-stars” were likely to be charged, the source cited Article 8 of the controversial pornography law, which states “that a person is prohibited from knowingly or consenting to being an object or model for pornographic content.”
The charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to Rp 5 billion ($555,000).
There is no indication that any of the parties sought or consented to the distribution of the film. This raises crucial issues for Indonesian legal rights. First, while Article 8 of the Anti-Pornography Law adopts a mens rea or intent standard of “knowingly or consenting.” By contrast, Article 4 appears to impose strict liability on the producer or distributor. Because the definition of pornography is so broad, it is sometimes unclear material actually falls within the scope of the law. For example, does the erotic acts sometimes depicted in ancient Hindu art and literature (think the Kama Sutra) constitute pornography? This means that defendants could potentially be charged with violating the act even if they do not realize the material in question was actually pornography.
Stay tuned for more on this case…