INDONESIA: Internet Usage Rises—and So Do Tempers and Worries

The Communications and Information Ministry in Indonesia claims that it has effectively blocked nearly 1 million pornographic websites, and vows to continue its mass censorship of unfavorable Internet publications. According to the Jakarta Post, the nation’s leading English-language newspaper, “censorship on porn sites was in line with the government’s commitment to securing sites accessed by Indonesians and building a more positive character for the nation.”

Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring argues that such censorship will promote more ethical use of the Internet.

Boasting one of the world’s most rapid increases in Internet use, Indonesia is in the midst of defining itself as a democratic nation while maintaining powerful ties to Islamic values. This fact alone has made the Internet boom a topic of deep concern for the nation’s leaders. While Titaful argues that it is the government’s role to promote ethics via censorship, from a Western perspective, it is difficult to understand how inhibiting a fundamental right of democracy can encourage the growth of democratic values. Indonesia, however, is home to the largest population of Muslims in the world, providing a structural “gray area” where censorship is not necessarily frowned upon… yet.

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The Jakarta Post

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