Indonesia: Censorship board considers banning Netflix

26 January 2016


The Indonesia Film Censorship Board (LSF) held an emergency meeting regarding Netflix’s recent global expansion and may ban the service from the country.

“Last Saturday we watched the movies [available on Netflix]… there are some movies that we have forbid from being screened in the cinemas,” Ahmad Yani Basuki, the chairman of the LSF, said of the meeting. He noted that these films are not allowed in Indonesia and that, if Netflix does not submit its entire service to review by the censorship board, “we will recommend the Communication and Informatics Ministry to block the service.”

The Indonesian magazine Tempo notes that the censorship board can ban a movie from the country for a number of reasons, including “scenes that exhibit violence, gambling, drug abuse, pornography, scenes that may well lead to sectarian conflict, blasphemy, encourage criminal acts, and degrading human rights.” A movie can subsequently receive approval in the country if it edits the offending scenes out.

Critical of native films
Strict censorship of motion pictures began in Indonesia during its colonisation by the Dutch, but has clearly evolved as Indonesia became the world’s most populous Muslim country. The LSF has previously described the objective of the entire film industry as the promotion of “belief in God, to demonstrate benefit, to foster unity and wholesomeness [kebajikan]” and “unity and integrity of the nation.”

The LSF has been previously accused of being significantly more critical of native films that flaunt the nation’s normals, while keeping a looser grip on foreign filmmakers because “kissing and sex scenes [are] part of Western culture.” Some Western films, like ‘50 Shades of Grey’, have been banned anyway, however, as they crossed even this allegedly more distant line.

Other films have been banned for overtly religious reasons. The LSF banned the Darren Aronofsky film ‘Noah’ because “we as Indonesian society value religious values, religious harmony, and build an atmosphere of religious harmony.” The LSF worried that the portrayal of a Judeo-Christian icon “and also many things… that do not fit with history as recognised or believed by Muslims” would trigger “turmoil” among the nation’s majority Muslim population.


» Breitbart – 12 January 2016:
Indonesian Censorship Board Binge-Watched Netflix, Now Wants to Ban It

Read more

» Artsfreedom – 16 February 2015:
Six countries ban ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ film

» Artsfreedom – 26 March 2014:
Indonesia: Film censorship board bans the American film ‘Noah’

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