On February 12, the ministry asked messaging app companies to remove content that does not “respect the culture and local wisdom of the country where they have large numbers of users.”
One Japanese mobile messaging app company, LINE, honored the call by removing LGBT-themed cellphone “stickers” from its service. The company had previously included images designed by Indonesia’s transgender community.
On February 17, the ministry issued a broad ban on the social media website Tumblr for hosting content that included LGBT-related information. The ministry later stated that it would instead reach out to Tumblr and Yahoo!, which owns Tumblr, to ask it to “self-censor” banned content.
On February 23, the ministry announced guidelines barring broadcasters from showing men wearing “feminine dress” or speaking in a feminine manner. These directives coincide with statements by the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI) and Indonesian Broadcasting Commission endorsing censorship of LGBT-related content in public broadcasts.
The Information and Communication Ministry should end these regressive developments, which violate the rights to freedom of expression and non-discrimination under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The proposed actions are also contrary to article 28 of the Indonesian constitution.
“The Indonesian government should protect, not restrict, the public’s rights to free expression and access to information,” Kine said. “The communications ministry should loudly reject any proposal to censor LGBT information to signal that the government stands up for universal rights against discrimination.”
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