Indonesian artist charged under ‘pornography’ law for bikini protest faces 10 years jail

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Instagram posting of Dinar Candy protest
Instagram posting of Dinar Candy protesting against the "pornography" law PPKM extension on 3 August 2021. Image: IndoLeft News

Pacific Media Watch newsdesk

Artist Dinar Candy has held a protest action over the extension of Indonesia’s Enforcement of Restrictions on Public Activities (PPKM) by wearing a bikini on the side of a road in Jakarta, reports CNN Indonesia.

During the action, Candy also brought a banner with the message, “I’m stressed out because the PPKM has been extended”.

Candy was arrested by police last Wednesday, August 3, about 9.30 pm near Jalan Fatmawati in South Jakarta. She was taken directly to the South Jakarta district police for questioning.

In addition to this, police also confiscated material evidence in the form of a mobile phone belonging to Candy, which is alleged to have been used to record the protest.

And it was not only Candy. Her younger sister and assistant were also questioned by police for recording the protest at Candy’s request.

After being questioned by police, who also sought advice from an expert witness on morality and culture, Candy was then declared a suspect.

“We have declared DC as a suspect for an alleged act of pornography,” South Jakarta district police chief Senior Commissioner Azis Andriansyah told journalists on Thursday.

Candy has been charged under Article 36 of Law Number 44/2008 on Pornography which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison or a fine of 5 billion rupiah (NZ$987,000).

Candy not detained
Despite being declared a suspect, police have not detained Candy who is only obliged to report daily. Andriansyah said that Candy’s protest wearing a bikini did not heed cultural norms.

Artist Dinar Candy
Artist Dinar Candy … many believe her bikini protest should not be prosecuted under Indonesian law. Image: CNN Indonesia

This is because Candy’s action was held in Indonesia where there are cultural and religious norms which apply in society.

“Anything that is done in Indonesia [is subject to] existing norms, there are ethics, there are cultural norms, there are religious norms which apply in our society, now, the actions of the person concerned did not pay heed to cultural norms,” said Andriansyah.

A number of parties, however, believe that Candy’s bikini protest does not need to be prosecuted under law.

National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan) Commissioner Theresia Iswarini believes that Candy did not commit a crime even though she wore a bikini during the protest. She suspects that Candy’s protest was related to mental health issues.

“It would indeed be best, it has to be thought about, [although] this [wearing a bikini in public] is indeed inappropriate, but it does not mean she committed a crime, remember,” Iswarini told CNN Indonesia.

The Jakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH), meanwhile, is worried that the state is going too far in regulating what people wear in public. LBH Jakarta lawyer Teo Reffelsen is of the view that in the future the state could enforce its own values on what the public wears.

“If so, then eventually our prisons will be full just because people wear bikinis,” Reffelsen said.

Translated by James Balowski for IndoLeft News. The original title of the article was “Protes Bikini Dinar Candy Berujung Jerat UU Pornografi”.

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