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Indonesian musicians lash out at archaic bill outlawing “negative foreign influences” in music

The Indonesian government is bearing the brunt of aggression from musicians around the world after drafting a bill which outlaws negative foreign influences”, as well as blasphemous or pornographic content punishable by imprisonment or fines.

The proposed bill states that “in creating, everyone is prohibited from […] bringing negative influences from foreign cultures or demeaning a human being’s dignity”.

Image taken from A Punk Daydream, directed by Jimmy Hendrickx

Musicians across Indonesia are fighting against a proposed bill that threatens to impinge on the country’s freedom of expression, with legislation calling for a ban on “negative foreign influence“.

Musicians around the world are criticising the archaic measure, claiming that it has the potential to destroy the country’s freedom of expression. Over 200 Indonesian musicians have publicly denounced the proposed legislation, including Jenrix, a member of the punk-rock outfit Superman is Dead.

In a public post on the musician’s Twitter account, Jendrix claimed that the draft bill would “rape his rights of freedom of expression, and eventually destroy them”. The drummer also pointed out the hypocrisy of the country’s leader Joko Widodo, who is widely known to be a fan of international heavy metal bands, including Metallica.

The bill seemingly came out of nowhere, but has united musicians from all walks of life to form a coalition to reject the legislation. Although the exact reasons for the sudden change in legislations are unclear, conservatives in the country often protest against the “immorality” of foreign pop stars. Last December, an ad featuring members of the K-pop girl band Blackpink was pulled after the girls were criticised for wearing short skirts and dresses, with the broadcasting commission claiming the girls infringed on decency and moral norms.

The bill, which has been designated as a priority by the House of Representatives, has been widely condemned online. Trending on Twitter is the hashtag #TolakRUUPermusikan, which translates from Indonesian as “reject the draft music law”. 

Indonesian musicians, concerned that the bill will “shackle freedom of expression”, have recently met with lawmakers to discuss the bill, calling for a discussion with artists and industry players before the legislation is tabled.

Via The Guardian.

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February 5, 2019