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Pornography bill passage disappoints Bali: Governor
November 1st, 2008

Dicky Christanto and Ni Komang Erviani ,  The Jakarta Post

Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika expressed concern about the House of Representatives’ decision to pass the controversial porn bill into law during a plenary session in Jakarta on Thursday.

Pastika reiterated that the passage into law only meant one thing: lawmakers had ignored Balinese hopes.

“We will continue to oppose the porn law as this has been our stance from the first,” Pastika told reporters.

When asked whether his administration had prepared further legal actions to challenge the new law, Pastika said he would have to discuss it with the province’s legal advisors before taking any further steps.

“We’ll see what happens with the new law before exploring legal options,” he said.

Both the administration and the provincial council had sent an official letter to the central government protesting the porn bill deliberation. They argued that voting on the bill would threaten the country’s current balance between unity and pluralism due to its obscure wording. The letter recommended tabling the initiative indefinitely.

Besides Bali’s official protest against the bill, the civic group Bali People’s Component (KRB), made up of local artists and activists, launched noisy mass protests as well.

Commenting on the passing of the porn bill into law, KRB’s coordinator I Gusti Ngurah Harta said his group has begun preparing legal materials to challenge the porn law.

“We’ll get ready to challenge it by filing a request for judicial review with the Constitutional Court,” he told The Jakarta Post, adding KRB’s team of legal experts was led by I Dewa Gede Palguna, one of Bali’s noted legal activists and former Constitutional Court jurist.

With regard to the team’s preparation, Palguna said the team would wait to get the official copy of the porn law, adding, “of course, we’ll read the new law as it was passed carefully before we take any legal action to challenge it”.

If the judicial review were to fail, he added, then the KRB would ask the provincial administration and legislature to start considering whether Bali should pursue special-autonomy status, which would give the Balinese a basis for disregarding the porn law.

“We will continue to oppose it at any price,” he said.

Initially discussed by lawmakers back in 1997, the porn bill was then considered controversial by many rights activists and legal experts who found the bill’s language outlined too narrow a perspective for interpreting sexuality.

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