Thursday, February 25, 2016

Is Indonesia Having a Major... Setback?

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Posted by Meme Comic Indonesia on Sunday, February 21, 2016

So recently 2016 isn't off with a great start actually, at least if the context is question is an Indonesian context. Yes, the 2016 was started with flying bike attacks, crashing low-poly Lamborghini, infant punts, and some WALALALALAs from Ghana and Uganda, but they're way out of context. In Indonesia, there is one major setback that gripes me very much recently: the fact that we are still being treated like children, starting by the blocking of the newly-opened Netflix by some telecommunication group a couple of weeks ago continued with the block of Tumblr due to the "pornographic" content weeks later (both of which had their blocks lifted thankfully) and then some random censorships that has now blurred what could be a harmless kebaya showcase in a national-level pageant days ago, as you can see in the picture above. Here, you can see the correlation between "being treated like children" and all the blocks and censors really exists and is quite inevitable, big time.

Looks like the series "Is Indonesia Humiliating Itself?" has been brought back from its death, and now this has become the sign of its rebirth. Though seeing the current context that will be written here, it might be more like a development to the case where Vimeo was blocked due to pornography (and the bad news is, the ban is still there -_-).


"Great Wall of Indon... I'd pay a dollar to see that.." (Image: SBO88Bet)
The memory of sites like Vimeo and Reddit, among others, being blocked by the IT Ministry in the last two years is still fresh to our minds, continuously haunting normal netizens, creative content creators, and Reddit posters respectively unless they have something to use at their disposal. The reason for both blocks is simply because they contain "pornographic content" which, in their eyes, make them par with several rag-tag porn sites while they aren't meant to. In fact, the artistic nudity of the user-made category (?) "art of nakedness" is the sole reason why it was blocked, so does the controversial Anti-Pornography law which was also one of the key factors in this blocking. In short, artistic nudity equals porn in Indonesia.

This year, internet was broken by yet another set of service-blocking cases, with Netflix being one of them. Earlier this year, Netflix expanded its operations around the world including Indonesia, allowing us to do some "Netflix and Chill" method and binge-watch Orange is the New Black (or something) to our heart's content, with first month being free of charge and with a monthly subscription fee starting from IDR 99.000 (approximately $7-$8). This way, people won't have rely on torrent and just enjoy whatever Netflix is serving for the time being, unless if what it's serving doesn't exist on Netflix, yet. However, at the same time, suspicions arose whether the IT Ministry will pull a Vimeo on the streaming service or not even if it's the new IT Ministry that is responsible for everything interwebz-related, add with the fact the Indonesian Censorship Agency (LSF) wanted the Ministry to declare death on Netflix due to the fact that they show movies that they've forbid for cinema screening, as if they do not care that their Parental Control exists.

#risacomics 214 - Triple PlayDaripada stres dengan kondisi internet Indonesia yang makin aneh2 aja kian kemari,...
Posted by Risa Comics on Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Telkom's Get-together in a nutshell
Unfortunately, the blocking of Netflix did happen, although it's for one side of the coin. Indonesia's telecommunications giant Telkom Indonesia has decided to completely block Netflix from all of its internet services on 27th January, days before the free month for Netflix expired. Telkom's products IndiHome, and Telkomsel are subject to this blocking. The reason why is that it did not adhere to Indonesian regulations and the presence of pornographic content on the service. The Indonesian regulation in question is that the IT Ministry wants Netflix to have a business license as a local content provider and an official business entity in Indonesia if it wants to operate legally, which equals opening an office in Jakarta, hiring local employees, and subjecting itself to tax regulations, yet by no means they were going to impose a block hammer to it, which means that it's purely Telkom's decision to do so. Understandably, rival operators threw shades (or #shade if you will, but let's not make it to fifty of them) at Telkom, offering their products which apparently boost their service usage while ensuring that people using such operators can still Netflix and Chill. Also, this blocking coincided with the fact that Telkom's Fair Usage Policy and the infamous IndiHome terms of service angered most of its users AND the fact that the customer service wasn't even able to figure out what SSH is, which meant faith for the operator quickly worn out. Fortunately, the telcom unblocks Netflix, but not without a Twisted Metal-level of twist. So much for the internet sovereignty and calling it radical and pirated in a savage way, eh?

Fast forward to the next 30-ish days where the block hammer turns to Tumblr, a site known for its wide collection of GIFs and fandom ships, and also the home of my own "Overworld Destroyer" which, unfortunately, I can't seem to update that much apart from the World Fandom Championship project. In this article, Azhar Hasyin, the e-Business director of the Ministry of Communications stated that they blocked Tumblr because they found numerous sexual, and obscene images, but as my friend's Medium post I linked pointed it out and by looking at how the words "pengaduan masyarakat" (public reports in Indonesian) in the news article lost me, I was thinking if that the Ministry is trying to get every site in par with random porn sites and disguise it as a "public report" while not even children who go to net cafes ever heard of Tumblr (because they only care with the online games they play), also applies to teens and adults, gamer or not, making the "public report" a potential misnomer. In the same blog, it is also explicitly stated in the Community Guidelines that Tumblr is not the place for Gore and whatnot, unflagged NSFW things, and Sexually-Explicit videos, another Parental Control that not even our government give a damn. Like Netflix, thankfully, Tumblr is no longer blocked in less than 24 hours since the announcement yet again not without a twist.

By seeing at how un-savvy the government is and never, ever, bats an eye to the proper Parental Control systems on both sites in question, plus the fact that the government declares that the "pornography"-reasoned block hammers will haunt even the innocent sites and those with their own Parental Control imposed and all the internet sovereignty stuff, the only word that can describe the government is, sorry for this, "SAVAGE". In their eyes, we are all elementary-age children in Indonesian years, and their mindset is that everyone, even the children, can access ANY site, anywhere, anytime, even going as far as imagining the children opening Tumblr, Vimeo, Reddit, et cetera, registering to sites by faking their birth date and such, and what the government has done would eventually mirror China's internet censorship. But actually, the mentioned mindset reminds me of something...


This is a tweet from one of the Deadpool viewers, where he sat beside a mother wearing a hijab, accompanying her two children of the elementary school age. As she witnessed the strip club scene, the mother was angered. Weren't the mother aware it is an R-rated movie because of the movie's adult nature and that the viewer's children saw it just because this is a superhero movie? This can be how "crossing the line" works.

In Indonesia, everything can be G-rated, not just in the internet, but also in watching movies and television. The movie context doesn't seem to be that contrast as people would rarely "cross the line" (read: ignoring the movie's age rating), yet in the television spectrum cases like this are inevitable, and you'd see more children know a storyline of a B-list sinetron series and cases where people turn on a certain television show because they have "nothing to watch".

Ever since "imported" shows land in Indonesia, whether it's a television series or an anime series, the censorship doesn't seem to bother its viewers, but then in 2010s all the blurring gets even worse. Blurring naked people is one thing, but blurring people who wears a revealing dress or showing a cleavage (case: Taylor Swift's dress shown in a local TV whose censorship made an expatriate scratch his head, can't find it unfortunately) is another. Understandably, even every movie that made it to the TV screens here is subject to this censorship, but when the TV censors a squirrel in a (not-so-revealing) bikini, a little girl with a fully-covered swimsuit, and recently women wearing kebaya (pictured way above), you know that the censorship has gone from stupid to idiotic, and everyone either complains the blurring aesthetics or loses interest on watching television (and what could've gone wrong?). I am one of the second side for the record, and let's take note that the censorship does not limited to blurring things but on necessary cuts and zooms as well. Sure I was crossing the line so many times prior to my 6th Grade days, when at that time television is still bestowed by animation series, television series and what not, even as far as watching a bunch of people making dress while seeing their models strutting it not without one model being dropped by her agency and one corn husk dress beforehand.

At first, I was one of the people who blame KPI (The Indonesian Broadcast Commision) for the censorship, but when I read one Facebook post on why the Dragon Ball Z's airing got stopped for no reason followed by some bits about KPI (the one we always blame all the time), which led to people speculate whether KPI "banned" this series or the station that aired this haven't renewed its airing rights for that series before the news broke (eventually Dragon Ball lives on until now), my mindset changed. It was the Censorship Board all along a.k.a. the same bunch of people who opposed Netflix! For that reason, I put down my torch and pitchfork for KPI, and that I'm still opposing LSF, and I don't care if they want to label yours truly as "amoral" or something.

"Why are you even watching this movie in the first place then?" (Image: Facebook / name supplied)
However, moving on to the movie spectrum, the Deadpool-gate has grown my suspicions of why all the censorships take place. Here, the gate saw a mother taking her child to watch another badass hero movie that has been critically-acclaimed and has been the enthusiasts' favorite recently. The thing happened when the mother ignored the fact that it is an R-rated movie and children can not be allowed and eventually went bananas for the stripper scene, and combined with the fact that one of the movie-goers who went on watching the same movie posted this very moment to Facebook and Twitter and caused, you guessed it, internet explosion. Similar cases also grew in the same fashion and format with a different people, but this time the one who watched this got a time to vent on Facebook and despise this movie for all its R-rated scenes, as seen in above picture.

By looking at that case, I can imagine, in people's position at least, that all the cringe-worthy censorships take place in television are caused by people complaining to TV stations why the shows their children watch showcase morally-unacceptable scenes and stuff, causing them to blur out what the stations deem as such because children pretty much watch almost everything, unlike in the internet browsing practice where Parental Control can be easily enforced within a few click, but yet again, this also exposes the flaw of their parenting, carrying the mindset that "everything is watchable", even for R-rated superhero movies. Meanwhile the LSF side does this because they want to "protect our culture". But if they censored kebaya which means that they were censoring our own culture, you can think that their intention is really questionable.

So which course of action should be done then?


Given the fact that the moral police will cry wolf on every level of fanservice, both IT Ministry and LSF (and potentially some normal people) will continuously see us as elementary children in Indonesian Years. The problem is that all the censorships imposed in internet, movie and television has taken its tolls already, and even artistic nudity, revealing outfits, guns and cigarettes will see either a block hammer or a Great Wall of blurs as long as it is protecting our culture. The moral police has declared that all those things will deter the moral of whoever it entices, resulting them to imagine the fanservice offered, but at the same time all the censorships imposed will lead to curiosity, trying to know what's behind either the wall of blurs or the blockade, which leaves a boomerang effect which renders the censorship making the even worse end impact.

In short, playing the moral police is never a good idea, and it is the pure parental control that will ensure the total safety, but then again there's always parental advisory, the one that's really needed for everyone, in case there's a chance that the parental control would be turned off by the user for even worse circumstances. The age rating PG (Parental Guidance) is always there and is not a mere obstructing display, as there is a chance that your children would have high levels of curiosity even higher than yours. Explaining which ones are appropriate and which ones aren't will keep the children away from getting into the negativity while quenching the curiosity within, and eventually this would be a good tool for both parenting and "Mental Revolution", something that our president has said since his first day as a president two years ago.

But even these negativities will see its positive reversal, soon. Yes, Indonesia is effed up, but nowadays the censorship-savvy people are more critical than ever, and now they are up against the grand nemesis of theirs: the cringe-worthy censorships that has been destroying the television programming aesthetics since 2010 and the unnecessary, WTF-ish site blocking due to the site in question being in par with porn sites.

Ending this post is a round-up of what kind of dramas we had here in the interwebz. We're still in the first quarter of 2016 yet there were already a barrage of dramas unfortunately, and as we go on it'd escalate quickly...

Tancepp teruuussss~~
Posted by Indra S Prower on Wednesday, February 17, 2016