MUI May Issue Halal Certifications for Indonesian Television Shows
Indonesian television shows will be stamped with the Indonesian Council of Ulema’s (MUI) Halal seal under a plan currently being discussed by the MUI and the West Java Broadcasting Commission.
The two organizations met to discuss the possibility of implementing a Halal seal for “decent” TV shows that do not feature themes or images that “violate norms.” The certification would ensure that television viewers are protected from programs that could degrade the nation’s morality, West Java Broadcasting Commission head Neneng Athiatul said.
“The Broadcasting Law has stipulated that the broadcasting content should respect religious values,” Neneng told the Antara news agency. “Therefore, we think that a halal certification is possible.”
It is the latest in an ongoing effort by Indonesian officials to regulate morality in mass media and daily life. The government has banned pornography, making the possession and distribution of “salacious” materials punishable by jail time. It has attempted to regulate the length of women’s skirts and police have refused to issue a permit for Lady Gaga’s sold out Jakarta concert in an effort to preserve the nation’s moral fiber.
The MUI, which currently issues Halal certificates for food products, is working on drafting a criteria for television shows.
“There is similarity between food that is consumed by the body and [TV] programs that are consumed by the spirit,” MUI West Java edict division head Umar Salim said. “Halal [methods] that are used for food could also be implemented for TV programs.”
Salim said that religiously minded Halal programing would result in increased ratings.