Made Arya Kencana, Ulma Haryanto & Ismira Lutfia
The snowballing online spread of sex videos purportedly featuring celebrities has renewed public debate over the need for controls over the Internet.
The steamy “Peterporn” videos, which are believed to feature two of the nation’s most bankable product endorsers — pop band Peterpan frontman Ariel and girlfriend Luna Maya — have been hogging the headlines this week.
The scandal heated up when another sex tape, this one allegedly featuring Ariel with model and gossip show host Cut Tari, found its way onto the Internet.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Tifatul Sembiring, speaking in Bali on Wednesday, said it would be difficult to block the sites containing the clips.
He also claimed to have received calls to revive the much-criticized ministerial regulation draft on Internet content.
“We can’t just turn a deaf ear to the misuse of the Internet,” ministry spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto said.
Irwin Day, chairman of the Indonesian Internet Cafe Association, said members of the group could help restrict access to the sites but acknowledged that it would be impossible to stop the videos from being distributed.
“Especially since they were spread via cellphones, parents can’t do anything except maybe check their child’s phone and Internet access at home,” Irwin said, advising parents to keep a close watch over their children’s online activities.
The chairman of the Indonesian Alliance of Independent Journalists, Nezar Patria, said that while he agreed there should be some sort of regulation to control “harmful content” on the Internet, there was no way to control content on social networking sites.
“We don’t want the regulation to limit the freedom to access good and beneficial information on the Internet,” he said.
Nezar said “mainstream media could help by reporting the news proportionately.” It should consider ethical issues when reporting the news and not dig up the dirt more than necessary.
“We can’t let it be blown out of proportion and threaten our hard-earned freedom of expression,” he said.
Indonesia Telecommunications Users Group secretary general Muhammad Jumadi criticized television stations for feeding their audience a steady stream of the racy clips and “triggering curiosity.”
“The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission should take firmer action in reprimanding broadcasters to limit reporting this issue,” he said, adding that netizens should not make things worse by forwarding the clips.
Child rights activist Ahmad Taufan Damanik said there should be stricter control of the Internet to protect children from being exposed to racy content but this had to be “balanced with freedom of expression.”
Valens Riyadi, from the Indonesian Internet Service Provider Association, disagrees with those who say there is a need for online restrictions, saying “We should put more emphasis on smart and sensible use of the Internet and cellphones.”
Valens said the Internet was already regulated by the 2008 Information and Electronic Transactions Law (ITE), the 1999 Telecommunications Law and the 2008 Pornography Law.
Seto Mulyadi, chairman of the National Commission for Child Protection (KPAI), called on the police to arrest whoever had spread the video.