Indonesian lawmakers were asked to consider a bill that would block websites promoting LGBT content.
The request came from a commission in the Indonesian House of Representatives last week, according to the Jakarta Post. The commission urged the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information to consider the propaganda bill, and said that the measure will ‘enhance cyber security’.
‘LGBT issues can damage national security, identity, culture and the faith of Indonesians,’ said commission chair Mahfudz Siddiq, who also belongs to the Islamist Prosperous Justice Party.
In a response to the media, a spokesperson from the ministry has confirmed the request and also revealed that a panel has been created to discuss the proposal.
‘The House commission has urged us, so we have to follow up on their proposal,’ said spokesperson Ismail Cowidu.
He added: ‘However, the panel will still refer to the mechanism (to ban such websites) as stipulated in the prevailing provision.’
Indonesia currently stands as the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. The government has been known to crackdown on LGBT activists, both local and abroad, and their work in the country. Earlier last month, the Ministry of Communications and Information passed a bill to block social networking site Tumblr on the grounds of ‘pornographic content’. Indonesian officials have also demanded that Facebook and other social media websites remove LGBT-themed emojis.
Activists, however, are still hopeful that such a bill will not be passed.
Dédé Oetomo, a LGBT activist based in Surabaya, feels that the propaganda bill is ‘still at the rhetorical level’. He also shared that even though ‘more conservative, Islamist’ lawmakers support the bill, the country’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla is among those who have questioned the measure.
‘We note that the term ‘propaganda’ is based on the wrong premise that LGBT activists recruit heterosexual or cisgender children to ‘become’ LGBT,’ said Oetomo.
He added: ‘We can start by debunking that myth.’