Total erasure | Indonesia set to ban all LGBT content on TV

Adding to the growing repression of LGBT people in Indonesia, the country is planning to completely ban all LGBT characters on television.

According to The Jakarta Post, the House of Representatives is likely to approve a broadcasting bill that will erase the representation of LGBT people and issues from television.

Lawmakers have thrown their weight behind the legislation which will require all content, including adverts, to be vetted and censored before being screened.

“We can’t allow LGBT behaviour on TV. It is against our culture,” said Supiadin Aries Saputra from the NasDem Party.

“We have to ban it early before it becomes a lifestyle. It’s dangerous and can ruin the morality of the younger generation,” he insisted.

“I am sure there are still more creative ways to entertain people [instead of showing LGBT behaviour],” added Hanafi Rais from the National Mandate Party.

The legislation will bolster moves by broadcasting officials who have previously planned to restrict LGBT content that might encourage children and adolescents to imitate or justify “LGBT behaviours”.

The government has also ordered instant messaging apps such as Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger to remove same-sex themed emoticons from their services.

Despite Indonesia’s reputation as a moderate Islamic country, there’s been an alarming spike in discrimination against LGBT people since January 2016. This has included harassment and arrests, abuse and intimidation by religious groups and homophobic condemnation and inflammatory statements by officials.

Earlier this month police in a village in the West Java province conducted a raid on the homes of 12 “suspected lesbians”, forcing them from the area. The action was in response to complaints from local Islamic youth groups and religious leaders that the women’s cohabitation was “against the teachings of Islam”.

In October last year, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo told the BBC that the police must protect LGBTI people and that “there should be no discrimination against anyone”. Matters have only escalated since he made the statement, however, and Widodo has remained silent on the issue.

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