16 October 2010

"The Sex Business Behind Bars"...

I was reading The Jakarta Globe earlier on. Unfortunately, this is not the post to bag the Riady clan out over the quality of their publications. But, one can always get a good little chuckle reading the agenda that rears its head between the lines. It should not be too long and they will dispense with the charade, like Rupert Murdoch has done, and just get on with the job of trying to convince people they are legitimate alternative news providers.

Anyways, "The Sex Business Behind Bars". Now SCTV has produced a documentary on the sex business as it happens in Indonesian prisons. The fact that sex happens in prison should not be a shocker to anyone, the fact that in Indonesian prisons (and a whole lot of prisons elsewhere in the world) it is possible to 'benefit' from the services of prostitutes is not really much of a revelation either. Nevertheless, the hidden camera footage of the business end of these transactions being done might have been more revealing than the act itself, particularly with respect to 'who' was facilitating this.

Yet, this is only a story because SCTV claim that the Ministry of Law and Human Rights has been onto them, and at them, non-stop to pull the show from their programming schedule. The Ministry has also made it known that it intends to investigate. So, let them investigate. There is nothing from stopping them from launching an internal investigation on the issue, even without having seen the documentary or getting a copy of it before or after it is shown on the idiot box (aka television).

Yet, it seems that all manner of groups will be joining in the investigation phase, and will be presumably investigating each other. The media have vowed to investigate the pressure the Ministry has allegedly been exerting as this is considered to be a form of censorship. And, censorship is a restriction of the freedom of speech. Ho hum...

However, the Ministry spokesperson, Martua Batubara, has gone on the record to say that the only request from the Ministry is for a copy of the tape after it is shown for the Ministry's documentation (and presumably archiving) purposes. This would not strike me as a particularly onerous request in light of the fact that SCTV would have already shown the documentary. Now, if the request was for a pre-screening and then some sort of editorial right to alter the content, then that would be an issue of interference. Yet, when it is all said and done, SCTV could still conceivably run the gauntlet and tell the Ministry to bugger off and just go ahead and screen the documentary.

What is not clear from The Jakarta Globe article is just why SCTV has apparently bowed to the Ministry demand. Is there the threat of legal action along the lines of "You show this program and we will commence immediate legal action and sue you into bankruptcy and then out of business!"? The idea that there is hidden camera footage in the documentary suggests that SCTV was not entirely up-front with prison officials as to what they were doing whilst inside prisons, or outside prison and dealing with prison officials.

So, I guess the point is I still really do not feel any the wiser with respect to why SCTV pulled the plug.

Well, I might have to do a quick survey of the Indonesian language news sites and see what is trending over in Indonesian news-land. If I learn anything, then I might post it here as a postscript.

No comments: