11 April 2011

Indonesia, Parliament & Porn: A Dilemma or A Storm In A Tea Cup?

There is nothing quite like vibrant democracy, and there is nothing quite like the era of technology that we live in right at this very moment. The reality is that technology makes everything we do potentially something that will find itself in the public domain. There is very little secrecy and even less privacy. The moments we thought were our own may in fact be shared with millions or perhaps billions of people in a very short space of time. The technology at our disposal also makes telling fibs and exaggerating justifications very difficult indeed.

Arifinto of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) in Indonesia learnt this the hard way over the past weekend. Arifinto is one of the founders of the PKS. The PKS is an Islamic Party that has been instrumental in pushing an Islamic agenda and the Islamization of Indonesia's legal code. The party was the driving force in the drafting, passage and enactment of pornography legislation. This legislation is draconian in many ways and has been used most recently to put one of Indonesia's favourite singers, Nazril "Ariel" Irham behind bars for making a skin flick and allegedly distributing it online.

The story is a simple one. Arifinto was sitting in a plenary session of the House of Representatives on Friday, just before Friday prayers, when for some reason, known only to him, he decided to use his taxpayer provided Galaxy Tablet computer to watch a little bit of porn. To be blunt, if the man needs a little bit of video stimulation to get him through the day, then so be it. However, he was on the taxpayer funded clock and as such the taxpayers that pay his salary and provide the perks like tablet computers deserve better.

Arifinto's problem was not that he watched a skin flick on public time, but rather that he got caught. In Indonesia's form of open and accountable democracy, photographers are allowed into plenary sessions. In this case, Mohamad Irfan of Media Indonesia was busy snapping away from the gallery and caught Arifinto watching the porn in question. Unfortunately, for Arifinto he was not sure what Irfan had snapped and decided to make a statement that he had inadvertently opened a link in an email sent to him. However, Irfan's photographs were in fact a series of photos that show Arifinto opening the porn film from a file that was obviously saved to his computer.

Arifinto has now decided that the best course of action is to fall on his own sword and seek redemption by stating that he will return to the job of reciting the Koran and seeking forgiveness from Allah for straying from the path. Oh, and if he resigns, rather than waiting for the inevitable push, he maintains all the benefits that he has accrued as a member of parliament.

Herein lies the dilemma. Should a member of parliament who was doing what Arifinto was doing, and has been busted in the manner that he has, have any rights at all to collect taxpayer money in the form of a pension? The other dilemma for Indonesia and for the PKS is what punishment should Arifinto receive? This is particularly important considering it was the KS that were arguing for the severest available punishment to be applied to Ariel. Now,Ariel made a home-made sex tape, which in and of itself is not illegal in Indonesia, which was then stolen and uploaded to the internet without his permission. Therefore, a simple question is what punishment should now be applied to a PKS legislator who has obviously been involved in the distribution of pornography using taxpayer funded perks of office?

Arifinto must not be allowed to resign and slink off into the sunset and enjoy a long and fruitful retirement courtesy of the taxpayer or public purse.What is good for the goose is good for the gander, Arifinto must see the inside of a jail cell. After all, consistency in the severity of punishment needs to be maintained in order to maintain the faith of the general public that the law enforcement system is working, right?

5 comments:

lawbugger said...

Yes,, but what if it was a video of hima and his wife? make any difference?

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawbugger...

Interesting thought. Yes and No. It would depend on what he was doing, or had done, with it.

In any event, it might make a difference to whether he could conceivably be charged under prevailing porn laws. However, it is still inappropriate to be watching home-made skin flicks on public time, don't ya think?

lawbugger said...

Yeh I agree. But we all stray - use the company car for the odd trip to the shop etc. My scenario (above) could be compared with a father lovingly looking at photos of his family during a DPR session. I dont think anyone would be pinched for that?

the fact that he resigns and gets a payout i think is standard practice. If he was found guilty of something I guess he would deserve and nothing.

Rob Baiton said...

@ Lawbugger...

You reckon this compares to a "father lovingly looking at photos of his family"?

I am not saying that it is not standard practice for Indonesia or anywhere, else for that matter, merely raising the point that it is a simple case of what is good for the goose must be good for the gander...

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