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Friday, February 4, 2011

The Video That Incarcerated The Radio Star

  On our side of the pond, sex tapes can make someone quite famous. Kim Kardashian and others have used the sex tape as a stepping stone to fame and fortune. And, as I reported to you last June, in Indonesia a sex tape gave an already established star some unwanted press and an arrest.

  For those not in the loop, Peterpan member Nazril "Ariel" Irham recorded himself having sex with his girlfriends. 2 of the videos circulated the worldwide internet, causing him some embarrassment. However, Indonesia recently enacting laws making manufacture of pornography illegal, and Ariel was arrested. Conservative parents pressured the government to take a firm stand against what was seen as a corruption of morals. Indonesia itself is a very secular nation, but has a vocal and wealthy hardline minority. This conservative minority has a wealthy lobby and has in rare instances used violent actions in order to have their message heard.

  Well, the government listened. Nazril Irham was sentenced yesterday to three and a half years in prison and fined $28, 000 for filming himself having voluntary sex with long-term partners. And religious hardliners think the sentence was too lenient. While everyday Indonesians viewed Ariel and his partner as innocent, it didn't matter. The moral minority won and a man is going to spend a large time behind bars.

One can't look at this case without thinking of home. Extreme social conservatives are currently lobbying for a return to an age of obscenity laws and moral policing. And they have money- a lot of it. If a secular nation like Indonesia can bow to the wants of a miniscule percentage of the population with a large lobby, it can happen anywhere. Indonesia's law is a new one, and one that is having an impact on everyday people. Criminalizing private sexual behaviour will not make it cease to exist, but it will erode the freedom we hold so dear.

  No matter how wealthy; how famous you are, attacks on personal liberty can and will affect you. If you enjoy the lifestyle to which you are accustomed, use your voice at the ballot box. There are millions of Indonesians who wish they did; people who would have voted if they knew what the ramifications would be. It is your choice as to who best represents you. Vote carefully and as often as required.

If you don't vote, you can't complain when those who do vote in a government that doesn't represent you.

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