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Draft rules on multimedia content dropped

(AJI/IFEX) - The Indonesian government rejected a controversial draft regulation on multimedia content which had sparked protests by both journalists and online users, media reports said.

According to, on 19 February 2010, Minister for Communication and Information (MCI) Tifatul Sembiring said he will "erase it", acknowledging that it "threatens freedom of the press in the country."

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono himself said during a cabinet plenary meeting on 18 February that the draft proved to be a sensitive issue that caused debates among the public. He added that further consideration on the draft should be given.

The "Jakarta Globe" quoted MCI spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto as saying that the proposed regulation provides for a 30-member multimedia content team that "would act on public complaints about disturbing content, and would only order Internet service providers to block Web sites that it felt were displaying material already banned under Indonesian law."

Critics claimed the draft regulation is the government's knee-jerk reaction to recent publicized cases of Internet abuse.

AJI said in a statement that, should this regulation take effect, press freedom would be endangered, especially online content provided by news organizations. It added that the draft rules contradict Article 4 of the Press Law Number 40 of 1999.

In a statement, AJI President Nezar Patria said that the Journalistic Ethical Code should be the sole means of regulating press content, whether printed, broadcast or online. For broadcasting, the Code of Conduct of Indonesian Broadcasting and the Indonesian Broadcasting Standard of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission should be used.

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