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West Java Restricts ‘Adult’ Foreign Pop Songs

2019-3-4

Indonesia’s most populous province has set restrictions on when more than 80 English language songs can be broadcast.

The West Java provincial broadcast commission identified 85 songs its members consider “adult” because of their offensive language. It said that local radio and television stations can only play such music between 10 at night and 3 in the morning.

The songs include Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You, Ariana Grande’s Love Me Harder and That’s What I Like by Bruno Mars.

FILE - Ariana Grande performs at Wango Tango in Los Angeles, June 2, 2018. Ariana Grande’s Love Me Harder is one of the songs restricted in West Java.
FILE - Ariana Grande performs at Wango Tango in Los Angeles, June 2, 2018. Ariana Grande’s Love Me Harder is one of the songs restricted in West Java.

Indonesia is the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country. It has seen a rise in restrictions on subjects or behavior considered pornographic. The country is officially secular, meaning there is no state religion. But local lawmakers sometimes pass laws based on sharia or Islamic law.

Broadcast programs are barred from having songs and/or video that show or contain “obscenities, sex...and drugs,” said Neneng Athiatul Faiziyah, a member of the commission. She said the action followed public comments on the issue. There were similar objections over thousands of songs, she said.

Faiziyah said that she and other members were also making a list of Indonesian language songs they considered “adult”.

West Java is home to 48 million people. It is known for being among the most conservative provinces in Indonesia.

At the national level, Indonesia already has strong anti-pornography laws. Critics say these measures can be misused to threaten tolerance or creative expression in the Southeast Asian country.

Last month, Indonesia’s parliament dropped a music bill after protests by artists and rights activists who were concerned that it could restrict freedom of expression.

The bill included wording that aimed to prevent the creation of music considered to include bad influences from foreign cultures. The Jakarta Post newspaper said it also was designed to control influences that could incite violence or illegal behaviors.

I'm Jonathan Evans.

The Reuters news agency reported this story. George Grow adapted the report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

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Words in This Story

pornographicadj. of or involving images or writing meant to produce an intense emotional reaction

obscenity – n. an extremely offensive word or expression

tolerance – n. the ability to accept something

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