Indonesia Labels LGBT Rights Advocacy Site Pornographic

Published: February 8, 2012

"Oppressive governments cannot stop the tide of LGBT voices—whether they be on the Internet, in the media or on the streets."
-Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director IGLHRC

Statement from Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

"This is not the first time that attempts to organize and educate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their allies have been met with state censorship. All too often, governments use the charge of pornography as a smokescreen to attack freedom of expression. Oppressive governments can’t stop the tide of LGBT voices—whether they are on the Internet, in the media or on the streets. IGLHRC stands with human rights defenders in Indonesia in their struggle to keep the web free for dialog on basic human rights issues."
Background

On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 10:39 PM, an LGBT human rights defender in Indonesia sent the following message to IGLHRC: "The ILGHRC website has been banned by Telkomsel and IM2, mobile phone operators, in Indonesia. According to a spokesperson for the internet service provider IM2, the order came from the Minister of Communication and Information who … banned [the website] due to it’s content which, they determined contains pornography."

Subsequently, Indonesian LGBT activists who tried to access the website reported that they had received the following message: Site inaccessible. The site you wish to open cannot be accessed. (Situs tidak bisa diakses. Situs yang hendak Anda buka tidak dapat diakses.)

Web censorship in Indonesia is frequent but is neither well organized nor uniform and depends on the operator and their respective location. Therefore, with word that www.IGLHRC.org had been banned, IGLHRC reached out to dozens of activists in Indonesia who investigated the accessibility of the website. Indonesian activists confirmed that they were unable to access the IGLHRC website. Many reported they were denied accessibility, especially when the providers were mobile phone operators IM2 and Telkomsel. (Mobile phones are widely used in Indonesian for Internet access).
Specifically, www.IGLHRC.org was censored in Jakarta (Telkomsel, Indosat, 3), Bandung (Telkomsel, XL), Palembang, South Sumatra, Surabaya (XL), Salatiga, Central Java as well as other areas. Censoring operators include Telkomsel, Indosat (IM-3), Three, XL Axiata, and Telkom Speedy. Only First Media, a small cable operator consistently refused to ban the site.
Recent History and Relevant Documents

In 2010 an important Southeast Asia Civil Society Statement on Internet Governance was issued https://right2net.wordpress.com/statement/igf-2010/

King Oey of Arus Pelangi, a national LGBT organization based in Jakarta reported that www.IGLHRC.org website was also banned last year.

In 2011 Frank la Rue United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression while visiting Southeast Asia, spoke about the importance of the Internet as a means of communication and human rights advocacy. Additionally, a coalition of civil society groups in Southeast Asia advocating for freedom of information on the Internet addressed the recurring situation of regional Internet censorship with this 2011 statement on Internet Governance: http://www.forum-asia.org/?p=10111
 

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