Indonesia’s broadcasting regulator has sent a written warning to one of the country’s biggest television networks warning it that it violated its code of conduct for a program featuring transgendered women.
On Thursday the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) said Trans TV’s decision to air a segment featuring several transgendered women on its popular talk show, “Brownis Tonight” violated its 2012 broadcasting standard in part because the program exposed children to inappropriate behavior, the regulator said in a state on its website.
“The rules are clear, both regarding respect for moral values ??and decency, and the protection of children and adolescents from content depicting inappropriate,” Hartly Stefano, KPI’s commissioner said in a statement.
Stefano did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
KPI’s move to censure Trans TV is thought to be the first such move since February 2016 when the body suddenly banned broadcasts of content depicting LGBT favourably. Such censures and efforts to stifle on air discussion of LGBT issues explain the overwhelmingly negative views most Indonesians have or their gay and lesbian countrymen.
“Most Indonesians base their views of LGBT people on fear,” says Muhammad Heychael, at media research NGO Remotivi .
Myths including that pedophilia is rampant among gays are widely held by many here. In late 2016 the government banned gay hook up apps including Grindr in part on worries that it was used by a child prostitution ring
“People are fed a diet of myths. They need more education about LGBT issues.”
Sadly, Heychael said the KPI’s move was predictable. Commissioners, including Stefano are elected by parliament. Parliament is currently considering changes to the criminal code that would ban all sex outside marriage.
The episode stands out because until now broadcasters are wary of challenging the KPI edict even though Indonesia’s constitution guarantees a free speech. In depth documentaries centering on LGBT issues are off limits, according to one producer at KompasTV who did not want to be identified because the topic was sensitive.
To be sure, the Trans TV segment itself did little promote LGBT understanding. Discussion dovetailed with Trans TV usual fare of trashy television, centering on rivalries of a group of trans woman, known as waria here.
Even so, Trans TV faces reduced broadcast hours or can be temporarily forced off air for failure to follow the regulator’s code of conduct.