By Presi Mandari (AFP) – 1 day ago
JAKARTA — An Indonesian rock star surrendered to police Tuesday over celebrity sex videos that appeared online, as Islamist protestors demanded he be stoned to death in a backlash against Internet freedoms.
Singer Nazril Ariel, 28, has been at the centre of the “Peterporn” scandal, named after his band Peterpan, since the two grainy but explicit videos went viral on Indonesian websites earlier this month.
“Ariel surrendered today at 3:00 am (2000 GMT Monday) after police named him a suspect for breaching the anti-pornography law. If he hadn’t surrendered we would have arrested him,” police deputy spokesman Zainuri Lubis said.
Indonesia’s first celebrity sex video scandal has exposed the widening gulf between traditional — often Islamic — values and modern Internet-driven youth culture in the Southeast Asian archipelago.
As the videos continued to circulate online, hundreds of radical Islamists rallied in Jakarta to demand adulterers be put to death by stoning.
As a divorcee, Ariel should be stoned along with married television celebrity Cut Tari, 32, who allegedly appears with him in one of the X-rated videos, an Islamist spokesman said.
“Those people who have sex before marriage should be caned with a stick 100 times in public. Adulterers should be half-buried and stoned to death,” said protest coordinator Fadilah Karimah, a 32-year-old woman.
“The more people who see it the better.”
The other video appears to show Ariel having sex with his current girlfriend Luna Maya, 26.
The celebrities deny uploading the clips but could still face up to 12 years in jail for breaches of the country’s 2008 anti-pornography law. Tari and Ariel could also face up to nine months in prison for adultery.
Calls for Taliban-style sharia law have little traction in mainly moderate Indonesia, but President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has said the videos underline the need for tougher controls on the Internet.
“We have increasingly realised that our nation should not stay naked and be crushed by the information technology frenzy, because there will be many victims,” he told reporters on Friday.
Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring, from a conservative Islamic party, has jumped on the scandal to revive his project — shelved due to broad opposition earlier this year — to filter the Internet for “negative” content.
Sembiring has promised to issue a ministerial decree by the end of the year to “save the young” from Internet porn, despite concerns it will trample on civil liberties and encourage Islamist vigilantism.
The minister was forced to issue an apology on social networking websites after linking the scandal to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in comments to reporters last week.
He also linked pornography to HIV-AIDS and said funding to fight the disease was a waste of money.
The country’s blogosphere has lit up over the Peterporn debate, with some backing tighter controls on pornographic content on the Internet and others expressing support for the celebrities.
A “Support Ariel” feed on micro-blogging site Twitter included this comment from a fan: “The police are always champions when it comes to arresting people in cases like this. Try getting them to arrest corruptors…”
IT researcher and free-speech advocate Donny Budi Utoyo said plans to filter the Internet for porn were doomed to backfire.
“Internet filtering is not effective and has the potential to be misused by people to stifle freedom of expression in the new media,” he said.
Indonesia has about 40 million Internet users out of a total population of 240 million, according to official figures.