JAKARTA (Reuters) – Days after a long-running Indonesian television comedy aired, its producers got a letter from the broadcast commission warning that a male character in the show was “dressed and behaving like a woman” and could violate broadcasting standards.
“We evaluated the show…we immediately reminded our staff to be careful because we are minimizing LGBT content on our network,” said Anita Wulandari Prasojo, head of marketing and public relations at Trans7, the private television station that aired the show “Opera van Java” last month.
She may have to do more than that in the future. Indonesia’s parliament is considering national legislation that would ban lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) content from TV screens by the end of the year.
The draft bill, which Reuters reviewed, would revise the broadcasting law to scrub content with “LGBT behavior”. Broadcasts and advertisements that show “lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender behavior” would be banned.
It does not explicitly define “LGBT behavior”. It would be the latest measure targeting the LGBT community in a rising tide of hostility in the world’s third-largest democracy.
“LGBT is not criminal, but if it enters the public sphere, if it’s broadcast to the public, then of course it must be regulated,” said Bobby Rizaldi, a member of parliament involved in drafting the law.