Continue reading "Netizen Report: Memes and ‘Obscene’ Messages Are Under Fire in Indonesia"
Global Voices Advocacy’s Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in Internet rights around the world. Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Information is seeking to increase controls on “obscene” content online. The country already takes pains to censor online pornography, dating services, websites with information related to sex and sexuality, and online content that is deemed insulting to Islam. Director General Semuel Pangerapan announced that officials would summon representatives from Google, Twitter and WhatsApp (owned by Facebook) to pressure these companies to screen their networks for content that they deem to be sexually obscene. The announcement specifically addressed “lewd” animated GIFs and the prevalence of the typically playful looped animations circulating on WhatsApp. The Ministry threatened to block WhatsApp if the company failed to remove such GIFs within 48 hours. The company, which is owned by Facebook, did not see this as an empty threat