Indonesian police to ask Playboy not to launch second edition

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Police plan to ask Playboy magazine not to publish a second edition of its magazine in Indonesia because of fears that doing so could inflame Muslim activists, the capital's police chief said today.

"We have asked to meet the editors of Playboy today so we can reach an agreement to delay the publication of the second edition .... so it will not trigger more reaction," said Gen. Firman Gani.

Playboy representatives were not immediately available for comment.

Previously police and government officials have said that there were no laws to ban the magazine, which does not feature any nudity and is no more risque than scores of other local and foreign publications already for sale.

Gani also said police were investigating an attack by rock-throwing Muslim hardliners yesterday on the building that housed the magazine's offices in South Jakarta.

A sign on the door of the building today said the magazine was no longer based there.

So far protests have remained small against the magazine, which was launched last week. But they could get larger, leaving authorities in a difficult position given the fact they cannot ban the publication.

Gani's comments may be more aimed at trying to calm the situation by showing Muslim groups that the police are responding to their demands, rather than any meaningful attempt to get the magazine to close down.

Playboy is unlikely to worry too much about the protests because of the publicity it is generating for the magazine, which reportedly sold out within a day of its launch and was front-page news across the country.

Despite the fact that it contains no nudity, Islamic politicians and preachers have lined up to condemn Playboy, with most saying that the name of the magazine itself was grounds for the government to ban it.

The magazine's arrival in Indonesia coincides with a campaign by conservative Muslims to press parliament to introduce tough draft laws banning pornography and obscene acts, which critics say are an attack on personal freedoms.

Indonesia is home to more Muslims than any other nation, but is a secular state.

Most people follow a moderate form of the faith, and conservative groups enjoy little active support.