Bali Porn Bill Would Outlaw Bikinis and Threaten Tourism

<-- Show of force: Balinese demonstrators, some in ceremonial masks, protest against the "porn" Bill

First it was the Bali bombers, now it is law-makers in faraway Jakarta that threaten to drive Aussies from the resort island.

Bikini-clad tourists may have to cover up if a law is passed across Indonesia.

The Bill is designed to define pornography and set a moral tone across the vast, mainly Muslim archipelago.

Bali, which is mainly Hindu, is up in arms, fearing for its easy-going lifestyle and sensual charms.

The Bill, which could be passed in weeks, criminalises all public acts and material capable of raising sexual desires or violating "community morality", including poetry and music.

It has won the support of Golkar, the country's largest party, but is opposed by the Democratic Party of Struggle, backed by the former president Megawati Sukarnoputri. Democratic spokesman Made Arjaya said the Bill could hurt Bali's tourism industry, which was still recovering from the terrorist bombings in 2002 and 2005.

"I can't imagine the impact on all the hotels and the tourists we have here if the Government insists on issuing the porn law," he said.

"Everyone will probably be afraid to come to Bali."

Balinese legislators, rights activists, artists and tourism operators plan to join forces in a campaign of civil disobedience against the move.

They say it will encourage Muslim extremists to enforce their values on Bali.

"Balinese . . . have a different view on what sexual or pornographic materials are," Bali intellectual Wayan Sayoga said at a rally of 5000 people on Wednesday.

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