Playboy, the Islamic Defenders’ Front and the Law: Enforcing Islamic Norms in Post-Soeharto Indonesia?

20 Pages Posted: 10 Oct 2012

See all articles by Helen Pausacker

Helen Pausacker

Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, Melbourne Law School

Date Written: October 10, 2012

Abstract

This article, using the controversy over the Indonesian Playboy magazine as a case study, analyses the struggle to enforce Islamic values in Indonesian society, through increasing Islamisation of legislation and judicial decisions. The author argues that the Front Pembela Indonesia (FPI, the Islamic Defenders Front) reported the editor of Indonesian Playboy to police, both because Playboy was a symbol of Western decadence and to garner support for the anti-pornography Bill, which was then under debate. Conversely, the charged atmosphere of the debate around the Bill led to an unlikely group of supporters of Playboy in the coalition against the Bill. The author argues that the outcome of the case in 2007, when the judges dismissed the case on a technical legal point, was a victory for the liberal side, but that the subsequent passing of the Pornography Law in 2008, and the imprisonment of Erwin Arnada, editor of Playboy, was a victory for the conservatives. Ultimately, however, the release of Arnada from prison indicates that the Islamists’ attempts to enforce Islamic values through legislation is a struggle still in progress, rather than one concluded.

Keywords: Islam, Indonesia, law

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Pausacker, Helen, Playboy, the Islamic Defenders’ Front and the Law: Enforcing Islamic Norms in Post-Soeharto Indonesia? (October 10, 2012). Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 13, No. 1, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2159547

Helen Pausacker (Contact Author)

Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, Melbourne Law School ( email )

Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street
University of Melbourne, VIC, 3010
Australia

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