Indonesia backpedals on plan to block Tumblr
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Indonesia backpedals on plan to block Tumblr

THE Indonesian government has stated that it would not block access to popular microblogging and social networking website Tumblr after all.

This statement comes less than 12 hours after it announced on Wednesday that it would block the website from being accessed within the country until Tumblr agreed to remove explicit content depicting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender relationships, as well as pornography.

According to Coconuts Jakarta, Communications and Information Technology Ministry spokesman Ismail Cawidu was quoted by Detik yesterday saying that the government would not block Tumblr, but would instead request them to block access to explicit content for Indonesian users.

It is believed that the ministry had backtracked on its plans to block the website due to resounding protests from local netizens over the proposal.

Using the hashtags #savetumblr and #tolakblokirtumblr (“Reject Tumblr block”), many social media users voiced their contention with the government’s plan.

It was reported that the ministry’s e-business director-general Azhar Hasyim had said on Tuesday that the government intended to block Tumblr, along with 476 other websites, for displaying “vulgar” and “pornographic” content, particularly those which were LGBT in nature.

Additionally, the ministry’s censorship panel had met with Indonesian representatives from social media and messaging platforms Twitter, LINE and BlackBerry on Wednesday to discuss the filtering of offensive content.

The panel called for these services to “do more” to ensure that pornographic, radical and “culturally sensitive” material would be filtered in accordance with national laws.

READ MORE: Indonesia warns messaging apps to drop same-sex emoticons

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s most influential Muslim leaders have said that they reject all promotion and support for LGBT groups and encouraged the government to make gay sexual activity illegal.

The statement by the Indonesian Ulema Council, made up of clerics and other Islamic organizations, follows the government’s move on Monday urging the U.N. Development Program to deny funding to programs regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla said LGBT programs contradict the social and cultural values of the country.

The Council on Wednesday called LGBT activities “harmful” and “a potential source of diseases”.

Homosexuality is a sensitive issue in Indonesia, which is a Muslim-majority nation, and official statements on LGBT matters range from tolerance to outright condemnation.

Additional reporting by Associated Press.

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