Can Arifinto Be Charged Under the Porn Law?

By : webadmin | on 7:57 AM April 12, 2011
Category : Archive

 Heru Andriyanto, Nivell Rayda & Anita Rachman

Experts are at odds over whether a lawmaker caught watching pornography on his tablet PC is liable under the Anti-Pornography Law, which he ironically helped pass in 2008.

Arifinto, a member of the staunchly anti-smut Prosperous Justice Party (PKS), announced on Monday that he would resign from the House of Representatives days after he was photographed watching the film during a plenary session.

Chairul Huda, a criminal law expert, said Arifinto could be charged if it was proven that he had stored the porn file on his computer instead of accidentally opening a random e-mail link, as the lawmaker had claimed.

A series of pictures taken by a Media Indonesia photographer show Arifinto opening a file saved on his computer.

“Viewing is not a crime if he is only a recipient,” Chairul said. “In such a case, the person who sent the pornographic content through e-mail or other means is the one who should be charged.”

Article 6 of the law prohibits people from broadcasting, displaying, utilizing, possessing or storing pornographic material, except for authorities — such as the board of censors or police — who can view such material for official purposes.

Violations to this rule, as stated in Article 32 of the law, carry a maximum penalty of four years in prison and a fine of up to Rp 2 billion ($231,000).

Hasril Hertanto, an analyst from the University of Indonesia, said Arifinto’s fate hinged on whether or not he deliberately viewed licentious material.

“If you are unaware that a particular Web site contains pornography, then it is permissible. But if there is enough evidence that [Arifinto] was browsing the Internet, intentionally accessing pornographic sites, then it is punishable,” Hasril said.

He said the embattled legislator could face heavier penalties if he had downloaded pornographic files.

“If there is proof that he forwarded the materials to others, then he could also be charged with violating the Information and Electronic Transactions Law,” Hasril said.

However, Eddy Hiariej, a law expert from Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, said Arifinto could not be charged because he accessed and viewed the content privately.

“My interpretation of the Anti-Pornography Law is that storing and viewing porn is not a crime if it is meant for private use,” he said. “Doing it at a hearing is morally wrong, but the worst he could face is punishment from the House Ethics Council.”

Fahri Hamzah, a PKS officer, argued that Arifinto should not face sanctions because porn should not be available in the first place.

“[Punish] the one who spreads pornography and not the one who keeps it.”

 
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