Popular online multiplayer game PlayerUnknown's Battleground may not survive for much longer in Indonesia if the Indonesian Ulema Council has its way. (JG Screenshot)

Squad Up: Indonesia Considers Ban on PUBG

MARCH 22, 2019

Jakarta. Indonesia's Communication and Information Technology Ministry is considering a nationwide ban on PlayerUnknown's Battleground, or PUBG, a massive multiplayer shooting game, following a call from an Indonesian Islamic organization, an official said on Thursday (21/03). 

The West Java chapter of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) said early this week that it is working on a fatwa to ban the game The council said PUBG, released by Chinese tech giant Tencent, might have inspired Brenton Tarrant, the right-wing terrorist who killed 50 people using military-stye semiautomatic rifles in the Christchurch mosque shootings last week. An Indonesian, Lilik Abdul Hamid, died in the shootings and two others were wounded.   

"If MUI thinks the game is destructive, they will review it first and then submit a report to the ministry. We are ready to follow up on any request for a ban," Semuel Pangerapan, the ministry's director general of application and information, told CNN Indonesia.

The ministry, acting according to a 2016 ministerial regulation, had already singled out the game—which now boasts over a million players in Indonesia and 20 million worldwide—for showing acts of violence and restricted it to players aged 18 years and over.


Malaysian ulemas have also called for a ban on PUBG. But the country's 26-year-old Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said it would be a wrong move to blame the admittedly violent game for extremist acts.   

Indonesia has issued bans for many video and online games, citing a wide range of reasons from blasphemy to national security. The country banned Fights of Gods last year, arguing that the game's premise of pitting prophets and gods from major religions against each other in a free-for-all fight is downright blasphemous. A 2004 stealth game, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, was also banned for using the bloody East Timor Independence War as its setting.