The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) issued stern warnings on Tuesday to 11 television stations for airing commercials of e-commerce platform Shopee featuring South Korean girl group Blackpink, after a complaint by a concerned citizen who claimed that the advertisements were 'indecent.' (Photo courtesy of Shopee Indonesia)

Shopee Advert Featuring K-Pop Group Blackpink Stirs Controversy

DECEMBER 12, 2018

Jakarta. The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission, or KPI, issued stern warnings on Tuesday to 11 television stations for airing commercials of e-commerce platform Shopee featuring South Korean girl group Blackpink, after a complaint by a concerned citizen who claimed that the advertisements were "indecent."

Hardly Stefano Pariela, content monitoring coordinator at the KPI, said the advertisements did not comply with Indonesian decency norms.

The issue arose when a woman named Maimon Herawati started an online petition on Friday to have the Shopee advertisement taken off the air. She claimed that it made her feel uncomfortable to watch the girl group dancing erotically in skimpy outfits during commercial breaks between children's programs.

"What sort of values are they trying to instill in children with advertisements like these?" she wrote in her petition. "What message are you trying to send to these pure white souls? That lifting skirts and teasing will make you famous? That the objectification of the female body is okay?"

More than 100,000 people had already signed the petition on Change.org as of Tuesday.

Maimon further claimed that the Shopee advertisement violated Indonesian broadcasting regulations.

"This is not about Blackpink; it's not about Shopee. I didn't go to Shopee [to protest]. I didn't go to the television stations. I didn't even go to the Blackpink website. I immediately went to the KPI ... because as you see, I want to do everything properly by the law," she told the Jakarta Globe in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Maimon's action was met with strong opposition from Blackpink fans, who are notoriously vocal on online forums. Several counter-petitions supporting the advert were made, with one jokingly petitioning for her to join the South Korean pop group as a member.

Shopee said in a statement on Tuesday that it responded to the petition by rescheduling the advert to air in more appropriate timeslots.

"The Indonesian Censorship Board has issued a permit for the advert and we always follow all Indonesian regulations," Rezki Yanuar, country brand manager at Shopee Indonesia, said in the statement.

Rezki added that the advert would only air until Wednesday anyway, when it would be replaced by an advert for National Online Shopping Day (Harbolnas), the country's online discount event akin to Singles Day in China or Cyber Monday in the United States.

According to Google Trends, Shopee is leading in search terms across Indonesia, beating its closest rivals, Tokopedia and Lazada.

 

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