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Fatwa against Netflix? Possible if public demands it, MUI says

Jakarta Post - January 23, 2020

Jakarta – The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has said that it is ready to issue a fatwa against popular streaming service Netflix should the platform be reported and found to have hosted "negative" content.

MUI fatwa division head Hasanuddin said digital platforms, such as social media and streaming services, were susceptible to the type of content that violated religious and legal norms in the country. He then called on fellow decision-makers to block digital service providers that offered such content to their customers in Indonesia.

"This includes negative content on Netflix, if any," Hasanuddin said on Wednesday as quoted by tempo.co.

However, Hasanuddin said the MUI had yet to receive reports of such content from the public. The MUI had previously issued edicts against works containing "deviant" sexual acts, violence, pornography and terrorism, he said.

"Should any member of the public object to the content on Netflix and demand a fatwa [against it], the council will study the matter and proceed to hold a fatwa hearing. It will not take long for the MUI to issue a fatwa against negative content on Netflix," Hasanuddin said.

He went on to convey his appreciation for Telkom Group's decision to block Netflix, saying that the state-owned telecommunications giant had done the right thing to protect the country's younger generations from negative content.

"Telkom Group's decision to block [Netflix] represented their social responsibility to protect the public from works containing negative elements, such as pornography, sexual deviation, violence and terrorism," Hasanuddin said.

Earlier this month, Netflix struck a US$1 million partnership deal with the Education and Culture Ministry on various activities, including scriptwriting workshops, agile governance workshops and an online safety training program to bolster the country's film industry and digital content infrastructure.

The news was met with enthusiasm on social media among millennials and those of the so-called Generation Z, with many favorably comparing Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim's swift decision to "get on with the times" to Telkom's and the Communication and Information Ministry's "antiquated attitude" toward Netflix.

Despite public optimism that the government would reconsider its ban on Netflix following the Education and Culture Ministry's partnership deal, the streaming platform remains banned on Telkom's cellular provider Telkomsel and internet service provider Indihome. (rfa)

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/01/23/fatwa-against-netflix-possible-if-public-demands-it-mui-says.html