Sans the Centerfold, Playboy Still Strikes a Nerve

Monday, April 17, 2006

Sans the Centerfold, Playboy Still Strikes a Nerve

The New York Times reports that militant Muslim groups in Indonesia are trying to thwart efforts to publish an Indonesian version of the magazine Playboy:
[Ponti Carolus] began publishing (the magazine) in Jakarta a week ago, absent Playboy's iconic nude centerfold or anything else remotely provocative except its famous name. The magazine quickly sold out. Then, on Wednesday, about 300 men from the Islamic Defenders Front — a self-appointed moral police force known for violent attacks on bars — turned up at the magazine's offices ..... Stones were thrown and windows smashed.

... Playboy moved out of its office. But the Jakarta police chief said the only course was for the offending magazine to suspend publication of a second issue to avoid further public disturbance.

... A draft law before the Indonesian Parliament would impose Islamic strictures. It mandates large fines and jail terms for buying and distributing pornography, and makes homosexuality an offense. It also prohibits provocative dancing and requires women to cover pretty much every part of their bodies below the neck.

Mr. Carolus, however, takes the position that it is other media, not his magazine, that offer the moral danger. "If I want to see naked pictures," he said, "I go to the Internet. It costs nothing. U.S. Playboy costs me about $12."

Indeed, a Web site with explicit sexual content that claims to have received more than 46 million hits last month lists Indonesia as its No. 1 source of viewers.
Gotta love the web.

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