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Indonesia’s West Java province cracks down on “adult” pop

Some of Ed Sheeran's songs can only be aired between 10 pm and 3 am in West Java

JAKARTA, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Indonesia’s most populous province has set restrictions on when certain English-language songs can be aired on television and radio, citing concerns over “vulgar” and “negative” lyrics.

The West Java provincial broadcast commission identified 85 songs labelled “adult” that can only be aired between 10 pm and 3 am. These include Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You”, Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like” and Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder”.

The world’s biggest Muslim-majority country has seen a rise in restrictions on content or behaviour deemed pornographic, sometimes through local bylaws based on sharia in the officially secular country.

“Broadcast programmes are prohibited from containing songs and/or video clips that display or contain obscenities, sex…and drugs,” Neneng Athiatul Faiziyah, a member of the commission, said on Tuesday.

She said the action followed complaints from the public and there were similar objections over thousands of songs.

Faiziyah said the broadcast commission was also drawing up a list of Indonesian language songs considered “adult”.

West Java is home to 48 million people and is known for being among the most conservative provinces in Indonesia.

At the national level, Indonesia already has strict anti-pornography laws that critics say can be misused to threaten tolerance or creative expression in the Southeast Asian country.

Indonesia’s parliament last month dropped a draft music bill after protests by artists and rights activists who were concerned that it could restrict freedom of expression.

The bill included articles that aimed to prevent the creation of music deemed to bring in negative influences from foreign cultures or that could incite the public to acts of violence or to break the law, the Jakarta Post newspaper said.

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