From the corruption saga implicating Democratic Party politicos to the plan to cut fuel subsidies, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is facing a public relations crisis. To form a porn-hunting unit right now, can only add salt to his wounds.
This is not about taking a stance on pornography.
Some believe that the enjoyment from watching sexual acts should be a matter within private sphere, and thus the Leviathan known as the government should have no say in the permissibility of such activity. Others believe that pornography corrupts the mind and the soul, and thus the activity should be banished.
Both views are fine. It really depends on where one stands on this. It just so happens that official Indonesia â€” which boasts a lot about its role as Asiaâ€™s bastion of democracy â€” has decided that it has zero tolerance for porn.
The problem this week is really about the creation of a task force dedicated to eradicating porn, and how it affects public perceptions of the SBY-led government.
First, the timing of the task force launch could not be worse. Pornography is an issue that mostly involves something of a personal nature. It is a matter of individual choice, an activity that usually takes place in oneâ€™s bedroom.
And while there are surely many Indonesians who love to watch X-rated films, there cannot be very many people actually producing porn here.
And this task force comes along at a time when the government is facing plenty of larger issues.
For one, the nation is witnessing SBYâ€™s cadres as they become ensnared in one of Indonesiaâ€™s biggest corruption sagas. If anything, he should probably create a task force to probe Democratic Party politicians and their illicit activities. How about starting with his partyâ€™s chairman, Anas Urbaningrum?
Moreover, the country is also on the brink of a possible wave of serious unrest over the governmentâ€™s plan to cut fuel subsidies. Just watch the news on TV. Every day there are more stories about tire-burning students involved in physical altercations with the authorities.
Dangerous drugs, an issue that actually kills people, is another problem hurting the nation. And to make matters worse, there are the recent cases of police officials caught consuming illegal substances.
The list goes on but the main point is this: There are many actually important things that the government should look after; instead, they chose to pinpoint pornography.
One possible explanation is that the government simply has no idea how to set priorities. Another possible explanation is that this task force was created as a diversion from all the troubles faced by the government.
And the task force does nothing but leave the additional impression that the government is scared of dealing with real issues and so opts to hide away and pick another fight.
Also, the idea of a task force like this is a wasteful trend. The nation already has lawmakers to create laws on pornography, the police to legally enforce any violations they might spot and information technology minister Tifatul Sembiring to try and sweep porn from the Internet and Blackberrys.
The people are already paying these officials to take care of the issue, so why on earth should the government create an additional unit? It sounds like a ineffective waste of money.
Remember how the government created a tax mafia eradication task force awhile back to deal with Gayus Tambunan? Not long after the case was done, Indonesia witnessed the second chapter of Gayus with Dhana Widyatmika. So whatâ€™s the point?
Porn should not be that big of a deal. Having a government that is addicted to creating unnecessary task forces, now thatâ€™s a big deal.The people are already paying these officials to take care of the issue