The Indonesian film industry is protesting against a film bill, passed into law on Tuesday, that increases censorship of local production and limits the distribution of foreign films.
The controversial bill requires that 60% of screen time should be reserved for local productions regardless of quality.
It also requires local filmmakers to submit an outline of their projects – including the title, story and production plan – to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism three months before production begins. Unspecified limits will be placed on the depiction of drug use, sexual content and other controversial topics.
Local filmmakers say the new law places restrictions on creativity and that the 60% quota, designed to protect the local film industry, could actually harm it.
“That stipulation will only encourage the production of low-quality movies to fulfill the 60% quota,” said Indonesian director Riri Riza.
Director Deddy Mizwa said the law had “all the trademarks of authoritarianism”. He added: “There is no spirit of reform because it goes against the freedom of expression.”
Indonesia’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik staunchly defended the bill, but resigned a few hours after its passage. It is the second law under president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to provoke opposition from the cultural industries following an anti-pornography bill last year.
Indonesia, which is the fourth most populous country in the world and the largest Muslim nation, has recently been experiencing box office growth due to roll-out of new cinemas. The country’s pay-TV industry is also booming.