Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Informatics today announced that the government is set to block access to 477 sites, including popular microblogging platform Tumblr. The Ministry cited availability of pornographic content as the reason behind the blocking.
“After an elaborate discussion with the Panel for Pornography yesterday, the Ministry had decided to block Tumblr for abundance of pornographic videos and images,” said Azhar Hasyim, Director of e-Business at Directorate General of Informatic Applications, Ministry of Communications and Informatics, as quoted by Detik.
He also stated that the Ministry had sent official letters to various Internet service providers (ISP) to instruct the blocking, which will be effective in “the next few days depending on each company’s process.”
Based on e27‘s observation, Tumblr’s desktop and mobile site remains accessible by the time this article is being written.
The news about the blocking was greeted with anger and disappointment by Indonesian netizens.
Some expressed their emotions in humourous ways, such as Twitter user @maulinadya who wrote “Damn sir now where can us girls find all those cutesy quotes!?” while user @resna commented that Tumblr “is a platform where I express my feelings as a form of therapy, but now it is blocked by the government.”
Then, there were users such as @mastongki who saw the incident as a conspiracy and said “Perhaps MNC Group or Telkom is going to launch a microblogging platform soon.”
Inside Tumblr itself, Indonesia-based users are spreading word about the blocking. Tumblr user @sk1ddie expressed concerns and wrote “Well, sir, actually here is where I found many valuable writings …”
Despite claims of being one of the largest democracy in the world, Indonesian government had been blocking access to several sites mostly due to pornographic and violent content. Recently, the country’s state-owned telco operator Telkom came under fire for blocking access to streaming service Netflix due to similar reason.
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Following protests from Netizens, including a Change.org petition that has been signed by at least 12,000 petitioners, Ministry of Communications and Informatics announced on Thursday, February 18, that the ban has been cancelled.
Through a statement, the Ministry called for Tumblr to ‘adjust their content to existing social norms and culture’ as ISPs are unable to ‘block access to each user account’. It also stated that the Ministry has written a letter calling for Tumblr to do self-censorship, and will conduct another meeting on the matter.