Indonesian lawmaker resigns after porn scandal

Arifinto was filmed watching pornography during the parliamentary session.

Jakarta(Indonesia): A conservative
Indonesian lawmaker who helped pass a controversial
anti-pornography law resigned on Monday after he was caught
watching explicit videos on his computer during a
parliamentary session.

The scandal broke Friday after a local photojournalist
filmed Arifinto, a member of the Prosperous Justice Party,
watching pornography for several minutes as fellow lawmakers
debated plans to build a new Parliament building.
The blurred out images have been published online and
on the front pages of newspapers almost every day since.

The case has transfixed this predominantly Muslim
nation, dominating headlines and discussions on Facebook and Twitter.

Critics on the social networking sites have blasted
the lawmaker, with some calling him a hypocrite and others
saying he should be prosecuted under the pornography law he
helped pass.
Fifty-year-old Arifinto, who like many Indonesians
goes by only one name, apologized to his constituents today
and told reporters during a hastily arranged news conference
he was stepping down from Parliament immediately.

"It`s my decision," said the father of five, insisting
he had received no pressure from his staunchly Islamic party.
"Nobody tried to coerce me."

Indonesia, a secular country of 237 million people,
has more Muslims than any other country in the world.

Though most are moderate, a small extremist fringe has
become more vocal in recent years.

They have pushed through controversial laws including
the tough anti-porn bill that went into effect in 2008 despite
strong opposition from the public and some members of
government.

The law was used in January to sentence Nazril "Ariel"
Irham, lead singer of the country`s most popular band
Peterpan, to 3 1/2 years in jail after two homemade sex tapes
found their way to the Internet.

Last year the editor in chief of Playboy Indonesia was
also given two years behind bars.

Many argue that the law is vaguely worded and carries
overly harsh penalties.

Bureau Report

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