Songs by pop megastars including Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Bruno Mars have been banned across the largest region of Indonesia after authorities deemed their content “pornographic” and unsuitable for public consumption.
Television and radio stations in West Java, Indonesia’s most populous province, are prohibited from playing around 35 songs between 3am and 10pm because of their “adult” and “negative” content.
“Broadcast programmes are prohibited from containing songs and/or video clips that display or contain obscenities, sex, and drugs,” explained. Neneng Athiatul Faiziyah, a member of the country’s broadcast commission.
Some of the tracks include Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” Bruno Mars’ “That’s What I Like,” and Ariana Grande’s “Love Me Harder,” and other Indonesian songs deemed inappropriate.
“In this case, what is banned is not the songs, but the lyrics of the songs that contain pornography, pornographic association, and obscenity,” Rahmat Arifin, deputy head of the commission, told Tempo.
“The circular acts as non-binding guidance and poses no administrative sanctions for any broadcasting institutions,” he continued. “However, not heeding to the public call will result in KPID Jabar handing administration sanctions in accordance with the [rules].”
Sheeran has yet to comment on the decision, although he is still scheduled to perform in the capital of Jakarta in May.
Indonesia, which is the world’s largest Islamic country, is known for its strict censorship and anti-pornography laws, which are largely based on adherence to religious law. Earlier this month, local artists rallied against a draft law aiming to ban “blasphemous” and “pornographic” music. If approved, the law could see musicians found guilty with fines or even jail time.