Child protection commission looking to criminalize social media celebs Awkarin and Anya Geraldine for “vulgar” content

Being a social media celebrity like Awkarin and Anya Geraldine obviously entails having at least as many haters as fans, but one particular group of haters can probably force the ostentatious duo to tone down their social media personas, if not get them in trouble with the law.

Awkarin, whose real name is Karin Novilda, is an 18-year-old girl who shot to prominence thanks to her Instagram photos that many Indonesians deem inappropriate and not in line with conservative traditional values. She has also become a victim of slut-shaming on many occasions, with netizens deriding her wardrobe choices and her general I-don’t-give-a-fuck bad girl persona.

Awkarin has recently made the jump to the music scene and recorded a song with rapper Young Lex called ‘BAD’, in which she responds to her critics by implying she doesn’t need anyone’s approval to be a “bad girl”.

Anya Geraldine is a 20-year-old model who recently caused a huge controversy after she posted photos and videos of a recent trip to Bali with her boyfriend. Judgemental netizens pounced on Anya as she and her boyfriend’s romantic poses were deemed by them to only be appropriate for couples on their honeymoon. Even media outlets criticized her, which led to headlines like this one from IDNTimes: “Anya Geraldine’s relationship style will make you sad, what is wrong with the young generation of today?”

Yesterday, the Indonesian Children Protection Commission (KPAI) reported Awkarin and Anya Geraldine, as well as other social media accounts, to the IT Ministry for their supposed vulgarity. KPAI said they have received complaints from parents that these social media celebrities are bad influences on their children, particularly their teenagers.

It’s not clear what KPAI wants the ministry to do to curb the the likes of Awkarin and Anya Geraldine, but they hinted that they’re going to argue that what these young women post on social media constitutes a violation of the law.

“If there are criminal elements, they will be processed. So far in meetings we have found suspicions of criminal elements,” said KPAI head Asrorum Niam, as quoted by Detik yesterday.

The IT Ministry said that whatever steps they take against Awkarin and Anya Geraldine will depend on a thorough investigation of the pair and of the general phenomenon of social media celebrities supposedly being bad influences on the nation’s children. That said, they conceded that it would be difficult to monitor every single individual activity on social media in Indonesia.

However, when asked about Anya Geraldine’s case, IT Minister Rudiantara said he personally doesn’t agree with the videos she posted online.

“Personally, and I’m not speaking on behalf of the ministry, [Anya’s videos] aren’t in line with Indonesian values. Is it true that she’s not married?” he said, as quoted by Detik.

Sociology expert Professor Heru Nugroho of Universitas Gajah Mada chimed in to urge parents to pay more attention to their own children, rather than complain about what some people post on social media.

“What’s happening is hypocrisy, these calls for censorship. The fact is global lifestyles are so difficult to avoid [influencing the Indonesian youth]. It’s up to the families to figure out how to avoid it,” he said in an interview with Detik.

“Rebuild communication within families. Parents shouldn’t be too busy by themselves. In family gatherings, don’t be distracted by gadgets. Parents also shouldn’t leave their children to the education system – there needs to be communication [between parents and children].”

It’s also worth noting that social media platforms have their own terms of use. For example, Instagram ruled that, “You may not post violent, nude, partially nude, discriminatory, unlawful, infringing, hateful, pornographic or sexually suggestive photos or other content via the Service.” Any reasonable person would say that Awkarin and Anya Geraldine’s Instagram content do not violate any of those terms.

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