Youtube has geo-blocked three videos from Indonesia belonging to Indonesian gaming Youtuber Kimi Hime for supposedly depicting vulgar content, with the 29-year-old vlogger becoming the focus of a new government-led push towards censorship of not just pornographic but also risqué content.
Earlier this week, under the instructions of the House of Parliament (DPR), Indonesia’s IT Ministry (Kominfo) said they would review Kimi’s Youtube videos following complaints that many of them were vulgar and inappropriate for children. Kimi, a “Gaming and Tech Influencer” who has 2.2 million subscribers on Youtube, is well known for showing off her curves in her videos, which often have misleading titles filled with sexual innuendo.
Yesterday, Kominfo announced that they specifically made a request to Youtube to suspend three of Kimi’s videos, which they deemed to be “immoral” and therefore in violation of an article in the Information and Electronic Transactions Act (UU ITE), a law that has long been criticized as a tool of oppression against freedom of expression.
The three videos contained the titles, “Strip Challenge – Mati Satu Kali = Buka Baju” (Strip Challenge – Clothing removed every time I die [in the game]), “Lagi Tegang, Eh Keluar Putih Putih!?” (While stiff, the white stuff comes out), and “Keasyikan Bermain, Gadis Ini Mengeluarkan Cairan Lengket” (Having too much fun playing, this girl secretes sticky liquid). Just to be clear, those titles are very misleading and none of the videos contained nudity or pornographic content.
As of today, those videos are inaccessible in Indonesia. As the above photo shows, Youtube took down the videos and put the message, “This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government” in their place.
As soon as the videos were taken down, Kimi Hime posted a video, addressed to President Joko Widodo, appealing for help fighting the attempt to censor her content.
In the video, Kimi confirmed that she was emailed by Youtube to notify her about the government’s complaint about her videos and that they would be taken down as a result. She then admitted that she deliberately made misleading titles for her videos as a form of clickbait, but she never violated any laws on pornography or indecency.
“If I have to face the law, then please explain to me what I did wrong. But if the government was able to erase my content without any real regulations — just based on their assumptions and opinions — I feel like that’s an injustice,” Kimi said tearily in the video.
Youtube said that it takes local laws into consideration when suspending videos.
“We respond to legal requests to remove content that breaks local laws. In all cases, we restrict access to a video only after a thorough review to determine if the request meets both the letter and spirit of the law,” Youtube Asia-Pacific Communications Manager Tu Nguyen told Coconuts via email.
As to whether Youtube shares the same interpretation for “vulgarity” as the Indonesian government, Nguyen declined to comment, referring us to her previous answer.
Kimi isn’t the first Indonesian influencer to run afoul of the authorities over accusations of vulgarity. In 2016, the Child Protection Commission (KPAI) reported social media stars Karin Novilda AKA Awkarin and Anya Geraldine for their supposed “vulgar content”, such as wearing revealing clothes in their Instagram posts, to Kominfo. Karin ended up meeting with the members of KPAI and Kominfo, after which they came to an agreement that her posts would include more “positive elements” in the future (which didn’t last long).