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HONG KONG — Indonesia voted a controversial anti-pornography bill into law on Thursday.

The law has been opposed by many in the biz as restricting creative freedom and has been challenged by others who see it as intolerant of religions other than Islam.

Balkan Kaplale, head of the parliamentary committee that drafted the bill, said legislation was necessary to combat growing immorality in Indonesian society, as demonstrated by the rise of adultery and use of obscene language.

The bill defines pornography as “pictures, sketches, photos, writing, voice, sound, moving picture, animation, cartoons, conversation, gestures, or other communications shown in public with salacious content or sexual exploitation that violate the moral values of society.”

There are exceptions for sexually explicit cultural and artistic material, but they are sketchily defined.

Punishment varies with offenders facing up to 15 years in jail. Maximum penalty for lending or downloading porn is four years in prison or a $190,000 fine.

Although officially secular, Indonesia has a large Muslim population and the bill was promoted by a group of Islamist parties.

Protests against the bill were particularly vehement in predominantly-Hindu Bali, which is one of the country’s top tourist destinations.

In April last year a court threw out an indecency case brought against Erwin Arnada, film producer and publisher of the Indonesian edition of Playboy magazine, which does not show nudes.

Arnada’s offices were attacked when he started publishing in April 2006.