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Indonesian Cardinal warns against unethical commercialization of Communication Technology

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo receives a book from the Chairman of the Indonesian Film Censorship Institute, Rommy Fibri Hardiyanto.

Cardinal Ignatius Suharyo Hardjoatmodjo talked about how the advancements in information and communication technologies (ICT) are commercialized even disregarding ethical considerations.

The cardinal conveyed the message when meeting with the Film Censorship Institute (LSF) officials on June 28 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"The Catholic Church sees the advancement of information technology as a miracle of the times. The goal is for the common good," he said.

However, the Cardinal, the President of the Indonesian Bishops' Conference (KWI), says that ICT advances unethical attempts to make money.

He underlined that independent efforts must be made to overcome the problem of commercialization without ethics. Therefore, he encourages the church to collaborate with the government to help people learn about technology and communication.

"Dioceses throughout Indonesia also have social communication commissions. Many lay people are called to join the Diocesan Commission for Social Communication. They are actively involved with the government in technology and communication literacy activities," said the cardinal.

"It is not a large literacy initiative by the church, but the modest ones can at least serve as a call for more extensive work," he said.

Responding to Cardinal Suharyo, the head of the Indonesian Film Censorship Institute (LSF), Rommy Fibri Hardiyanto said that his organization is open to working with other organizations and social institutions. 

Hardiyanto noted that collaboration is crucial because the way things run today is drastically different from how they operated in the past.

"Nowadays, there is a democratic atmosphere, but not like it used to be. Historically, LSF censored films by cutting them. Censorship is performed digitally by delivering notes instead of physically cutting them out as in the past.” Hardiyanto said, "LSF self-censors by sorting and viewing content based on age requirements."

Furthermore, Hardiyanto expressed his concern that not all parties participate in the current literacy efforts.

"In cinemas, for example, adult films are being screened. Parents who come to watch them should not take their children with them. "We are concerned,” he added.

Hardiyanto said LSF was determined to keep working on literacy by inviting different parts of society to participate. He concluded by saying that "LSF is knocking on KWI's door to collaborate in the future."  

In Indonesia, the LSF assesses the distribution status of cinema films, soap operas, television programs, and ads. A film or television program can only be distributed if the LSF declares it has "passed censorship."


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