Netflix not slapped with 'fatwa' ruling in Indonesia despite ongoing ban

Indonesia's Muslim clerical body, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI), has revealed that it will not be issuing a fatwa (Islamic ruling) against Netflix or content streaming platforms in Indonesia. The fatwa is a nonbinding legal ruling based on the fundamentals of Islamic law.

According to The Jakarta Post, this comes shortly after the council said it was mulling issuing a fatwa against Netflix if it was found to host negative content. However, MUI fatwa commission head Hasanuddin said in the article that the council neither "deliberated" nor "decided" on issuing a fatwa. The statement by MUI further explained that a fatwa is not only issued on worship, and has previously been passed for community matters and the development of information and communication technology. The Jakarta Post article added that the MUI has also issued fatwas on social media interactions.

In the midst of the discussions around banning Netflix in Indonesia, local netizens recently showed support to the streaming platform through the hashtag #NetflixTidakAman (Netflix is not safe). The hashtag made rounds on Twitterverse since mid January, and first emerged after customers of Indonesia’s state-owned Telkom Indonesia were blocked from logging on to the streaming platform.

According to The Jakarta Post, Netflix has been blocked by service providers Telkomsel, IndiHome and since 2016. Telkom Indonesia, parent company of these brands, said that the streaming platform has “yet to fully comply” with the media content regulations in Indonesia. However, several netizens posted screenshots of the Netflix homepage, revealing that those with private internet or cellular service providers were able to access the streaming platform.

Several netizens took to Twitter to voice their displeasure about the move, with some pointing out that the issue does not lie with Netflix but rather the lack of parental guidance. Some were also sarcastic in their statements, calling for those who opposed Netflix to admit that they are unable to afford the streaming service. Netflix however, has not responded to Marketing Interactive's queries.

Separately, Netflix also doubled down on its efforts in the country by creating a fully localised Bahasa Indonesia user interface for Indonesian users, complete with Bahasa Indonesia subtitles. In addition, the streaming platform partnered with local operators including XL Axiata, Bolt, Hutchison 3 Indonesia and Smartfren for video data plan packages.

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