The Indonesia Broadcasting Commission (KPI) sent a warning letter to a television station after airing The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie, citing its violence and sexual content. Yes, really.
GTV received the letter on September 5, which outlined the board’s grievances with their showing of the film on August 6, on GTV’s ‘Big Movie Family’ programme.
KPI’s guidelines say ‘broadcasters must pay attention to the interests of children in every aspect of broadcast production’ – and allegedly, showing Bikini Bottom’s cinematic outing breaches that promise.
In a letter on KPI’s website, the board elaborates on their decision to issue a ‘Written Strike’ to GTV over SpongeBob’s appearance on the small-screen.
The letter from KPI takes issue with:
The ‘Rabbids Invasion’ segment where there is a scene of a rabbit committing acts of violence against other rabbits namely, hitting the face with a board, dropping a bowling ball from above so that it hits the head, hammering a hammer into the face, and hitting a cactus pot using a racket toward the face’.
KPI also refers to ‘scenes of throwing cake tarts to the face and beating using wood’ which do not comply ‘with the provisions of the classification of broadcast programs based on age and maturity level of the audience at each event’.
Glad the other countries has stood up to open their mouth. Bizarre enough that The Spongebob Squarepants Movie on that Indonesia's private channel isn't a movie, but an original show. That's a s**ty take. Worsened with ridiculously excessive amount of censors since long ago. https://t.co/RQvdPc5hkn
— ReappearMint (@Re_Reapermint) September 18, 2019
According to the letter, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie falls into a category of programming ‘that encourages young people to learn about inappropriate behavior and/or justify such inappropriate behavior as normal in everyday life’.
Commenting on the letter – one of 14 sent to several broadcasters concerning a number of different programmes – Deputy Chairperson of the Central KPI, Mulyo Hadi Purnomo, said the violations related to content inspired by ‘the paranormal’, violence and sexual content.
In a press release issued by KPI, Mulyo said:
We don’t want that content to encourage them to believe in the power of paranormal, occult, and supernatural practices. Protection of the interests of psychological growth and development of adolescent children must be maintained.
Broadcasting institutions must pay attention to the provisions concerning the prohibition and restrictions on sexually charged broadcast programs. Broadcasts are prohibited from displaying content that encourages teens to learn about inappropriate behavior or justify inappropriate behavior as normal.
— Bazyli Joflaz (@BJoflaz) September 15, 2019
Naturally, the response from the public has been near-universally in support of SpongeBob SquarePants, with some users commenting that it displays a ‘ridiculously excessive amount’ of censorship.
— Alika Nugraha (@Al_nugraha) September 16, 2019
Since the letter emerged, Twitter user had popularised the #SaveSpongeBob hashtag – taking the time to write why they believe the decision is daft (which it is), as well as sharing their love for the classic kids show.
— Erwin Kurniawan (@ErwinKrniwan) September 15, 2019
To paraphrase Patrick, the inner machinations of KPI’s thought-process are an enigma. Leedle, leedle, leedle, lee!
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He’s now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.