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Indonesian Publishers of 'Playboy' Magazine Deciding Whether to Continue Publication


The Indonesian publishers of Playboy Magazine are deciding whether they should continue to publish after violent protests by a small group of hard-line Muslims forced them to suspend operations.

Playboy, the racy American men's magazine, made its Indonesian debut on April 7, creating a flurry of controversy in this country with the world's largest Muslim population.

The reality of the magazine fell far short of public expectations - there is no nudity in the Indonesian version. Still, eager fans snatched up copies as soon as it went on sale. But a demonstration last week by a small but very vocal group of Islamic militants at the building housing Playboy's office turned violent, with protesters hurling rocks and breaking windows.

They are demanding the closure of Playboy, saying the magazine goes against the values of Islam.

The protests have temporarily halted Playboy's operations and publishers say they are now deciding whether to continue to print in Indonesia.

Police say are investigating whether the magazine violated any pornography or indecency laws.

Jakarta police spokesman Ketut Yoga Ana says neither the police nor the government can prohibit freedom of the press, but they can halt publication if their investigation finds the publishers broke any laws. He says the police have asked the management of Playboy to halt publication for now to stop the demonstrations.

Police have arrested two men for their involvement in the protests.

Despite the uproar, the first edition was tame, even by Indonesian standards. Many Indonesian magazines show far more flesh did Playboy.

Pornographic magazines and films are abundant in Indonesia and sold in city markets, but analysts say Playboy has the taint of what many Indonesians consider Westerners' relaxed attitude toward sex.

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