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Indonesia censors video site Vimeo over 'porn'

JAKARTA--Indonesia has ordered a ban on popular video-sharing website Vimeo after accusing it of hosting pornographic content, sparking social media fury on Tuesday.

The communications ministry announced that the U.S.-based site would be blocked following the discovery of Vimeo pages with names such as “Art of Nakedness” and “Nudie Cutie,” featuring naked and scantily clad women.

“We have recently received reports from the public about websites carrying negative and pornographic content ... One of them is the site Vimeo.com,” said the ministry in a statement published late Monday.

The ministry, headed by Communications Minister Tifatul Sembiring who has waged a campaign against illicit material on the Internet, said that Vimeo had been added to a list of 119 other sites banned over content deemed pornographic.

Vimeo said on its Twitter account that the site was “blocked for some Indonesian users, but it's on the Indonesian side and we can't unblock it.”

Other web users still appeared to have access on Tuesday morning but a ministry spokesman said all Internet service providers would have to fall into line with the government order.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim-majority country, introduced a tough anti-pornography law in 2008 that criminalizes any work that could be deemed obscene.

Indonesian social media users reacted furiously to the news that the site, which hosts a huge variety of videos uploaded by its members, was being blocked.

“It's insane ... The world will laugh at Indonesia for considering Vimeo a pornographic site,” said a post on Twitter from Savic Ali.

Another Twitter user, Adi Dzikrullah Bahri, said: “It's a pity ... Many people uploaded educational and creative videos on Vimeo.”

Guidelines on the Vimeo site say that it “does not allow videos that contain explicit depictions of nudity or sexual acts (in most cases).”

However the website added that it does allow “depictions of nudity and sexuality that serve a clear creative, artistic, aesthetic, or narrative purpose.”

In 2011 the maker of BlackBerry smartphones blocked access to pornographic websites in Indonesia after the government threatened to withdraw its operating permit. The ban remains in place.

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